MACON, Ga. — A Houston County deputy has filed a federal lawsuit arguing that the county is discriminating against her by refusing to pay for her gender-transition treatment.
Anna Lange filed her lawsuit Wednesday at the U.S. District Court in Macon.
She's suing Houston County, county commissioners, and the county's personnel director, Kenneth Carter.
Her lawsuit claims that the county refused to pay for her medical treatment even though their insurance company, Anthem, warned them that was illegal.
In February, Lange talked to 13WMAZ about her 13 years with the sheriff's office and how she began her gender transition to living as a woman in 2017.
She also talked about her struggles in getting the county for pay for the medical treatment prescribed by her doctors connected to her transition.
Lange, a sergeant and investigator, told 13WMAZ, "I'm just looking for fair and equal treatment."
Also in February, she spoke to Houston County Commissioners and asked them to change their policy against paying for her transgender treatment.
Commissioners said they wouldn't change that policy.
Lange's lawsuit says she suffers from gender dysphoria -- in which a person's "innate internal sense of being male, female or some other category" does not match their physical characteristics from birth.
The lawsuit says she's identified as a woman since childhood and has been considering "coming out as a woman" for years.
She told Sheriff Cullen Talton and Carter about her transition plans in 2017, the lawsuit says, and with Talton's "unspoken support," told other work colleagues the next day.
"She has found being able to live and work as a female -- openly and with the acceptance of her colleagues -- to be a blessing and she has continued to perform her work successfully," the suit says.
The lawsuit also claims that county attorney Tom Hall has declined to explain why the county won't let their insurance company pay for her treatment and has instructed other county employees not to talk about it.
Her lawyers argue that the county is discriminating against Hall on the basis of sex and disability. They're asking the county to pay her medical costs and damages.
They also said their research shows that insurance premiums for county workers would not increase if Houston paid for Lange's coverage.
WHAT OTHER PEOPLE ARE READING
STAY UPDATED | Click here to subscribe to our Midday Minute newsletter and receive the latest headlines and information in your inbox every day.
Have a news tip? Email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit our Facebook page.