California murderer granted state-funded sex change
August 10, 2015
A convicted murderer serving a life sentence in the California prison system will receive a taxpayer-funded sex change, a legal settlement indicates. [LA Times]
California has agreed to settle a federal lawsuit by granting Shiloh Quine, formerly Rodney Quine, a sex reassignment operation. The settlement marks the first time a state has agreed to pay for an inmate’s sex change.
The procedure will cost $15,000 to $25,000, according to Quine’s lawyers. Following a ruling in a similar case earlier this year, a spokeswoman for the state’s prison medical system said sex reassignment surgery could cost as much as $100,000.
Quine turned 56 on Friday, the day the state settled her case. Quine has been incarcerated since 1980 when she was convicted of first-degree murder, kidnapping and robbery in Los Angeles County.
She has repeatedly attempted suicide since entering the prison system.
Prison officials initially turned down her surgery request. But, the state’s expert concluded in June that Quine required the operation.
Clinical psychologist Richard Carroll, who is the director of the Sexual Disorders and Couple Therapy Program at Northwestern University in Chicago, said the operation would alleviate severe pain and reduce Quine’s depression, anxiety and risk of suicide.
The state conceded that Quine suffers severe gender dysphoria that can only be treated by conforming her body to her psychological gender. The department of corrections issued a brief statement explaining the state’s position:
“Every medical doctor and mental health clinician who has reviewed this case, including two independent mental health experts, determined that surgery is medically necessary for Quine”
The state granted Quine the sex change on the same day that Governor Jerry Brown granted parole to an inmate who was awarded a taxpayer-funded sex reassignment operation by a federal judge. By receiving parole, Michelle Norsworthy, formerly Jeffrey Norsworthy, lost out on her state-funded sex change.
But, Norsworthy’s case likely made it possible for Quine to be granted a sex change in prison. In April, U.S. District Court Judge Jon Tigar ruled in San Francisco that the state was violating Northworthy’s constitutional rights by refusing to provide her care for a serious medical need.
State attorneys were scheduled to challenge the ruling at an upcoming appellate court hearing. Following Northworthy’s parole and the settlement of Quine’s case, it remains unclear whether sex reassignment surgery is actually a constitutional right.
Critics say, in Quine’s case, California’ is granting something to a prisoner that is not available to the law-abiding public. Also, the case increases the likelihood that other inmates will request sex changes.
Nearly 400 transgender inmates in California are already receiving hormonal treatment, according to prison medical data.
If Quine receives the sex change, she will move to a women’s prison.