A 57-year-old convicted killer serving a life sentence in California became the first US inmate to receive state-funded sex-reassignment surgery, the prisoner's attorneys confirmed Friday. The AP reports prison officials agreed in 2015 to pay for the surgery for Shiloh Heavenly Quine, who was convicted of first-degree murder, kidnapping, and robbery for ransom and has no possibility of parole. "For too long, institutions have ignored doctors and casually dismissed medically necessary and life-saving care for transgender people just because of who we are," said Kris Hayashi, executive director of the Transgender Law Center, which represents Quine. Hayashi said the surgery fulfills a landmark legal settlement and is a victory for "all transgender people who have ever been denied the medical care we need."
Quine's case led the state to become the first to set standards for transgender inmates to apply to receive state-funded sex-reassignment surgery. Her case prompted a federal magistrate to provide transgender female inmates housed in men's facilities with items such as nightgowns, scarves, and necklaces. Quine previously wrote that her presence in the men's prison creates "confusion and mixed emotions from the males that go from romantic thoughts to disgust and explosive turmoil reactions." She will be moved to a women's prison following the operation. California was legally required to pay for the operation, corrections spokesperson Terry Thornton said. "The Eighth Amendment of the US Constitution requires that prisons provide inmates with medically necessary treatment for medical and mental health conditions, including inmates diagnosed with gender dysphoria," Thornton said. (Read more sex reassignment surgery stories.)