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, Illinois.

In 2020, while working at a 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 explicitly excluded 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. When she told the City that its health-insurance plan violated the Illinois Human Rights Act, she was told that the plan would not be amended. 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 targets employees like Ms. Holt who are transgender 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 can violate Illinois’ civil rights law, including protections for sex and gender identity.

Following the decision by the Commission, the City of Springfield amended its plan to cover gender-affirming care and we litigated Ms. Holt’s case before the Commission. In March of 2024, the Springfield City Council approved a $95,000 settlement to compensate Ms. Holt for the harm done to her by the denial of care as well as legal fees. 


Michelle García