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Judge Says Transgender Prisoners Should Get Feminine Products

REUTERS/Stephen Lam

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Amber Randall Civil Rights Reporter
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A federal judge ruled Thursday that California transgender  inmates in male prisons must receive more female related items, as part of a case that makes California the first state to pay for a prisoner’s gender reassignment surgery, according to reports. 

California agreed to pay for Shiloh Quine’s reassignment surgery last August, as well as provide transgender inmates with certain female products.  U.S. Magistrate Judge Nandor Vadas ruled that the agreement did not offer enough; his ruling said that transgender females housed in male prisons should the same products that female inmates receive.

Shiloh’s legal team argued that the prisons were banning these items to female transgenders “based solely upon gender norms,” rather than security reasons. Quine is currently serving a life sentence  at Mule Creek State Prison for murder, kidnapping and robbery.

In his ruling, Vadas claimed that the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation should not ban female items to transgender inmates or those who may have some signs of gender dysphoria in male prisons. He said that prisons should give them access to items such as nightgowns, necklaces, robes, sandals, curling irons, emery boards and scarves.

Vadas ruled against allowing transgender inmates in male prisons having bracelets, earrings, hair brushes and hair clips, citing safety reasons.

In a statement, Ilona Turner, legal director at the Oakland-based Transgender Law Center, said,  “Transgender women like Shiloh shouldn’t be denied items that every other woman in CDCR custody has access to. We are pleased that the court recognizes the importance of having access to clothing and personal items that reflect a person’s gender, and that denying items because someone is transgender is discrimination.”

Quine will be receiving the gender reassignment surgery in December.

Kent Scheidegger, legal director at the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation, said to the Associated Press, “Civil rights laws should not create a right to such minor matters. The civil rights of prisoners are to not be treated cruelly, and getting down to such details goes far beyond what a reasonable interpretation of civil rights laws would provide.”

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Tags : california
Amber Randall