A US District Court judge has ruled that Idaho must provide gender confirmation surgery for a trans inmate.
Trans woman Adree Edmo has been requesting the treatment for a number of years while incarcerated in male prisons.
If there are no appeals against the ruling, Edmo would be only the second trans inmate in the US to receive gender confirmation treatment, the Idaho State Journal reports.
She would also be the first inmate to receive the treatment while in custody of the Idaho Department of Correction (IDOC).
Edmo, 31, was sentenced in 2012 for sexual abuse of a child under 16 and is due to finish her sentence in 2021.
She has been housed in continually housed in male prisons during her imprisonment.
In her original civil rights complaint against the prison system, Edmo wrote that prior to being imprisoned she ‘lived full-time as a woman, dressing in women’s clothes and wearing women’s cosmetics’.
‘Gender confirmation surgery is the only effective treatment’
U.S. District Judge Lynn B. Winmill ruled that by refusing gender affirmation treatment violated Edmo’s Eighth Amendment protection against cruel and unusual punishment.
‘Many transgender individuals are comfortable living with their gender role, expression and identity without surgery […] For others, however, gender confirmation surgery … is the only effective treatment,’ Winmill wrote in the court order.
Though having been provided hormone therapy by prison officials, the court found that Edmo ‘continues to experience gender dysphoria so significant that she cuts herself to relieve emotional pain’.
Edmo testified that she felt disgusted and embarrassed by her male genitalia, and had tried to remove her testicles with razor blades on two occasions.
She had also attempted suicide when her request for treatment was denied by the IDOC and Corizon Correctional Healthcare in 2014.
‘In refusing to provide that surgery, IDOC and Corizon have ignored generally accepted medical standards for the treatment of gender dysphoria,’ Winmill wrote in the order.
The judge gave the prison authorities to provide gender affirmation treatment to Edmo within six months of the ruling.
Rights for trans inmates
In recent months there have been several widely reported cases of trans inmates filing lawsuits against US correctional facilities.
In December, a trans woman successfully sued Suffolk County in New York state for depriving her of hormone therapy during the 16-months of her incarceration at Riverside Correctional Facility.
In November, a judge ordered all prison staff in the state of Illinois to undergo training on transgender issues following a lawsuit by a trans inmate.
In her ruling on Edmo’s case, Judge Winmill said she hoped this case would ‘let other prison systems know they’re obligated to provide medical care consistent with the constitution’.