Netflix’s Queer Eye is on everyone’s radar, for its surprisingly touching take on the reality-makeover genre. One of its most tear-inducing episodes – and one where the Fab Five learnt some lessons themselves – featured Skyler Jay, the show’s first transgender subject. Now, Jay is suing his employer over trans-exclusionary health care.
In Jay’s Queer Eye episode, an integral part of season two, he mentioned that he was denied coverage for the procedure, which cost $16,000. He appeared on the show post-operation, and spoke of his journey to an incredibly supportive Fab Five. After his top surgery, Jay suffered from further complications, which he says he could have never predicted. He went into debt following the surgery, and was denied financial coverage under anti-trans insurance loopholes. All of this took “a mental, emotional, physical and financial toll” on him, according to Advocate.
His suit, filed against the University System of Georgia (USG), intends to expand healthcare for trans employees. The USG workplace has a trans-exclusionary policy, which absolves the university of covering these costs. This is specific to USG’s 26 public institutions, which are controlled by the Georgia Board of Regents.
Jay’s community – local organisations and other LGBTQ individuals – have raised over $8,200 to help him cover these costs. He set up a GoFundMe page for his medical debts, and also to donate to several charity organisations, including Athens Queer Collective and Southern Fried Queer Pride.
Jay took to Twitter to share his story: “I never want someone like me to suffer the way I have under these exclusions ever again.”