MADISON, Wis. - A federal judge has struck down a unique Wisconsin law that prohibits transgender inmates from receiving taxpayer-funded hormone therapy, which alters their appearance to be more like that of the opposite sex.
A group of male inmates who identify as female had challenged the
2006 law with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union of
Wisconsin and Lambda Legal, a national gay rights group. They say they
need the hormones to treat their gender identity disorder, and not
having them would lead to severe health problems.
"It's a victory for these inmates who have a condition that is
misunderstood and vilified for political purposes that can be very
serious," Larry Dupuis, an ACLU lawyer who represented the plaintiffs,
said Thursday. "To take away a whole class of treatment just because
it's politically disfavored is not constitutional."
While similar prison policies in other states have been challenged
successfully, the ACLU and Lambda Legal said the law was the only one
of its kind in the nation that denied such medical care to transgender
Lawmakers who wrote the measure, declared unconstitutional and
unenforceable Wednesday by U.S. District Judge Charles Clevert, reacted
with outrage and urged Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen to appeal. They
warned the decision would open the door for taxpayer-funded sex changes
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