Cross-gender hormones are provided to two Oklahoma inmates

The state Corrections Department provides cross-gender hormones to only two of the nearly 25,000 inmates serving time in Oklahoma prisons.
by Andrew Knittle Published: March 16, 2013
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“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.

by Andrew Knittle
Investigative Reporter
Andrew Knittle has covered state water issues, tribal concerns and major criminal proceedings during his career as an Oklahoma journalist. He has won reporting awards from the state's Associated Press bureau and prides himself on finding a real...
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