Michelle-Lael Norsworthy is newsworthy being only the second inmate ever granted a court ordered gender confirmation surgery. Michelle Kosilek was the first inmate to be granted court ordered SRS but that ruling was overturned.
Why is SRS such a issue for inmate transition when HRT is acknowledged as medically necessary for most transgender individuals?
According to News10 The department had been urged by some state lawmakers, including Assembly Minority Leader Kristin Olsen, R-Riverbank, to appeal the order or find a way to pay for it without using taxpayer money.
“The definition of justice does not include a $100,000 taxpayer-funded sex change operation,” Olsen wrote to state officials.
She and Assemblyman Devon Mathis, R-Visalia, both said the money could better be used for law-abiding citizens.
Given that hormones have already been subscribed, the only remaining cost would be the actual operation. A couple of samples.
The Philadelphia Center for Transgender Surgery, basic male-to-female surgery that includes testicle removal, genital surgery and breast augmentation would cost a little over $30,000. California’s Marci Bowers surgery cost as of 2012 was $23,000. That is a far cry from what Kristin Olsen claimed.
But above and beyond all the monetary considerations are the human rights of the individual.
According to The World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) standard of care chapter 11:
“Sex Reassignment Surgery Is Effective and Medically Necessary”
Surgery – particularly genital surgery – is often the last and the most considered step in the treatment process for gender dysphoria. While many transsexual, transgender, and gender-nonconforming
individuals find comfort with their gender identity, role, and expression without surgery, for
many others surgery is essential and medically necessary to alleviate their gender dysphoria
(Hage & Karim, 2000).
Is state of California’s correctional department afraid that the ruling would take away their right to discriminate?
News 10 reports “The Court’s order effectively takes inmate health care out of CDCR’s hands and subjects it to an inmate’s personal preferences,” the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said its filing.
It is asking for a stay while the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals considers Tigar’s ruling, arguing that there is no immediate need to provide the surgery to someone who has been dealing with gender dysphoria for many years. The condition occurs when people’s gender at birth is contrary to the way they identify themselves.
The court already rejected those arguments when it issued a preliminary injunction after finding that Norsworthy’s “suffering constitutes irreparable injury, whether this is the first month she has suffered it or the hundredth.”
In search of an answer that is devoid of transphobia CBS took it to the street and asked citizens how they felt about taking care of a minority.