We filed a charge of discrimination with the Illinois Department of Human Rights and the EEOC on behalf of Kate Holt—who was denied insurance coverage for medical care because she is transgender—while a public employee of Springfield, the capital city of Illinois.

In 2020, while she worked in a City of Springfield library, Ms. Holt sought coverage for hormones prescribed by her physician for gender dysphoria. Within a few weeks, she learned that Springfield’s health-insurance plan specifically denied coverage for “sex transformation and hormones related to such treatment.”

Over the course of several months, Ms. Holt repeatedly contacted Springfield employees responsible for management of the health-insurance plan, but her request for coverage was denied each time, and she was told that no change would be made. By the terms of Springfield’s plan, the same hormones would have been covered for cisgender employees taking them for other medical reasons. This exclusion exclusively targets employees like Ms. Holt who are transgender and need treatment for gender dysphoria and violates civil rights protections under the Illinois Human Rights Act.

The charge was filed in November of 2020, and the Department began its investigation in March of 2021.

In February 2022, in a unanimous decision, the Illinois Human Rights Commission recognized that Springfield’s “health plan granted coverage to employees” who were not transgender “for the same hormones that were denied” to Ms. Holt. The decision is believed to be the first to expressly confirm that excluding gender-affirming care from employee insurance plans violates Illinois’ civil rights laws, including protections for gender identity.