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Tipsheet

NPR: Trans Inmates Need Access to ‘Gender-Affirming’ Care

Matt York

Government-funded media organization NPR argued this week that transgender inmates deserve access to “gender-affirming” health care while behind bars.

Health experts who spoke to NPR, as well as individuals who are currently (or formerly) incarcerated, said that getting “reliable” transgender care in prison only occurs, in most cases, after lawsuits. And, prisons that offer this type of health care can often be “inconsistent.” 

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“Gender-affirming” health care includes hormone therapy treatments, puberty blockers and sex reassignment surgery. “Social” transitioning is when an individual who identifies with a gender that does not align with their biological sex goes by preferred pronouns, dons clothing synonymous with their gender identity, and, in some cases, goes by a different name.

Taylor Brown, a staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), told NPR that many prisons “refuse” to “treat transgender people consistent with their gender” and provide “medically necessary health care.”

According to the Philadelphia Center for Transgender Surgery, “bottom” sex reassignment surgeries can cost around $25,000. Additional procedures and hidden costs can increase the amount for these procedures. 

In April, Townhall covered how a federal court ordered the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) to secure “gender-affirming” surgery for a transgender inmate, who previously had their request denied by the agency.

That same month, a transgender inmate housed at Riker’s Island reportedly raped a female prisoner and was sentenced to seven years. Investigators reportedly said that Ramel “Diamond” Blount, who was living in the female section of Rikers, approached a female inmate in the restroom after she finished showering and raped her. 

That’s not all. Matt reported how two female inmates at a women’s prison in New Jersey fell pregnant after having sex with a transgender inmate. The male-bodied inmate was transferred to a men’s facility and complained about it in a blog post titled “Being Forced to Live in a Male Prison.”

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“They have violated my right to be safe and free from sexual harassment,” the inmate, Demitrius “Demi” Minor, wrote.

Minor’s former foster mother, Dr. Wanda Broach-Butts, told the New York Post shortly after that Minor is a “psychopath” and uses transgenderism as a “ploy” to get special treatment in prison. Minor is serving a 30-year sentence and killed Broach-Butts’ husband in 2011.

In July, Fox News reported that the BOP was reportedly paying $1.5 million for transgender programming currirculum in U.S. prisons. Another report found that California’s prison population included over 1,100 inmates who are biological males who identify as women.

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