Marius Mason is believed to be the first person approved to begin hormone therapy transition from female to male in the federal prison system, reports McClatchy Newspapers. Mason, 52, who is serving a 22-year prison sentence for arson, will begin taking drugs to initiate the biological transition. Mason’s lawyer, Moira Meltzer-Cohen, said he has been “waiting for this for a long time” in his Texas prison. “He understands that his patience will benefit other transgender folks in custody,” Meltzer-Cohen said.
Mason is not the first transgender inmate to protest treatment. Discrimination is common in prisons and jails, with transgender inmates reporting sexual assaults, abuse, and unsafe conditions as a result of their sexual orientation. States have varying policies when it comes to housing prisoners according to their birth gender or the gender with which they identify. Advocates say placing an inmate in the wrong environment puts them at risk. Mason is one of a recent few federal prisoners to get requested therapy approved. His lawyer said he does want full reassignment surgery, but he has to take hormones for at least a year before he will be reassessed. Last year, California became the first state to provide sex-reassignment surgery to inmates.