A California appeals court ruled Wednesday that Lyralisa Stevens, a transgender inmate serving 50 years to life for murder at an all-male facility, is not entitled to a state-funded gender-reassignment surgery.
The 5-foot-6 Stevens, who was born male but has been living as a woman since 1993, said her feminized physique has caused her to be constantly harassed and repeatedly raped by fellow inmates since her 2003 incarceration.
While the justices of the First District Court of Appeal in San Francisco did not explain why they had dismissed the lawsuit, they did say Stevens was being adequately protected with her assignment to a single cell away from the prison population. In the event that her safety is "otherwise compromised," they said, she is free to petition for additional relief.
Stevens’s court-appointed attorney, Alison Hardy, expressed her disappointment with the court’s decision, saying "It is difficult to understand how this state can defend allowing a person who in every respect presents to the world as a female to be placed in a situation where she is constantly in danger."
Hardy said she did not yet know if her client would take the case to the California Supreme Court.
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