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LGBTI Laws & Policies - Court Cases

  • document cover for Know Your Rights: Laws, Court Decisions, and Advocacy Tips to Protect Transgender Prisoners

    Know Your Rights: Laws, Court Decisions, and Advocacy Tips to Protect Transgender Prisoners

    "This guide identifies laws, court decisions, advocacy tips, and other resources that may be helpful for adult transgender prisoners. Each transgender person’s experience in prison and jail is different, in part because the conditions vary a great deal from one prison to another and change over time. However, the safety and health of every transgender prisoner in the United States is guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution no matter where the prisoner is held" (p. 2). Sections cover: the Prison Rape...

  • MICHELLE-LAEL B. NORSWORTHY, Plaintiff, v. JEFFREY BEARD, et al. (2015)

    U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar ruled in San Francisco that refusing to pay for the surgery denied 51-year-old convicted killer Michelle-Lael Norsworthy (formerly Jeffrey Bryan Norsworthy) constitutionally adequate medical treatment. He issued an injunction compelling the state to provide the surgery, which could cost up to $100,000.

  • Kosilek v. Spencer - Sex Reassignment Surgery in Prison (2014)

    This case involves important issues that arise under the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. We are asked to determine whether the district court erred in concluding that the Massachusetts Department of Correction (“DOC”) has violated the Cruel and Unusual Punishment Clause of the Eighth Amendment by providing allegedly inadequate medical care to prisoner Michelle Kosilek (“Kosilek”). More precisely, we are faced with the question whether the DOC's choice of a particular medical treatment is constitutionally inadequate, such that the district court acts within its power to issue an injunction requiring provision of an alternative treatment-a treatment which would give...

  • State of CA and Transgender Law Center reach historic settlement over trans prisoner health care (2015)

    The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation reached a groundbreaking settlement with Shiloh Quine, a transgender woman held in a men’s prison, to move her to a women’s facility and provide medical care, including gender-affirming surgery, determined necessary by several medical and mental health professionals.

  • Transgender inmate is first to be awarded individual compensation under Prison Rape Elimination Act (2015)

    A Maryland administrative judge awarded $5,000 to a transgender state prison inmate, who alleged that guards kept her in solitary confinement for more than two months. AVA Journal, 2015.

  • Transgender inmate to get $80,000 (2015)

    The state has agreed to pay $80,000 to settle a lawsuit by a transgender inmate from Rochester who alleged she was beaten by corrections officers at the Attica Correctional Facility.

  • Federal appeals court reinstates prisoner’s sex-change lawsuit (2013)

    “The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found that Ophelia Azriel De'lonta, born Michael Stokes, can argue that denying her the surgery violates the Eighth Amendment's prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.”

  • Brandon vs. County of Richardson, Texas (1997)

    The Nebraska Supreme Court unanimously holds that the Richardson County Sheriff is liable both for his failure to protect Brandon Teena and separately for his abusive treatment of him.

  • Jessica Hicklin V. Anne Precynthe et. al. (2018)

    A federal district court ordered the Missouri Department of Corrections (MDOC) and its contracted healthcare provider, Corizon LLC, to immediately provide Jessica Hicklin, a 38-year-old transgender woman incarcerated at the Potosi Correctional Center in Mineral Point, with care that her doctors deem to be medically necessary treatment for her gender dysphoria, including hormone therapy, access to permanent body hair removal, and access to gender-affirming canteen items.

  • Transsexual Prisoners

    A prisoner serving a 34-year sentence for child sex abuse suffered from gender dysphoria. Biologically male, they identify as female. Correctional medical staff members treated the prisoner’s condition with hormone therapy. While the prisoner repeatedly requested sex-reassignment surgery, national standards of care recommend that patients undertake one year of “real life” experience as a person of their self-identified gender before resorting to irreversible surgery. That presented challenges in a sex-segregated prison. Correctional officials consulted with an outside expert, who determined that the prisoner was a potential surgical candidate if officials developed a safe, workable solution to the real-life-experience problem...