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Transgender woman sues after denied free mammogram

Oct. 15, 2013 at 3:46 PM   |   Comments

DENVER, Oct. 15 (UPI) -- A transgender woman who was denied a free mammogram paid for by the U.S. government because she was born a man has filed suit, her lawyer said.

Jennifer Blair, 62, said she went to a Planned Parenthood clinic in Denver after noticing a strange growth on her breast. Though her income meets the standard for a free mammogram and she doesn't have health insurance to pay for it, the Women's Wellness Connection, which conducts the procedures and pays for them under a grant from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, turned her away.

KUSA-TV, Denver, said Monday the reason was because CDC guidelines do not recognize patients who undergo gender reassignment surgery as having changed sexes.

Blair, who had the surgery to become a woman more than a decade ago, said the synthetic estrogen medication she takes daily puts her at an elevated risk for certain types of cancer. Being told she doesn't qualify for the screening was painful, she said.

"I was shocked. I was hurt," Blair said.

"It's discrimination based on her transgender status. I think that's pretty black and white," said Blair's attorney, Sarah Parady.

Blair said she's suing so other transgender females won't have to endure the same discrimination she felt. The specific terms of her lawsuit were not reported. KUSA said a representative from the CDC press office couldn't be reached due to the government shutdown.

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