A transgender teen has become the first transgender child to qualify for a state health care program, which allows transgender patients access to a variety of medical services and has sparked debate over the future of the federal health care law.
Sophia G. Johnson, 16, became the first person in the United States to qualify under the Affordable Care Act’s “transgender-inclusive” eligibility standards.
The 16-year-old’s family, who are from Georgia, were in a legal battle with the Georgia Department of Health over her gender identity.
The family sued the department last year over her medical treatment, arguing it violated her constitutional rights to privacy and free speech.
The Department of State said it could not comment because of HIPAA rules.
Johnson is a transgender boy and a former student at DeKalb High School.
She said her mother was supportive and even helped her transition.
She also has a father who identifies as a woman, but Johnson said she felt she needed the care because she was growing up as a girl and her father was transgender.
In July, the Georgia Health Department approved a $1,000 scholarship for a transgender student who identifies and transitions to female.
The scholarship, which is based on gender dysphoria, allows a transgender person to apply for financial aid and tuition assistance to attend college.
It’s the first time in the U.S. that a transgender scholarship has been approved by the state’s Department of Education.
Georgia’s Department says it has received $1.2 million in state funding to support the transgender community.