• June 10, 2010
    A transgender woman imprisoned by the federal government can pursue a constitutional challenge over denial of health care treatment, a U.S. District Court Judge has ruled. U.S. District Judge Joseph L. Tauro in rejecting the Federal Bureau of Prisons' (BOP) motion to dismiss Vanessa Adams' lawsuit, said that prison officials had repeatedly denied Adams' requests for treatment of gender identity disorder (GID) and that the treatment Adams has received does not render the case moot.

    Tauro wrote that prison officials "have not disavowed the policy they relied on for four years in support of their claim that Plaintiff was ineligible for hormone therapy because she was not receiving it at the time of her incarceration. Indeed, Defendants defend the policy and, for the purposes of litigation, take the position that the policy does allow the Medical Director to implement hormone treatment to those inmates who have not undergone such treatment prior to incarceration." Adams is being represented by Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), Florida Institutional Legal Services (FILS), the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) and Bingham McCuthchen LLP. In their lawsuit, the groups argue that BOP's continued rejection of medical treatment is cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment.

    Shannon Minter, NCLR legal director, lauded Tauro's June 7 ruling. "We're pleased that the judge recognized the inhumanity of the BOP policy, and that Vanessa will have her day in court," Minter said.