An inmate in a California prison, has filed a lawsuit requesting that the state pay for her sex reassignment surgery, based on her diagnosis of Gender Identity Disorder.  Lyralisa Stevens, who was born a male but lives as a woman, is serving 50 years to life for killing a San Bernadino County woman over a dispute for clothing.

Stevens began taking female hormones before incarceration and had silicone injections in her breasts and hips prior to incarceration.  The state has been providing Stevens with her hormone injections because a federal court found in a 1999 case that failing to continue treatment for inmates who were on hormones before coming to prison amounted to cruel and unusual punishment.

A ruling in Stevens’ favor would make California the first place in the country required to provide reassignment surgery for an inmate, according to lawyers for the receiver appointed to oversee California’s troubled prison health system. They argue that the state should be required to provide only “minimally adequate care,” not sex-change operations that cost $15,000 to $50,000.

Stevens is also requesting to be transfered to a women’s prison after the surgery claiming that she is under constant threat of sexual assault in the men’s facility.

I have mixed feelings on this one.  While I understand that Gender Identity Disorder can be devastating to individuals, the State of California is in financial ruin and cutting programs for our children and elderly, not to mention those without jobs.  This will be one to watch, that is for sure.

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