Medical neglect for transgender inmates too often demands court intervention

“Transgender inmates who don’t get proper gender-affirming care in prison can experience serious anxiety, depression and suicidal ideation. One individual said the experience was “catastrophic.”

Note: This story contains graphic details of incidents of self-harm.

NPR’s Jaclyn Diaz reports on the experiences of transgender inmates, including an incarcerated woman who’s been denied her hormones therapy with catastrophic consequences.

“Health experts and attorneys for civil rights groups, as well as incarcerated and formerly incarcerated individuals, told NPR that getting reliable gender-affirming care in prison seems to often come only after threats of lawsuits or an all-out legal fight. Prisons that do provide gender-affirming care can often still be inconsistent, regardless of policies on the books.

‘Prisons oftentimes refuse to treat transgender people consistent with their gender. And they also refuse to provide medically necessary health care,” Taylor Brown, a staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union, told NPR. Gender-affirming care can include “puberty suppression, hormone therapy, and gender-affirming surgeries among others,” according to the World Professional Association for Transgender Health.

Access to this care is considered medically necessary to treat gender dysphoria. Without it, individuals can struggle severely with mental health issues such as heightened anxiety and depression, with some turning to self-harm and suicide.”

Read full article here.