CTA Will Cover Transgender Employee's Surgery

Steve Miller
December 05, 2018 - 3:42 pm

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- A 28-year-old CTA bus driver is celebrating a victory now that the transit agency said it will cover the cost of female-to-male gender transition surgery.

The bus driver's name is Russia Brown.

"It's been a long time. A good 28 years of self-loathing and all of that. And literally wanting to live in the shadows."

Brown was born female, now transitioning to male. And when Brown scheduled a double mastectomy, he was told health insurance wouldn't cover the operation because it wasn't cancer-related.

The ACLU wrote a letter, and now Brown says the surgery will be covered.

"Now it's like a light being shone on me, like it's OK to be seen. It's OK to live,” he said.

Brown said surgery will be in March. A celebration at the beach is planned.

"I can't wait. I'm going to have a mini photo shoot on the beach. Actually, I might go to every beach in Chicago and just take a picture, shirtless. Just walking around being free. Like every other guy."

The CTA says in a statement: "CTA fosters a diverse, inclusive workplace for all employees. When this matter came to our attention, 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. That decision was made in keeping with our broader efforts toward inclusion and diversity."