“They are denying me any kind of medical treatment at all for my serious medical need,” Darnell wrote in the suit. “I am a female not a male. I was just born in the wrong body.”
The inmate wrote that being denied hormone treatment “has changed me in ways I do not like.”
“It has deepened my voice to sound like a man,” Darnell wrote. “It puts me into a great depression and gives me anxiety attacks on a daily basis.”
Darnell's lawsuit is pending in federal court. He has no lawyer but recently asked a judge to appoint one to his case, records show.
Some states pay
Whether Darnell was receiving treatment before entering prison may not matter — if the court looks to rulings in similar cases.
In July 2007, a federal judge in Idaho ordered the state to provide hormone therapy to a male inmate who described himself as a woman trapped in a man's body.
Nearly three years later, a federal judge in Wisconsin struck down a state law that prohibited the use of taxpayer money to pay for inmates' hormone therapy. The decision was upheld by a federal appeals court judge.
More recently, a federal judge in Massachusetts ordered the state's prison system to pay for a gender reassignment operation for convicted murderer Michelle Kosilek, a decision the state has appealed.
It is thought to be the first time a judge has ordered the surgery as a remedy to gender identity disorder.