The state agreed to the procedure after its own expert testified in a federal lawsuit that surgery was medically necessary to prevent Shiloh Quine from suffering depression and anxiety.
Quine has been in prison for more than three decades. She went in as Rodney Quine after being convicted of murder and kidnapping in L.A. County, and she’s serving a life sentence with no chance of parole.
Quine suffers from gender dysphoria, which doctors say can be treated only be conforming one’s body to their psychological gender. The state corrections department says that every doctor and mental health expert who examined Quine determined that surgery was the only treatment that could spare her from a lifetime of distress. She’s reportedly attempted suicide several times.
The Corrections Department initially turned down Quine’s request for gender reassignment surgery, which led her to file a federal lawsuit against the state. Quine’s case was aided when a judge ruled in April that another transgender inmate – Michelle Norsworthy – was entitled to the surgery. The state got around that order just last week when Gov. Jerry Brown signed off on her parole.
Quine, by contrast, has no possibility of parole.
By agreeing to provide the surgery, the state avoids a possible legal judgment that could have established a constitutional right for transgender inmates seeking similar procedures.
Quine’s lawyer estimates the procedure will cost between $15,000 and 25,000.