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The California prison system has taken a major step forward in terms of meeting the healthcare-related needs of its transgender inmates.


Prison officials rolled out an official policy on Tuesday that will be used to identify whether a trans inmate will receive state-funded sex reassignment surgery, the Associated Press reports. Some of the guidelines, allegedly the first by any prison system in the country, require that an inmate: 1. must be diagnosed with gender dysphoria, 2. must have expressed a desire for SRS for at least two years, 3. must have lived as the gender with which they identify for at least one year, and 4. must have at least two years left on their prison sentence.

Joyce Hayhoe, a spokeswoman for a federal court-appointed official, told the AP that the new policy will be used to find cases where surgery is deemed "medically necessary." The policy will reportedly not cover procedures that are deemed "merely cosmetic," although the AP does not say how the line is drawn between a "medically necessary" procedure and "merely cosmetic" one.


Former inmate Michelle-Lael Norsworthy won a federal court order to have state-funded SRS in April, but she was paroled before having the surgery in August. Shiloh Quine will be the first trans inmate in the California prison system to receive state-funded SRS, according to The Los Angeles Times. She entered the system in 1980 and is serving a life sentence for murder in Los Angeles County.

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