Missouri transgender prisoner fights for the right to get hormone tratment

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Jessica Hicklin is suing Missouri prison system with support of transgender prisoners from other states over the right to get the access to the hormonal therapy to finish her transition. . She is challenging a state Department of Corrections policy that bars hormone therapy for inmates who weren’t receiving it before being incarcerated. Jessica has committed a first-degree murder and was sentenced to the life imprisonment before starting to live as a woman, but she has never felt as male

According to her lawsuit, it wasn’t until last year that medical experts determined that Hicklin has gender dysphoria, in which a person feels extreme distress because of a disconnect between their birth sex and gender identity. But in a blog posted on Lambda Legal’s website, Hicklin wrote that she felt she was a girl since she was very young. “Even at 16, I felt I was on my way to certain death. I didn’t know what gender dysphoria was, or how to explain my feelings to my family or others in my small town,” wrote Hicklin, who was convicted of fatally shooting a man during a drug-related crime in the small town of Clinton in 1995.

he lawsuit contends that experts advised she undergo hormone therapy and permanent hair removal and that she have access to “gender-affirming” products from the prison commissary store that typically aren’t available at the all-male Potosi Correctional Center where she’s imprisoned. It also says she’s been sexually assaulted in prison and has anxiety and depression, along with “intrusive thoughts” of cutting off her own testicles because of the denied treatment. In her blog posting, Hicklin wrote that she feels “locked in a prison within a prison — my body. This personal prison is much crueler, and without a change in policy, I’m not sure I will survive it,” she wrote. Missouri Department of Corrections spokesman David Owen and Martha Harbin, a spokeswoman for Corizon Health, which provides health care for the prison system and is also named in the lawsuit, declined to comment, citing pending litigation. The Bureau of Justice Statistics estimates that there are 3,200 transgender inmates in the nation’s prisons and jails. Federal inmates can receive treatment for gender dysphoria if an evaluation determines they need it, based on a policy enacted in 2011. The policy applies whether therapy was prescribed before or after the inmate entered federal custody. But states continue to have varying regulations.

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