Ohio judge orders reinstatement of hormone treatment for transgender inmate

[JURIST] A judge for the US District Court for the Southern District of Ohio [official website] on Friday ordered the permanent reinstatement of hormone treatments for a transgender Ohio prison inmate who complained about losing her breast tissue, growing facial hair and suffering other related symptoms after treatments were stopped. Whitney Lee had been receiving hormone treatments since 1999 until the state stopped her treatments in 2012. Lee argued that she had experienced medical issues, including severe depression, since the state stopped her treatment. According to the complaint [text, PDF] filed by the Ohio Justice and Policy Center [advocacy website], Lee began living as a woman at age 18 and had previously received the treatments at home, in federal prison and an Ohio county jail. The complaint also said that Lee was placed on suicide watch after the treatments were stopped. The prisons department argued against her claim, stating that a psychiatrist had determined she was not suffering from gender identity disorder and that she had failed to exhaust all remedial procedures through the prison system before filing a lawsuit. Judge Algenon Marbley [official profile] ruled [AP report] that the state's actions violated Lee's constitutional rights and that it must immediately reinstate the treatments.

The rights and identity of transgendered individuals is a topic of debate in many states and countries, with supporters claiming that gender is not necessarily tied to the sex organs one is born with, while others assert [JURIST op-ed] that "sex is an objective, biological fact." In February, the Thirteenth Texas Court of Appeals [official website] vacated [JURIST report] a lower court's holding that the transgender widow of a firefighter was a man at the time of her marriage, thus invalidating the union. In January the Supreme Court of Maine ruled that a school district had violated the rights of a transgender student when it tried to prevent [JURIST report] her from using the girl's bathroom. In November the group Privacy for all Students announced [JURIST report] it had obtained enough signatures to put an initiative on the November 2014 ballot to repeal the California law allowing school students to self-identify with a particular gender and to use the corresponding school facilities. In 2012 Alaska began [JURIST report] to allow transgendered individuals to begin changing their gender markers on their driver's license to more accurately reflect their gender. Just months earlier the Supreme Court denied [JURIST report] certiorari to decide the issue of whether transgendered prison inmates have a right to hormone therapy.

 

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