Inmates Right to Gender Reassignment Surgery

Inmates Right to Gender Reassignment Surgery

Parole may end gender reassignment surgery for California inmate. Michelle-Lael Norsworhy has an interesting dilemma. If she is granted parole and released from prison, she will not be able to receive her gender reassignment surgery scheduled for July 1. The courts approved her surgery in April.

Diagnosed with a gender identity disorder in 1999, 51year-old Norsworthy says she has suffered distress and anxiety since adolescence as a result of gender dysphoria, but only realized she needed surgery while she was in prison.

Norsworthy was granted permission to have the surgery if there is no push-back from the appeals court. The state contends that the parole hearing could lead to her release which would end her lawsuit seeking the procedure. Her parole hearing is set for today after four delays in six months.

Critics contend that she is purposefully delaying her parole hearing after these four delays. Further stating she is attempting to obtain her surgery prior to her release from prison, of which tax-payers will be responsible for the cost associated with the surgery.

Norsworthy’s attorneys say the delays in her parole have no correlation to wanting to have the surgery prior to her release. They state she will be eligible for Med-Cal, which will cover the necessary sex reassignment surgeries when she is released from prison.

The debate continues as more transgender inmates request reassignment surgery while in prison. The question remains, should tax payers be obligated to pay for these surgeries? And, is it necessary for the protection of the transgender community from abuse and undue stress, causing panic attacks and mood swings? Should a transgender woman even be in a male prison ward or transferred to a female lock-up?

What are your thoughts on this issue?

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