The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit Thursday against the North Carolina Department of Public Safety, alleging that the department violated the rights of a transgender inmate by denying her access to gender reassignment surgery, according to a news release.
The complaint, filed by the ACLU of North Carolina and Patterson Harkavy LLP on behalf of Kanautica Zayre-Brown, asserts that the transgender woman is being denied "essential gender-affirming health care" at the women-only Anson Correctional Institution in Polkton, North Carolina, where she was transferred in 2019 after spending nearly two years in male facilities.
The release states that after Zayre-Brown's official gender dysphoria diagnosis, the denial of the procedure has resulted in "physical health complications and extreme emotional and psychological distress, leading to thoughts of self-harm and suicide."
"Mrs. Zayre-Brown has a serious medical condition that DPS's own health care providers have recognized requires treatment including gender-affirming surgery. But DPS continues to ignore its constitutional obligation to provide this medically necessary care simply because she is a transgender woman," argued Jaclyn Maffetore, staff attorney with the ACLU of North Carolina.
"DPS's denial of treatment is not only discriminatory — it is inhumane. By refusing to treat her gender dysphoria, DPS subjects Mrs. Zayre-Brown to needless suffering and places her life at risk."
The lawsuit argues that the department's refusal to treat Zayre-Brown's gender dysphoria violates her state and federal constitutional rights, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
Besides damages, the group also seeks an injunction requiring the department to provide Zayre-Brown with several accommodations, including using her new name and pronouns and allowing her to receive hormone therapy and gender reassignment surgery.
"The North Carolina Department of Public Safety has a duty of care that must be exercised in the case of Mrs. Zayre-Brown," said Kendra R. Johnson, executive director of Equality North Carolina.
"DPS's denial of required medical care is a continual and prolonged denial of her basic human rights and dignity," Johnson added.
© 2023 Newsmax. All rights reserved.