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Biden's DOJ sues Utah DOC for disability discrimination after prisoner castrates himself
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Biden's DOJ sues Utah DOC for disability discrimination after prisoner castrates himself

The Department of Justice under the Biden administration has filed a civil rights lawsuit against the state of Utah and its Department of Corrections after a male prisoner who claims to be a woman surgically removed his testicles because his so-called "gender affirming" care had allegedly been denied or delayed.

The case relates to an unnamed Utah inmate who has been incarcerated since July 2021 for an unknown conviction. Though "a visual search of genitals" led prison officials to place the inmate in a men's prison, the inmate had allegedly already been suffering from "symptoms of gender dysphoria for many years," said a DOJ letter of findings released last month.

A formal diagnosis of gender dysphoria — which the DOJ argued is a disability covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act — was not made by a Utah DOC psychologist until June 2022 even though the inmate had been requesting gender-related medical intervention, including cross-sex hormones, since the previous September. When the hormones were eventually given, they were not done so "safely or effectively," the lawsuit claimed.

The inmate was also denied other "reasonable modifications" to UDOC's policies and practices, the DOJ claimed. According to the DOJ, those "reasonable modifications" include placement in a women's facility, the ability to purchase women's undergarments such as bras and panties at the commissary, and to be patted down or searched by a female rather than a male guard.

Finally, gender-related issues prevented the inmate from completing UDOC programs that would have helped him reduce his sentence, the lawsuit claimed.

Refusals to make these accommodations further exacerbated the inmate's gender dysphoria during his incarceration, the DOJ alleged. "By not allowing me this opportunity to live my life as a woman, who I believe I am and have lived life for many years, the prison is causing me such mental stress in the form of anxiety, depression," the prisoner wrote in a grievance filed with the ADA.

That anxiety and stress eventually caused the inmate to take matters into his own hands, the lawsuit indicated: "In May 2023, Complainant performed dangerous self-surgery and removed her own testicles, resulting in hospitalization and additional surgery."

The lawsuit seeks compensation for the inmate "for injuries caused by the ADA violations," improved treatment for the inmate's gender dysphoria, and a revision of policies and procedures to prevent similar forms of discrimination against the inmate and other gender-dysphoric prisoners.

"All people with disabilities including those who are incarcerated are protected by the ADA and are entitled to reasonable modifications and equal access to medical care, and that basic right extends to those with gender dysphoria," said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. "The Civil Rights Division is committed to ensuring that jails and prisons throughout the country do not discriminate against people with disabilities, and that right includes people with gender dysphoria."

In response to the letter of findings last month, UDOC executive director Brian Redd claimed his agency was "blindsided" by the accusations listed in it. "We fundamentally disagree with the DOJ on key issues, and are disappointed with their approach," he added.

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Cortney Weil

Cortney Weil

Sr. Editor, News

Cortney Weil is a senior editor for Blaze News.
@cortneyweil →