Transgender Inmate Sues State Over Not Getting Hormone Therapy

REUTERS/Heather Somerville

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Grace Carr Reporter
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A transgender inmate is suing the Indiana Department of Corrections commissioner because the prison he’s currently housed in won’t provide him with hormone therapy.

Indiana’s American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a lawsuit with Indiana’s Southern District Court on behalf of the transgender inmate, Anthony Loveday, charging that the prison’s refusal to provide him with hormone therapy to facilitate his transition to becoming a woman constitutes cruel and unusual punishment, the Indy Star reported Thursday.

The lawsuit insists that Loveday has experienced anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts because of the prison’s refusal to provide him with gender-altering drugs.

The prison provides hormone therapy for inmates that began treatment before becoming incarcerated, but does not provide therapy for offenders who weren’t taking hormones before they were jailed. “If an offender did not enter the DOC already on Hormones, the contractual medical staff nor the IDOC are not under any obligation to provide hormone therapy for offenders who discover they are Transgender while incarcerated,” a prison spokesman told the Indy Star. Loveday was not taking hormones at the time of his arrest.

The ACLU cited the Eighth Amendment, which prohibits the government “from remaining deliberately indifferent to the serious medical needs of an inmate,” positing that Loveday’s gender transformation constitutes a condition that requires serious medical attention. “If an inmate enters the Department of Correction and is diagnosed with cancer two years into their sentence, the DOC would treat the cancer,” one of Loveday’s attorneys, Jan Mensz, told Indy Star.

The prison has, however, provided Loveday with bi-monthly counseling from a mental health professional.

The lawsuit comes after a federal judge ordered a taxpayer-funded county prison in Pennsylvania to provide and pay for hormone therapy treatment for transgender inmate Steven Fritz, a man who wants to be a woman named Sparkles Wilson.

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