A court of appeal ruled in favor of a prisoner who sued the state of Idaho for not giving up her sex change operation, making her the first to receive the proceedings through a court order.
Adree Edmo, 31, was given the green light in December, but Idaho prison lawyers argued in May that the woman – who has been accused of sexual abuse of a child since April 2012 – was in a men's prison . – is too mentally unstable to undergo the irreversible medical procedure.
Edmo lived as a woman before attending the State Correctional Institute of Idaho in Kuna, but was diagnosed with gender dysphoria in June 2012.
She tried to present herself in a feminine way while she was locked up, changed her underwear, stylized her hair and wore makeup.
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the state of Idaho should offer sex relocation surgery to prisoner Adree Edmo. Edmo would be the first transgender prisoner in the country to receive it through a court order
Edmo has been housed in a men's prison, Idaho State Correctional Institution in Kuna, since she first began serving time on charges of sexual abuse of a child under the age of 16 in April 2012
Prison officials provided her with disciplinary reports for those actions, and as a result, she was released conditionally according to the lawsuit.
Edmo testified that she was depressed, embarrassed and disgusted by her male genitals.
In 2014, Edmo was so upset that she tried to take her own life.
She received hormone therapy and counseling, but in 2015 she tried to castrate herself with a razor and failed.
In 2016, after studying the anatomy, boiling her razor blade in an attempt to make it sterile and managed to remove one of her testicles before she began to lose too much blood and called for help, officials had her transported to a nearby hospital, where the testicle was repaired.
# I think the thing that makes this case so important is that this is a procedure that is needed for some transgender prisoners, and is in fact life-saving care, but it is almost universally denied and banned by prisons throughout country, & # 39; Amy Whelan, lawyer with the National Center for Lesbian Rights, said.
She lived as a woman before prison, but was diagnosed with gender dysphoria two months after her conviction. Edmo's lawyer said she received hormone therapy and counseling, but in 2015 she tried to castrate herself with a razor and in 2016 she removed a testicle
The original ruling in the US Idaho court was pronounced last December by Judge B. Lynn Winmill, who said that the Idaho Department of Correction's refusal to provide Edmo with the operation poses a risk of irreparable damage.
Not all transgender people have gender dysphoria, Winmill commented in the original statement, and not all transgender people desire or need surgery to match their physical body with their gender identity.
But for some, gender dysphoria – which occurs when the incongruity between a person's assigned gender and his gender identity is so severe that it affects their ability to function – can only be fully addressed through surgery.
Amy Whelan, lawyer at the National Center for Lesbian Rights, said that sex change surgery & # 39; life-saving care & # 39; is
Edmo & # 39; s lawyer, Lori Rifkin, had argued that Idaho officials treated Edmo's situation differently from other medical concerns. Prison officials should not refuse life-saving treatment to a prisoner with a tumor, nor should they deny Edmo her necessary treatment, Rifkin said.
& # 39; They can say they meant well, but we have a person whose medical condition is treated differently, & # 39; said Rifkin. & # 39; A safe, established, effective treatment and they continue to deny it. & # 39;
In January, Republican government Brad Little said in a prepared statement: "Idaho hardworking taxpayers should not be forced to pay for a prisoner sex change if individual insurance plans do not even cover this."
Although sex change surgery can cost as much as $ 100,000, it can vary between $ 20,000 and $ 30,000 under the state contract with Corizon.
It is less than $ 60,000 NPR reported that the state has paid one witness.
The chairman of the Idaho Board of Correction, Dr. David McClusky said the ruling judge confused his opinion with medical consensus.
& # 39; If Mrs. Edmo had a broken arm, we would all agree that it should be treated, & # 39; said McClusky, a surgeon, in a statement. & # 39; But disagreement among medical professionals in this case does not constitute cruel and unusual punishment. & # 39;
Bu on appeal, judges stated on Friday that "responsible prison officials were deliberately indifferent to Edmo's gender dysphoria, in violation of the eighth amendment & # 39 ;.
She has been locked up for seven years and will be released in July 2021.
Judge B. Lynn Winmill (photo) pronounced the original verdict in the US Idaho court last December, but prison officials claimed she was too mentally unstable to appeal the irreversible medical procedure in May
According to the ruling, there are currently 40 prisoners with gender dysphoria in custody. But between 60 and 70 prisoners are transgender.
Another transgender Idaho prisoner, Jenniffer Spencer, prosecuted the state more than 10 years ago after prison officials refused to diagnose or treat her.
Spencer asked for treatment 75 times and eventually tried suicide. She then carried out her own castration and almost bled to death.
Only then did the department give her hormone therapy, but only gave her male hormones, not the female hormones she was looking for.
In 2007, a federal judge ordered the state to provide Spencer with female hormone therapy.
The first prisoner to receive the operation was Shiloh Heavenly Quine, who serves a life sentence for first-degree murder in California
California prison officials struggled with the issue when inmate Michelle Lael Norsworthy filed a lawsuit for sex change. But just one day before a federal court of appeal would handle its case in 2015, the state sentenced her and effectively ended the lawsuit.
The first prisoner to receive the operation was Shiloh Heavenly Quine, who serves a life sentence for first-degree murder in California.
Prison officials agreed there in 2015 to pay for the procedure to initiate a lawsuit initiated by Quine and other transgender prisoners.
The case also led to California becoming the first state to set standards allowing other transgender prisoners to request the operation, and led a federal magistrate to oblige California to provide transgender female prisoners in men's facilities with more women's-oriented items such as scarves and chains.
In March, the 5th American Court of Appeal ruled against Texas prisoner Vanessa Lynn Gibson in her lawsuit seeking a gender affirmation operation.
Judge James Ho said that while it is a cruel and unusual punishment to refuse essential medical care to a prisoner, & # 39; that does not mean that prisons should provide the care that a prisoner wants & # 39 ;.
The chairman of the Idaho Board of Correction, Dr. David McClusky (left) said the ruling judge confused his opinion with medical consensus. In January, the republican government, Brad Little (right), said: “The hard-working taxpayers of Idaho should not be forced to pay for a gender change of a prisoner when individual insurance plans do not even cover this & # 39;
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