Two Tennessee women are suing the state over its health insurance plans for public employees after learning their health policies specifically exclude coverage for gender-affirming care.

Gerda Zinner and Story VanNess, the plaintiffs in the case, became aware of the coverage gap after they scheduled surgeries to address their gender dysphoria and were denied insurance coverage.

“It’s very similar to what you see in any research you read about: anxiety, depression, increased risk factors,” VanNess said at a news conference Thursday morning. “This is how I feel. Gender dysphoria is a pretty powerful thing and I haven’t been able to find health care that has allowed me adequate access.”

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