Disgusted by her male genitalia, transgender inmate tried to remove her testicles using razor blade
Adree Edmo, 31, became the first Idaho inmate to have received gender confirmation surgery while in Idaho Department of Correction custody on Thursday
A federal judge has ordered Idaho to provide gender confirmation surgery to a transgender inmate who has continuously been kept in a men's prison. Barring any appeals, the ruling is going to allow Adree Edmo, 31, to become the first Idaho inmate to have received gender confirmation surgery while in Idaho Department of Correction (IDOC) custody. On Thursday, Judge B Lynn Winmill handed down the ruling in Idaho's US District Court. Winmill also shared that the Idaho Department of Correction and Corizon's refusal to provide the inmate with surgery could put her at risk of irreparable harm.
"For more than forty years, the Supreme Court has consistently held that consciously ignoring a prisoner's serious medical needs amounts to cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment," Judge B. Lynn Winmill wrote in his ruling issued on Thursday, Daily Mail reported. Winmill also found that Edmo showed serious medical need and that, if they refused to treat her medical condition, it could lead to further injury or immense pain.
Federal judge orders Idaho Dept of Corrections to provide gender confirmation surgery, "which is considered medically necessary under generally accepted standards of care" for #transgender inmate: https://t.co/JcGeo7fJG8 @NCLRights statement here: https://t.co/yVNMeQEthX pic.twitter.com/p0RWc0vFZA— Equality Case Files (@EQCF) December 14, 2018
She also showed that prison authorities had failed to respond to her pain and medical needs, which had led to her suffering further harm, including a suicide attempt back in 2014. "Right now, the state has six months to provide Edmo with surgery that will restructure her anatomically to match her gender identity. In the recent future, IDOC will also be addressing some of the issues that the ruling has managed to raise — including whether it will appeal or where Edmo is to be housed once she has undergone surgery," said Idaho Department of Correction spokesman Jeff Ray.
The ruling also stated that as of now, there are 30 inmates with gender dysphoria in state custody. "I hope that this makes clear to IDOC and also to prison systems around the country that they can't deny medically necessary care to transgender prisoners - that is a requirement under our constitution," said Amy Whelan, an attorney with the National Center for Lesbian Rights, which represented Edmo in the lawsuit. "They need to start evaluating people appropriately, and providing care to them."
#BREAKING: Important NCLR win! Federal court orders prison to provide medically urgent gender confirmation surgery to #Idaho #transgender woman. Read more: https://t.co/FKwE7DzC0d pic.twitter.com/uWMTwaEbEL— National Center for Lesbian Rights (@NCLRights) December 14, 2018
While not all transgender people have gender dysphoria, for some of them, this condition of not identifying with the gender that one was assigned at birth, is so severe that it impairs their ability to function and can be addressed only through surgery. As for Edmo, she was diagnosed with dysphoria in June 2012, just two months after being sentenced for sexual abuse of a child under 16. She will be released in 2021, but her stay in the prison has been rough.
She lived as a woman prior to her imprisonment and had already undergone treatment for her dysphoria, including long-term hormone therapy. She has even tried presenting herself as a woman at the prison, by modifying her undergarments and styling her hair and makeup accordingly. But she was given disciplinary reports for that and eventually denied parole, states the lawsuit.
Edmo's dysphoria causes her to feel depressed, embarrassed and disgusted by her male genitalia. Her condition is so severe that in 2015, she had even tried to remove her testicles using a disposable razor blade.
Being unsuccessful that time, she attempted a second time the next year after thorough research on the self-castration procedure. Se had even managed to remove one of her testicles but then began losing too much blood and had to call for help. She was then transported to a nearby hospital where the testicle was repaired.
"I think the thing that makes this case so important is that this is a procedure that is necessary for some transgender inmates, and in fact is lifesaving care, but it's almost universally denied and banned by prisons across the country," Whelan said. "There is no state that I'm aware of that has ever provided the surgery without being ordered by a court to do so." Winmill also mentioned that Corizon, the Brentwood, Tennessee-based private company which handles medical care for inmates in 22 states, including Idaho, has never provided gender confirmation surgery at any of its facilities in the United States.