Published on January 27th, 2012 | by Wild Gender0
Federal Court Rules in Favor of Incarcerated Trans Woman
A federal court determined today that it is a violation of the constitution to deny an incarcerated transgender woman (who’s being held in a mens’ facility in Mass.) laser hair removal as part of gender identity disorder treatment.
Christine Alexander was diagnosed in 2003 with Gender Identity Disorder, yet was still sentenced to mens’ prison despite undergoing hormone replacement therapy. She is still being provided with hormones and additional psychological counseling while incarcerated at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Norfolk.
But, regarding her hair removal treatment, Alexander claimed violations of her Eighth and 14th Amendment rights in a complaint against three corrections department officials, Assistant Deputy Commissioner for Clinical Services Lawrence Weiner, Gender Identity Treatment Chairman Robert Diener and Norfolk’s Associate Medical Director Rebecca Lubelczyk.
“Plaintiff asserts that the failure to provide her with the medical treatment will lead to serious bodily harm, untreated mental illness and continued depression,” according to U.S. District Judge Joseph Tauro’s summary of the lawsuit.
The defendants each filed motions to dismiss, but Tauro upheld the claims last week, finding that Alexander’s “allegations, taken as true, are sufficient to establish that the plaintiff has a serious medical need, which has not been adequately treated under the Eighth Amendment standard.”
The court noted that Alexander’s complaint “contains detailed factual allegations to support plaintiff’s contention that her inadequate treatment is due to defendants’ deliberate indifference, and that such deliberate indifference is likely to continue in the future.”
“Plaintiff sets out at least three separate occasions on which she was prescribed laser hair removal and/or electrolysis,” he wrote. “She also details a long history of administrative appeals and repeated requests to individual in various positions of authority at the [Department of Corrections] that her doctors’ orders be followed.”
Citing precedent, Tauro found that Alexander sufficiently established the “personal involvement of prison officials in an alleged constitutional violation by showing that the official ‘knew of the prisoner’s need for medical care and yet failed to provide the same.’”
A federal judge in Mass. agreed and ruled in favor of Ms. Alexander.