Public Safety & Justice

A Nation's First, California Pays for Prisoner's Gender Reassignment Surgery

January 10, 2017

A transgender California prison inmate who was born male but identifies as female underwent gender-reassignment surgery paid for by the state this week in what is believed to be the first such case in the United States, her attorneys said Friday.

The state had promised to refer inmate Shiloh Quine, then 56, to a surgeon and pay for the procedure as part of a 2015 settlement making the state the first in the United States to offer inmates a regular path to such treatment.

Quine, who is serving a term of life without the possibility of parole after convictions in 1981 for murder, kidnapping and robbery, had the surgery on Thursday, said Jill Marcellus, a spokeswoman for the Transgender Law Center, which negotiated the settlement.

Under its terms, the state agreed to allow inmates who are transgender or have gender dysphoria access to clothing, toiletries and other items consistent with their gender identities. For those like Shiloh whose doctors agree that surgery is medically appropriate, the state will pay for the procedure. The cost was not specified.

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