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Incarcerated transgender man convicted of first-degree murder sues over breast removal surgery denial

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Jason Yoakam, a transgender individual convicted of first-degree murder being held at the Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women in Troy, Virginia, has lodged a complaint against the Virginia Department of Corrections (VADOC) for denying surgery and other treatment related to gender dysphoria, according to court documents, NBC News has reported.

"The complaint lists 10 defendants, including Harold Clarke, director of the Virginia Department of Corrections; Mariea LeFevers, warden of the Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women; and other mental health providers for the department," according to the outlet.

The suit was brought by Lambda Legal, according to NBC News, which also noted that the convict was diagnosed with gender dysphoria by VADOC medical providers several years ago in 2017.

According to the outlet, the complaint states that early on in life Yoakam "saw himself as a boy and could not understand why people would see him as a girl." Yoakam had lived as a man prior to being incarcerated.

"This is about health care," Richard Saenz, a senior attorney at Lambda Legal who is representing the individual, said, according to the outlet. "Mr. Yoakam and other incarcerated people have a right to health care under the Constitution, and here the Virginia Department of Corrections is not providing him with the medical care that his doctors have deemed medically necessary for him."

Medical providers have declined to supply Yoakam mental health services from qualified providers and breast removal surgery, the complaint notes, according to the outlet.

"The only thing I am asking is to be treated fairly and have access to the same standard of healthcare that other incarcerated people receive," Yoakam declared in a statement, according to the outlet. "It has been traumatizing, isolating, and stigmatizing to be denied health care services to treat the gender dysphoria that VDOC's own providers have diagnosed."

Following the diagnosis Yoakam started hormone therapy and was given a chest binder, NBC News reported, citing the complaint, which also notes that the binder has lead to multiple health issues.

"Since he was issued a binder in FCCW, Mr. Yoakam keeps his binder on throughout all hours of the day, except when he must shower," the complaint says, according to the outlet. "He sleeps in his binder. As noted in his medical records, the binder sometimes is so tight that it cuts into Mr. Yoakam's skin and causes him to bleed. He has also developed scars, rashes, and acne from the binder. These injuries have also led to infections from the binder. Unless he receives chest surgery, Mr. Yoakam will have to continue to use the binder and suffer the resulting injuries."

"Defendants knew that denying Mr. Yoakam chest surgery placed him at a substantial risk of serious harm including depression, anxiety, mental impairment, physical self-harm, and suicide, and future harm as his condition worsened," the complaint states.

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