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Group urges Idaho to appeal transgender inmate’s surgery ruling

December 21, 2018

The Family Policy Alliance of Idaho is calling on the Idaho Department of Correction and Gov.-elect Brad Little to appeal a ruling from a federal judge ordering the department to provide gender confirmation surgery to a transgender Idaho inmate.

The Christian organization urged Idaho officials in a written statement Tuesday to file an appeal to the ruling, which U.S. District Court Judge B. Lynn Winmill handed down Thursday.

The order is part of a wider case filed by transgender inmate Adree Edmo, 31, against the Idaho Department of Correction.

Edmo, who was living as a woman before her 2012 incarceration for sexual abuse of a child, was diagnosed with gender dysphoria by a prison psychiatrist and a prison psychologist months after entering the system.

She received treatment for the disorder — defined as an intense dissonance between a person’s at-birth gender and their identified gender — but said her case was severe enough to warrant gender confirmation surgery, which is used to treat severe cases.

Winmill ruled in her favor Thursday, meaning she would be only the second inmate in the country to receive the surgery.

Yet in the written statement, John Paulton, director of advocacy for the Family Policy Alliance of Idaho, pointed out the surgery is “extremely costly — not just for the procedure, but for a lifetime of expensive care due to the body treating the operation site as a wound for the rest of a person’s life.”

“Idaho should stand against any attempt by a federal judge to force taxpayers in the Gem State to fund expensive and experimental surgeries for inmates,” Paulton wrote. “This judge’s ruling demonstrates a lack of true compassion for those struggling with gender dysphoria and a complete lack of respect for Idahoans.”

That ruling came after another decision from a U.S. District Court in March, in which a judge found an Idaho law banning any changes to a person’s gender listed on their birth certificate was unconstitutional.

It also came less than two months after Meridian became the 13th city in Idaho to establish protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Yet those developments stood in stark contrast to October rumors at the federal level that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is working for a legal definition of gender limited to a person’s at-birth biological traits.

Idaho Department of Correction officials have yet to say publicly if they will appeal the decision.

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