Bench Memos

The Slippery Slope of Transgender Prisoner Rights

Readers who have been following my Bench Memos posts regarding transgender prisoner rights, or my recent article in The American Spectator, “The Delusion of Transgender Prisoner Rights,” may think my “canary in the coal mine” rhetoric was hyperbolic. No, it turns out to be understated. In a matter of months, the State of California has gone from strenuously resisting convicted murderer Jeffrey Norsworthy’s demand for a taxpayer-funded sex-change operation, to paroling him so that Judge Jon Tigar’s ruling in Norsworthy v. Beard (compelling such an operation “as promptly as possible”) would be moot, to agreeing to provide a sex-change operation to another convicted murderer, Rodney Quine (in settlement of his Eighth Amendment lawsuit demanding such a procedure), to announcing a new policy that will make all transgender inmates in California state prisons (375 male prisoners and 26 female prisoners are currently receiving “hormone therapy” for “gender dysphoria”) eligible for state-funded sex-reassignment surgery (estimated to cost $100,000 apiece) if they meet certain basic criteria.

Flor Bermudez, a lawyer at the Oakland-based Transgender Law Center, called the new policy “a great victory for transgender people across the country,” and proclaimed “I think it’s a model that other jurisdictions can follow.” Heaven help us.

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