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February 6, 2011

Today the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit heard oral arguments about the rights of transgender inmates in Wisconsin prisons. The ACLU, the ACLU of Wisconsin and Lambda Legal sued the state on behalf of transgender inmates, some of whom had been receiving hormone treatment in Wisconsin prisons for years. “The district court correctly struck down a discriminatory law that denied transgender people, and no one else, crucial care for a serious medical condition,” said John Knight, senior staff attorney with the ACLU Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Project. “We hope that the court of appeals affirms this ruling and recognizes that medical treatment decisions must be based on medical, rather than political, justifications.” In 2005, the state of Wisconsin passed a law that barred prison doctors from providing transgender inmates medically necessary hormone therapy or sex reassignment surgery while in state custody. The court case got media mentions in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, a blog of the Capitol Times and Common Dreams.

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