U.S. Judge orders California to pay for inmate’s sex change

A federal judge on Thursday ordered California’s corrections department to provide a transgender inmate with sex reassignment surgery, the first time such an operation has been ordered in the state.U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar in San Francisco ruled that denying the surgery to 51-year-old Michelle-Lael Norsworthy violates her constitutional rights. Her birth name is Jeffrey Bryan Norsworthy.

The weight of the evidence demonstrates that for Norsworthy, the only adequate medical treatment for her gender dysphoria is SR.

U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar in San Francisco

In his ruling in California, Tigar cited testimony that the surgery has actually been performed just once on an inmate, an apparent reference to a person who castrated himself in Texas then was given the surgery out of necessity. Norsworthy, who was convicted of murder, has lived as a woman since the 1990s and has what Tigar termed severe gender dysphoria - a condition that occurs when people’s gender at birth is contrary to the way they identify themselves.

This decision confirms that it is unlawful to deny essential treatment to transgender people” in or out of prison. The bottom line is no one should be denied the medical care they need.

Kris Hayashi, executive director of the Transgender Law Center