California: Judge refuses to delay trans prisoner’s surgery

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A judge has refused an appeal that would delay a trans woman prisoner’s gender confirmation surgery.

Michelle-Lael Norsworthy was the first inmate in California to be granted surgery by a court. 

The judge found that while she had been allowed hormone treatment, and had been recommended for surgery by her psychologist, the prison “chose to ignore the clear recommendations of her mental health provider” and “instead of following his recommendations, they removed her from his care.”

The Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation have had their request for a delay denied, and will now appeal to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Kris Hayashi, Executive Director of the Transgender Law Center said before the ruling: “The state provides essential medical care to all people being held in prison, and everyone – transgender or not – should find it troubling that the state is trying to take that away from Michelle just because of who she is.”

Judge John Tigar said that he accepted the legal complications of the case, but believed and further delay would cause Ms Norsworthy serious psychological harm.

Hayashi welcomed the statement: “Judge Tigar recognized the urgency for Michelle in receiving the care that all the evidence shows is critical for her health.”

Earlier this month, musicians Michael Stipe and Sir Elton John spoke out about “horrific” treatment of trans women prisoners.