A transgender woman in custody at the Massachusetts Department of Correction can sue prison officials after they failed to comply with doctor's orders to provide her with hair removal treatments, a federal judge has ruled.
Christine Alexander claims that three corrections department officials – assistant deputy commissioner for clinical services Lawrence Weiner, gender identity treatment chairman Robert Diener and Norfolk's associate medical director Rebecca Lubelczyk – have violated her eighth and 14th amendment rights by failing to provide her with adequate medical treatment for her gender identity disorder.
Alexander suffers from facial and body hair as well as male pattern baldness and medically requires hair removal treatments according to doctors. However, the state corrections department has not offered the treatment.
The plaintiff has developed severe depression and anxiety as a result.
In a summary of the lawsuit, US District Judge Joseph Tauro says that Alexander 'asserts that failure to provide her with the medical treatment will lead to serious bodily harm, untreated mental illness and continued depression.'
Judge Tauro ruled that Alexander sufficiently established the 'personal involvement of prison officials in an alleged constitutional violation by showing that the official "knew of the prisoner's need for medical care and yet failed to provide the same."'
The defendents each filed motions to dismiss the case but were denied by Judge Tauro who deemed the allegations to be 'taken as true' and 'sufficient to establish that the plaintiff has a serious medical need, which has not been adequately treated under the eighth amendment standard.'
The eighth amendment of the United States Constitution prohibits the federal government from imposing cruel and unusual punishments.