Judge orders prison office to perform sex reassignment surgery on transgender inmate

An Illinois judge set a new precedent this week when she ordered the Federal Bureau of Prisons to order sex reassignment surgery for a transgender prisoner.

Judge Nancy Rosenstengel of the US District Court for the Southern District of Illinois ruled Monday that the BOP must find a qualified surgeon to perform a vaginoplasty on inmate Cristina Nichole Iglesias, a gender dysphoric man who identifies as a woman.

Iglesias, who is serving a 20-year sentence for threatening the UK government with weapons of mass destruction, has been fighting in court for the right to have a sex change for several years.

“I’m confident that I’m finally getting the care I need to live my life like the woman I am,” Iglesias said in a Explanation. “BOP has denied me gender-affirming surgery for years — and keeps coming up with new excuses and new obstacles in my path. I am grateful that the court recognized the urgency of my case and urged BOP to act.”

In December, the court ordered the BOP’s Transgender Executive Council to make a recommendation on the operation. The council missed the court’s deadline and made only a recommendation that Iglesias should proceed with the sex change operation, having included several conditions, including good behavior.

During that time and to date, Iglesias has not undergone surgery.

rose stem called BOP played a game of “whack-a-mole” with the prisoner, unduly delaying the operation. She ordered the bureau to “show reason why it should not be despised” for violating the court’s previous orders.

The Illinois ACLU hailed Rosenstengel’s ruling as a major victory for transgender rights and for more than 1,200 transgender prisoners in federal custody.

“For years Cristina has fought to receive the health care required by the Constitution. The court order makes it clear that she now requires gender reassignment surgery and that BOP cannot justify its failure to provide this medically necessary care,” said attorney Joshua Blecher-Cohen. “We hope this landmark decision will help secure long-overdue medical care for Cristina — and for the many other transgender individuals in federal custody who have been denied gender-affirming care.”

Iglesias has been in federal custody for 28 years and is currently residing in a BOP boarding school in Florida. Lawyers for Iglesias say BOP was aware that he was identifying himself as a woman he took into federal custody in 1994.

“She has since been denied basic medical care to treat her gender dysphoria and has been housed in men’s facilities for more than two decades, where she experienced severe physical and sexual violence,” the ACLU said. “In May 2021, this lawsuit resulted in Ms. Iglesias being one of the few transgender people ever to be transferred to a federal prison that matches her gender. Ms. Iglesias has been seeking gender-affirming surgery since at least January 2016.”

Iglesias will be the first federal prisoner to receive sex reassignment surgery while in custody, opening the door for others.

https://www.theblaze.com/news/judge-orders-prison-bureau-to-get-sex-change-operation-for-transgender-inmate Judge orders prison office to perform sex reassignment surgery on transgender inmate

Laura Coffey

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