As of May 31, the US Bureau of Prisons will provide care, including hormones, counseling, and surgery to transgender inmates. Specifically, the new rules provide for inmates who did not begin to transition before entering federal prison. Before this mandate, only inmates coming in with previously diagnosed Gender Identity Disorder (GID) could receive care.
The decision is part of the court settlement of Vanessa Adams, who was denied treatment despite then being diagnosed with GID. Soon after, according to the Associated Press, she removed her penis with a razor.
Transgender individuals are often mistreated within the prison system: people who identify as female placed within men’s prisons and male within women’s prisons. This new mandate, though, will help to establish a better place for transgender individuals in the system. If nothing else, hopefully it will prevent a situation similar to the terrible one faced by Adams. Being able to pursue your identity, no matter at what point you find that identity, should be a key right, whether someone exists within the prison system or without.
Associated Press. “Feds revise transgender inmate rules to permit previously disallowed prison treatments.” washingtonpost.com. Washington Post. 5 Oct. 2011. <http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/feds-revise-transgender-inmate-rules-to-permit-previously-disallowed-prison-treatments/2011/10/03/gIQAuablIL_story.html>.