The state of California will appeal an order to provide gender reassignment surgery to a convicted murderer serving a life term.
A judge on the federal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled earlier this month that denying the procedure to Michelle-Lael Norsworthy would violate her constitutional rights. Judge Jon Tigar said Norsworthy suffers from gender dysphoria – or dissatisfaction with her life because she is a woman living in man’s body. He says the only adequate treatment is surgery.
The 51-year-old inmate – who was born Jeffrey Norsworthy – has been behind bars for nearly 20 years on a second-degree murder conviction, currently at Mule Creek Prison, north of Sacramento. She’s getting legal help from the Oakland-based Transgender Law Center, which says that no one should be denied the medical care they need.
State officials contend the surgery could cost taxpayers as much as $100,000.