Connor Thonen-Fleck is a high school student in North Carolina and also works at a veterinary clinic in his spare time. Connor intends to pursue a career in the veterinary field. Connor is transgender; he was assigned female at birth but from a young age knew that he was male. In 2017, Connor began transitioning so that he could live more authentically in his male identity. That process was delayed when the NCSHP reinstated the exclusion of transition related healthcare.
Connor’s parents, Jason Fleck and Alexis Thonen, are both employees of University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Their family is covered by the NCSHP, which excludes coverage for medically necessary transition related health care. This exclusion has left the family with the full financial cost of Connor’s care, and it’s why the family joined Lambda Legal’s lawsuit against the NCSHP. “I want to tell [the state that] this is essential,” Connor said about his care. “It is not a luxury.”
His mother Alexis agreed, recalling the day that Connor saw an endocrinologist and took a step toward gender-confirming hormone therapy. “That may have been more of a special day than the day he was born,” Alexis said. “It was so wonderful to see him get what he needed.”