- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Transgender people won two major victories in federal court cases this week over health care access and the ability to play in women’s sports.

A federal court in New York halted the Trump administration’s move to roll back health care protections under the Affordable Care Act for transgender people, while another federal court in Idaho issued an injunction against a state law banning transgender women from women’s sports.

The health care-related injunction issued by Judge Frederic Block of the Eastern District of New York, a Clinton appointee, reasoned that President Trump’s administration couldn’t change part of the Affordable Care Act that prohibited discrimination on the basis of sex for health care access and coverage.

The judge said the Supreme Court’s ruling in June in Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia, which said discrimination against LGBTQ employees was a form of prohibited sex discrimination, also applied to the rule issued by the Department of Health and Human Services.

“Had the agency correctly predicted the outcome in Bostock, it may well have taken a different path. Instead, it continued on the same path even after Bostock was decided,” wrote Judge Block.

Tanya Asapansa-Johnson Walker and Cecilia Gentili, two transgender women, filed a lawsuit challenging the HHS rule.

Both require long-term medical care and have experienced discrimination, according to the court’s order, which says they had to answer invasive questions about their gender and have been denied assistance with transitioning care.

The court relied on the 6-3 ruling in Bostock, where the high court ruled in favor of LGBTQ employees who said they were fired from their jobs on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity.

Justice Neil M. Gorsuch, a Trump-appointee, authored the ruling, reasoning the employees had been discriminated against on the basis of sex, saying that was banned under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

In the Idaho case, Judge David Nye of the District of Idaho, a Trump appointee, also cited Bostock in ruling that Idaho could not require sports to be segregated on the basis of biological sex.

He dismissed Idaho’s claim that transgender women have an unfair advantage.

“These transgender girls never experience the high levels of testosterone and accompanying physical changes associated with male puberty, and instead go through puberty with the same levels of hormones as other girls,” the judge wrote.

Both injunctions halt the HHS rule and Idaho’s law from taking effect while the cases are pending.

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