Accessing Gender-Affirming Health Care in Prison

by Mrs. Ge Ge

From PHN Issue 28, Spring 2016

Hello friends,

My name is Mrs. Ge Ge. I am a trans woman incarcerated in PA. I am also the founder of an LGBT+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender–plus) organization called L.I.G.H.T. We aim to educate readers about DOC policies that protect them, laws, health and politics. We use this information to strengthen our ability to fight the prison industrial complex, by using its own policies against it. I am writing simply to spread some knowledge on how to get gender affirming health care in prison. There are several useful tools you can use to accomplish this. I will list some addresses at the end of this article.

  • Find any and all policies regarding transgender and intersex people in prison. You should be able to find this by writing to staff, checking out the law library, or by requesting it through the records department in your facility.
  • You should write to the AIDS Library (see address on p.14) and request the ACLU’s “Know Your Rights” toolkit for transgender people in prison, and the ACLU’s “End the Abuse: Protecting LGBTI Prisoners from Sexual Assault” toolkit. These toolkits have priceless info on how to get treatment for gender dysphoria (GD). This will help you force the prison industrial complex to comply with your constitutional rights to health care.
  • Next you will need to get medical to evaluate you and diagnose you with GD. This may be time-consuming. That’s why I suggest you refer to Battista 645 in the law library. I used Battista, 645 F.3d at 455 in my fight. It worked, and now I am on hormone replacement therapy.
  • If they try to say that you don’t have gender dysphoria, you should file a grievance and ask that you be given a second opinion. Also, check out the DSM-V (psychiatric diagnosis manual), which should be available in the library. Look for gender identity disorder or gender dysphoria. You can use this info in your grievance.
  • It would also be helpful to write to outside organizations for help. Keep extra copies of all your paperwork, and send them out to people or organizations that will support you.
  • Once you have been diagnosed with GD, you will then need to see a doctor for treatment. The doctor will probably recommend and prescribe you with hormone replacement therapy (HRT). So, now you have begun your transition. Enjoy!
  • Be sure to keep a lookout for changes in policies that may affect you.
  • Lastly, be sure to educate yourself on the effects of hormone replacement therapy and any medications you are on. You should always know what goes into your body.

Love you all!

Sincerely,

Mrs. Ge Ge and L.I.G.H.T.

Lambda Legal National Headquarters
120 Wall Street, 19th Floor
New York, NY  10005

212-809-8585 or 866-542-8336

http://www.lambdalegal.org

They may take a while to respond to mail, because they are busy helping many people.

ACLU National Prison Project

915 15th Street, NW, 7th Floor

Washington, DC 20005

202-393-4930

http://www.aclu.org

If you have a friend or loved one outside, they can print toolkits and information from the website. The ACLU doesn’t respond to mail unless your situation will make a major class action lawsuit.

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