California First State To Pay For Prisoner’s Sex Affirmation Surgery

George Lavender

Shiloh Quine will be the first transgender woman in prison to have her sex affirmation surgery paid for by a state. California settled Quine’s case, which leaves open the question of whether the prison system has a constitutional obligation to provide such surgery to transgender prisoners who chooose it.

As the Los Angeles Times reports, the settlement in Quine’s case follows the announcement that Michelle Norsworthy would be parolled before she could recieve surgery. 

In both instances, California prison officials had denied the surgeries, arguing that sex reassignment was not medically necessary. The state’s position was undermined in June when its own expert concluded that Quine required the operation.

Sex reassignment surgery is medically necessary to prevent Ms. Quine from suffering significant illness or disability, and to alleviate severe pain caused by her gender dysphoria,” wrote Richard Carroll, a clinical psychologist and director of the Sexual Disorders and Couple Therapy Program at Northwestern University in Chicago. Surgery, he said, would reduce her depression, anxiety and risk of suicide attempts.”

Waiting until she got out of prison was not an option. Quine is serving a life sentence without parole for murder. Continue reading…

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George Lavender is an award-winning radio and print journalist based in Los Angeles. Follow him on Twitter @GeorgeLavender.
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