AP NEWS

Transgender former state worker settles lawsuit for $27,000

May 8, 2019

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A former Iowa State University employee will get a settlement of more than $27,000 from the state after claiming discrimination in the way the university managed its health insurance for transgender employees.

Elyn Fritz-Waters sued the state in January when her employee health insurance denied care for gender dysphoria, which included her request for hormone therapy and a sex reassignment surgery.

Fritz-Waters was born male but says she has felt most of her life that she is female.

She claimed discrimination and violations of the Iowa Civil Rights Act. Before the lawsuit could go to trial the state offered to settle.

The State Appeal Board approved the settlement Wednesday.

Fritz-Waters will get about $18,000 and her attorney receives around $9,000.

In June 2018, a state judge ruled the Iowa Department of Human Services violated the state constitution and civil rights laws by denying two transgender women Medicaid coverage for sex reassignment surgery.

The Legislature responded by approving a bill that prohibits Medicaid money for sex reassignment surgery. Gov. Kim Reynolds signed the bill into law, though it’s likely to be challenged in court.