Law \ Legal

Trans Inmates Often Must Sue for Access to ‘Gender-Affirming’ Care


Obtaining gender-affirming care in prison often comes only after threats of or carried out lawsuits. While most prisons say they offer the care, the provided treatment is inconsistent, reports Jacyln Diaz for NPR. The care is medically necessary to treat gender dysphoria. In addition, individuals often deal with severe mental health issues when deprived of care, leading some to commit self-harm.

In a 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey, 58 percent of incarcerated respondents had taken hormones before imprisonment. Of those, 82 percent had a prescription for hormones. However, over one-third of respondents said they were banned from continuing to take their hormones once in custody. Following an American Civil Liberties Union court victory this year against the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP), where an inmate won the ability to be evaluated for gender-affirming surgery, several trans inmates turned to the courts to win the care they needed when corrections facilities failed to offer it.

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