National Center for Lesbian Rights

Discrimination > Healthcare

All Cases & Advocacy All Legislation & Policy All Press Releases All Resources & Publications


The number of entries will adjust as search terms and filters are added or removed.

Content Area



Cases & Advocacy

D.H. v. Snyder

D.H. and John Doe are transgender teenagers who require male chest reconstruction surgery to treat their gender dysphoria. Arizona is refusing to cover this medically necessary treatment because of a categorical exclusion on covering surgical treatments for gender dysphoria in the state’s Medicaid regulations.


Cases & Advocacy

Prescott v. Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego

On September 26, 2016, the mother of a transgender teenaged boy who was admitted into Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego (RCHSD) for inpatient care filed a lawsuit against the hospital for discrimination against her son, Kyler. One day into his 72-hour stay, and after several failed attempts by his mother to correct the discrimination by the hospital, the hospital’s psychiatrist determined that despite his serious mental health issues, Kyler should be discharged early. About five weeks later, Kyler died by suicide.


Legislation & Policy

Health Care Rights Law

Section 1557 is the key nondiscrimination provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). It prohibits discrimination in health programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance, health programs and activities administered by the executive branch, as well as entities created under the ACA, including the Marketplaces and health plans sold through the Marketplaces. Section 1557 protects against discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin (including language access), sex, age, and disability, and does so by building on existing civil rights laws. It is the first federal law to ban sex discrimination in health care.

Under the Obama administration, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) underwent an extensive, 6-year process to develop regulations for enforcing Section 1557. The Final Rule that it issued in 2016 provides that discrimination on the basis of sex includes discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, false pregnancy, termination of pregnancy, or recovery therefrom, childbirth or related medical conditions, sex stereotyping and gender identity. This was a major victory for LGBTQ people.

Unfortunately, the Trump administration is trying to roll back this victory by replacing the 2016 rule with a new one that would take away the explicit protections for our community. NCLR submitted comments opposing this harmful policy change.


Legislation & Policy

Denial-of-Care Rule

In January of 2018, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) issued a proposed federal regulation that would allow widespread discrimination in health care delivery in the name of religious liberty. The rule would allow health care providers to refuse to treat someone if their refusal is based on a religious reason. NCLR submitted extensive comments opposing the rule, which was nevertheless issued in final form in May of 2019. A number of organizations and state and local governments sued HHS to prevent the rule from going into effect. NCLR filed amicus briefs in the litigation challenging the rule. The rule was struck down in court. The Trump Administration has appealed the orders vacating the rule.


Legislation & Policy

Equality Act

The Equality Act (H.R. 5) would prohibit discrimination based on an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity in employment, housing, credit, education, public accommodations (things like restaurants, hotels, and theaters), and jury service. It would also prohibit discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity in programs receiving federal funding. The bill was passed by the House of Representatives in the last Congress in May 2019 with a bipartisan vote of 236 to 173 but was blocked from consideration in the Senate by then-Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. The bill was reintroduced by Rep. David Cicilline (RI-1) and Sen. Jeff Merkley (OR) in the 117th Session of the United States Congress on February 18, 2021. A vote is expected in the House shortly, with action following soon after in the Senate.

NCLR has played a leading role in drafting the Equality Act and working for its eventual passage. We have partnered with Black and Pink and others to educate Congress and the public on the Act’s potential to reform the U.S. criminal legal system for LGBTQ people and people of color.

Currently, only 22 states have non-discrimination protections that fully protect LGBTQ individuals. According to the Center for American Progress, more than 1 in 3 LGBTQ Americans have reported facing some form of discrimination within the past year, with the number increasing to 3 in 5 for transgender individuals. This discrimination often causes substantial harm to the psychological and economic wellbeing of the LGBTQ community and creates undue difficulties for many LGBTQ people in accessing medically necessary healthcare – most dramatically for the transgender population and people of color.

The most recent polling from the nonpartisan Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) shows that more than 80 percent of all Americans (including a majority of Democrats, Independents, and Republicans) support comprehensive nondiscrimination protections that include LGBTQ individuals. FiveThirtyEight has also similarly found that President Biden’s executive order mandating that federal agencies implement the Supreme Court’s ruling in Bostock v. Clayton County in nondiscrimination policies was the most popular of his early executive actions, with the support of an overwhelming 83% of Americans.

More than 600 national, state, and local organizations have signed on to urge the swift passage of the Equality Act, in addition to a broad coalition of faith-based groups and 335 major corporations, showing the breadth of support the legislation has maintained since its passage in the House in 2019.


Protecting our Future. Donate Now!