CTA Decides Insurance Will Cover Bus Driver's Gender Reassignment Surgery - NBC Chicago

CTA Decides Insurance Will Cover Bus Driver's Gender Reassignment Surgery

The bus driver said the CTA's decision is a sign of progress "that everyone doesn't hate us."

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    NEWSLETTERS

    CTA Worker Expands Insurance Coverage to Transgender Community

    A breakthrough for the rights of transgender individuals happened Wednesday as Chicago's Transit Authority has granted insurance coverage for a transgender surgery. NBC 5's Charlie Wojciechowski reports,

    (Published Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018)

    Behind the wheel of a Chicago Transit Authority bus, it's Russia Brown’s job to make sure passengers are safe and comfortable.

    But he says he didn’t feel comfortable in his own skin.

    "I am passing pretty well on the bus now," he said. "But it will make me feel overall more comfortable."

    Brown is transgender and hopes to complete his gender re-assignment surgery.

    "I wanted to have top surgery," Brown said. "Which is a bi-lateral mastectomy."

    At first, the insurance company denied Brown's application. That’s when he turned to the American Civil Liberties Union.

    "A lot of other trans people that i spoke with, they were just like, 'it's not worth fighting with them, just get some outside insurance,'" Brown said. "They were just kinda ready to roll over and I was like, 'no.' I didn’t think that I should have to go in a full circle. I work for a huge company here, there is no reason why they shouldn’t cover this.

    the ACLU argued that there was a gap in Brown's coverage and the CTA agreed.

    “CTA reviewed its existing guidelines related to health care coverage for gender reassignment surgery, and determined such coverage should be extended in cases that are supported by proper medical documentation,” the transit authority said in a statement Wednesday. "That decision was made in keeping with our broader efforts toward inclusion and diversity."

    Chanel Pulliam is a friend of Brown's.

    "I think this is a really big deal for trans people all over the world," Pulliam said. "You never know what could happen. Don’t give up."

    Brown said the CTA's decision is a sign of progress "that everyone doesn't hate us."

    "And especially with the recent comments from the people in Washington, we aren’t invisible, the whole movement--we wont be erased," Brown said.

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