A transgender inmate filed a lawsuit against the Virginia Department of Corrections, claiming he is being denied gender dysphoria treatment.
Jason Yoakam, a 42-year-old convicted of first-degree murder in 2004, claimed he is facing cruel and unusual punishment because of his lack of access to surgery to remove his breasts in a lawsuit filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia.
Yoakam, who is serving out his sentence at the Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women, claims in the complaint filed by LGBT advocacy group Lambda Legal he was diagnosed with gender dysphoria four years ago and said medical providers have not provided him with mental health treatment or "gender-confirming" chest surgery.
The prison issued Yoakam a "chest binder" to compress his chest, but his lawsuit said he suffered from depression, anxiety, panic attacks, and sleep disturbances because he was denied the surgery. Yoakam has been on hormone therapy since 2017, according to the complaint. The prison decided a mastectomy procedure was “elective and not medically necessary.”
The complaint says the prison violated the 8th Amendment’s prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment, the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment, and other claims.
“He has considered self-treatment by removing some of his female identifiers, such as his breasts,” but has not done so “only from the hope that one day this nightmare he has endured of being in the wrong body will be corrected," the suit said.
The suit also noted the prison does not have a policy requiring correctional staff to use preferred pronouns of inmates.
The correctional center and defendants listed in the suit did not immediately comment on the lawsuit, according to multiple reports.
Yoakam said in a statement he “has been traumatizing, isolating, and stigmatizing to be denied health care services to treat the gender dysphoria that [Virginia’s] own providers have diagnosed."
“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,” the statement continued.
Washington Examiner Videos
Original Author: Matthew Miller