Resident challenges Warren County’s sex-change surgery policy

A transgender resident appealed Tuesday to the Warren County commissioners to permit payment of sex change surgeries for employees

“You don’t understand what you are doing to people by denying them care,” Jaiowyn Robinson said during a presentation during the weekly board of commissioners meeting.

In October, the board decided to challenge provisions of the Affordable Care Act encouraging health insurance providers to cover gender reassignment surgery sought by transgender people.

The county is already in federal court challenging charges to the county’s self-funded health plan under the law, known as Obamacare, to fund a transitional reinsurance program.

Led by Commissioner Dave Young, the board agreed to retain its own lawyer in a lawsuit later joined by the Ohio Attorney General's Office on behalf of a handful of state universities.

“This is just another example of them dictating what we have to spend money on,” Young said during comments by the commissioners explaining their position on paying for the surgeries.

Robinson distributed copies of papers advocating for non-discrimination policies including sexual orientation, gender identity and expression. She referred to the case of Leelah Alcorn, a transgender Warren County youth whose case prompted a worldwide reaction.

Alcorn died on Dec. 28 while crossing Interstate 71 on foot while struggling with her gender identity.

“Has anyone considered the county workers’ children?” Robinson asked.

The commissioners thanked Robinson for speaking at the meeting. They said they would take the issue under advisement.

About the Author