A transgender California prisoner has lost a bid to force the state to pay for a sex change operation. Lyralisa Stevens, who was born male but lives as a woman, sued the state, demanding that the public fund surgery to remove her male genitalia, at a cost of as much as $50,000. A San Francisco appeals court nixed the suit, but Stevens, 42, may still take her case to a higher court, reports the Los Angeles Times. California, like many states, provides hormone treatments for transgender inmates. Had Stevens been successful in her suit, the state would have become the first in the nation to pay for a sex change operation.
Stevens, who's serving 50-years-to-life for shooting to death a woman in a dispute over clothing, argued that hormone treatments alone are inadequate for her situation. She also looked forward to being placed in a woman's prison once her penis was removed. Stevens said she's under constant threat of sexual assault in the men's prison where she's currently housed, even though she has a cell to herself. "She has not been outside in over a year because she is not safe out on the yard, and she has to be very careful about when she showers," said her attorney. (Read more California stories.)