California Officials Appeal Order to Provide Sex Change Surgery to Prison Inmate

Officials in California are appealing an order by an appellate court for the California corrections department to provide sex reassignment surgery to a transgender prison inmate. On Monday, state officials also filed a request for a stay with the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar has already denied the state’s request for a stay last week, stating that the inmate, Michelle-Lael Norsworthy (Jeffrey Bryan Norsworthy), would likely win the case.

According to Judge Tigar in his 38-page order last month, Norsworthy’s Eighth Amendment rights, protecting him from “cruel and unusual punishements,” are being violated, and Norsworthy is suffering psychologically and emotionally.

Norsworthy, who was convicted of second-degree murder in April 1987, “has presented compelling evidence suggesting that prison officials deliberately ignored her continuing symptoms of gender dysphoria and the recognized standards of care,” Tigar wrote.

The American Psychiatric Association defines gender dysphoria as a condition in which a person does not identify with their own gender.

Tigar also wrote that Norsworthy had attempted other treatment options but continues to suffer from “excruciating pain and frustration,” resulting from gender dysphoria, and Norsworthy’s current hormone replacement therapy has caused liver malfunction. “She is seeking access to the medical treatment prescribed by her treating provider and denied for administrative, rather than medical, reasons,” Tigar added.