A California judge has ordered the state to grant a transgender inmate's sex reassignment surgery, a first in state history, the Washington Post reports. The judge said the procedure is the “only adequate” treatment for her condition. Michelle-Lael Norsworthy, 51, was born as Jeffrey Bryan Norsworthy. In the 1990s, she started living as a woman in state prison and was later diagnosed with severe gender dysphoria, a condition in which people identify with a different gender from the one they were born with.
U.S. District Court Judge Jon Tigar in San Francisco said yesterday that the department denied her request for sex reassignment surgery likely because it has a policy against approving it as a treatment for transgender inmates. He granted a preliminary injunction, telling the prison system to let her have the operation “as promptly as possible.” It may be only the second such judicial decision in the U.S., Ilona Turner of the Transgender Law Center told the Associated Press. In 2012, a federal judge ordered the Massachusetts Department of Corrections to provide the procedure for a transgender inmate. The 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the ruling last year and the inmate's attorneys hve asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review it.