Inmate Demands California Pay for Sex Change

Lyralisa Stevens sues for surgery to move to safer women's prison
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 20, 2011 2:20 AM CDT
Inmate Demands Calif. Pay for Sex Change
Transgender inmates are 13 times more likely to suffer sexual assaults in prison, a study has found.   (?Homo E?ectus)

(Newser) – A murderer is suing California, demanding the state pay for her sex change operation and move her from a men's prison to a safer women's prison. The state has provided Lyralisa Stevens, who lives as a female, with sex hormones since 2003 when she began a 50 year-to-life sentence for shooting a woman in a dispute over clothing. But officials say they are not responsible for financing and arranging an operation to remove her male genitalia. Stevens has had silicone injections in her hips and breasts, and is in constant fear of attack, according to the suit. "The male inmate is not expecting to see breasts in the shower next to him," wrote Stevens.

California prisons house some 300 inmates diagnosed with "gender identity disorder." Such inmates are 13 times more likely to be sexually assaulted in prison, according to a new study. An appeals court ruled in 1999 that prisons had to continue to provide hormone therapy for inmates who were already taking hormones when they arrived at a cost of some $1,000 for each prisoner. A sex change operation could cost as much as $50,000, according to officials. If the court rules in Stevens' favor, California would become the first state required to provide sex reassignment surgery for prisoners, reports the Los Angeles Times. (Read more transgender stories.)

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