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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Taxpayer-funded hormone therapy for transgender inmates

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 inmates.
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 for inmates,

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