In recent years, the rights of transgender people across the country have routinely come under threat. In Iowa, a state agency banned Medicaid coverage for gender-affirming surgery—a medically necessary procedure to treat gender dysphoria. In Montana, the state legislature passed a law that restricted transgender people’s ability to change the name on their birth certificates to align with their gender identity. These developments are part of a troubling nationwide trend of animosity toward LGBTQIA+ people.
Nixon Peabody’s Pro Bono Team is determined to meet these challenges and continue advocating for a more just, free, and equitable society. Over the past year, we’ve achieved several key milestones.
In both Montana and Iowa, we were proud to team up with the ACLU to oppose the states’ discriminatory laws. During our six-year litigation effort in Iowa, we secured coverage for our clients’ gender-affirming surgeries and obtained precedential rulings that will help preserve equal rights for transgender people for years to come.
“I am glad that Iowa Medicaid can no longer enforce the rule that specifically prohibits transgender people from getting certain types of surgery, including surgery they would cover for people who are not transgender,” said transgender Iowan and Nixon Peabody client, Mika Covington. “That’s the way it should be when it comes to medically necessary care—a person needs surgery recommended by their doctor and insurance pays for it.”
In Montana, the court recently ruled in our clients’ favor, blocking the state’s ban on birth-certificate name changes for transgender people.
While we are happy with these outcomes, we know that our efforts are not complete. We are committed to standing up against anti-LGBTQIA+ bigotry nationwide and will continue to fight for equality and fair treatment for marginalized people.