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Transgender identity, in their words

Six trangender individuals speak about their gender identity, and what it means to be transgender.

Posted: Aug 30, 2018 5:56 PM
Updated: Aug 30, 2018 6:16 PM

Hilde Hall says she went straight from her doctor's office in April to a CVS pharmacy in her Phoenix suburb, eager to fill her first hormone therapy prescription.

The treatment would spur physical changes in Hall's body that would reflect her identity as a transgender woman, she said.

"I was finally going to start seeing my body reflect my gender identity and the woman I've always known myself to be," she said.

Her elation quickly turned to anxiety when the pharmacist refused to fill her prescription and humiliated her in front of other customers, she said.

Hall said she called the CVS customer service line twice. When no one addressed her concerns, she decided to file a complaint with the Arizona State Board of Pharmacy on Thursday.

In a statement to CNN, CVS Health said the pharmacist violated its policies and is no longer employed by the company.

"We also apologize for not appropriately following up on Ms. Hall's original complaint to CVS, which was due to an unintentional oversight," the statement added. "We pride ourselves in addressing customer concerns in a timely manner and we are taking steps to prevent this isolated occurrence from happening again."

The statement pointed out that CVS has a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign's (HRC) Corporate Equality Index, which ranks businesses based on their support for LGBTQ equality.

What Hall says happened

The pharmacist did not give Hall a clear reason for the refusal, she said in a blog post describing the encounter published on the American Civil Liberties Union's website.

"He just kept asking, loudly and in front of other CVS staff and customers, why I was given the prescriptions," she said.

"Embarrassed and distressed, I nearly started crying in the middle of the store," she wrote. "I didn't want to answer why I had been prescribed this hormone therapy combination by my doctor. I felt like the pharmacist was trying to out me as transgender in front of strangers. I just froze and worked on holding back the tears."

The pharmacist refused to give her back the written prescription, she said, forcing her doctor to call it in to another pharmacy. She was able to fill the prescription at Walgreen's with no problem, she said. But she wanted an apology from CVS and an assurance that the drugstore chain does not condone discrimination against transgender customers or anyone else, she said.

"My family supports me, fortunately, and helped me work through the anger and humiliation this experience caused," she wrote. "But many other transgender people are not as fortunate as I am. I don't want to think about what might happen if this pharmacist mistreats a transgender person who does not have a good social support system."

CVS apologizes

CVS, for its part, made good on both requests. The chain said the pharmacist's action "does not reflect our values or our commitment to inclusion, nondiscrimination and the delivery of outstanding patient care.

"CVS Health extends its sincere apologies to Ms. Hall for her experience at our pharmacy in Fountain Hills, Arizona last spring," the company said.

The pharmacist violated company policies against denying patients access to medication prescribed by a physician based on a pharmacist's individual religious or moral beliefs, CVS Health spokesman Mike DeAngelis said Sunday.

"Under federal law and some state laws, we must accommodate a religious conviction that may prevent a pharmacist from filling specific medications. In such instances, the pharmacist is required to notify us in advance about such a religious conviction, so that we can ensure there are other arrangements in place to ensure the patient's medication needs are promptly satisfied," he said in an email.

ACLU Senior Staff Attorney Joshua Block said the assurances from the pharmacy chain are important at a moment in time when the Trump administration has signaled its intent to roll back health care protections for transgender and non-binary individuals.

After Hall filed the complaint, a CVS representative contacted her and apologized for the pharmacist's behavior, Steve Kilar with the ACLU of Arizona said Friday.

"Hilde hopes that CVS will make its nondiscrimination policies public, so that transgender and non-binary customers have some assurance the corporation will take appropriate action if similar discrimination occurs in the future," Kilar said.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 314710

Reported Deaths: 7254
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto21646260
Hinds20369416
Harrison17949309
Rankin13643278
Jackson13450246
Madison10113217
Lee9986174
Jones8384163
Forrest7689152
Lauderdale7198240
Lowndes6403148
Lamar623686
Lafayette6203119
Washington5341134
Bolivar4802132
Oktibbeha462998
Panola4596107
Pearl River4519146
Marshall4450103
Warren4393121
Pontotoc420872
Monroe4115133
Union411176
Neshoba4031176
Lincoln3969110
Hancock379586
Leflore3498125
Sunflower336290
Tate334784
Pike3327105
Scott316274
Alcorn313368
Yazoo311770
Itawamba300577
Copiah297465
Coahoma295579
Simpson295388
Tippah288768
Adams286982
Prentiss280060
Marion269380
Leake268473
Wayne262841
Grenada261587
Covington259881
George248148
Newton246862
Winston227581
Tishomingo227067
Jasper221148
Attala214473
Chickasaw208057
Holmes189174
Clay185554
Stone182833
Tallahatchie178941
Clarke178080
Calhoun170932
Yalobusha164638
Smith162534
Walthall134245
Greene130633
Lawrence128724
Montgomery127142
Noxubee126734
Perry126338
Amite123142
Carroll121829
Webster114532
Jefferson Davis107133
Tunica105726
Claiborne102430
Benton100025
Humphreys96733
Kemper95828
Franklin83923
Quitman81116
Choctaw76418
Wilkinson67531
Jefferson65728
Sharkey50217
Issaquena1686
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 540083

Reported Deaths: 11038
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson798481529
Mobile41283809
Madison35157506
Tuscaloosa25925455
Shelby25302249
Montgomery24723593
Baldwin21411310
Lee15993172
Calhoun14574319
Morgan14425280
Etowah13925353
Marshall12280225
Houston10648282
Elmore10158206
Limestone10070151
St. Clair9948245
Cullman9768194
Lauderdale9460243
DeKalb8865188
Talladega8341176
Walker7261278
Autauga7005108
Jackson6840112
Blount6773139
Colbert6322135
Coffee5581118
Dale4877113
Russell445738
Chilton4373113
Franklin426382
Covington4138118
Tallapoosa4044153
Escambia394877
Chambers3596123
Dallas3569153
Clarke351561
Marion3140101
Pike312077
Lawrence303098
Winston275873
Bibb264764
Geneva254178
Marengo249865
Pickens234862
Barbour232056
Hale224078
Butler219169
Fayette212862
Henry189943
Cherokee184845
Randolph182542
Monroe178141
Washington167839
Macon161350
Clay157257
Crenshaw153557
Cleburne149641
Lamar143336
Lowndes140653
Wilcox127430
Bullock123242
Conecuh110829
Coosa109228
Perry107826
Sumter105032
Greene92634
Choctaw61024
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