A California federal judge refused to delay an order to provide sex reassignment surgery for a transgender inmate. U.S. Judge Jon Tigar did this in response to a request by state corrections officials who have appealed to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, where they are asking for a stay for the surgery. It is only the second time a judge in the U.S. has directed a state prison system to provide the surgery.
The state wanted Judge Tigar to reconsider the surgery, until a ruling on another transgender inmate Michelle (Jeffrey Bryan)-Lael Norsworthy is made. This case was overturned in Massachusetts and is being appealed in the U.S. Supreme Court. Tigar did concede that the case raises a serious legal question.
Judge Tigar said he granted Norsworthy’s request after concluding that she is likely to win her case and that she is suffering serious psychological and emotional harm in the meantime because her rights are being violated.
This ruling by Judge Tigar marks a significant shift in the way the transgender community is being treated and signifies the importance of supporting gender identity. It is an important first step in acknowledging the rights of the transgender community and providing a more humane approach to protecting them.