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9th Circuit Court: Idaho Transgender Inmate Adree Edmo Must Receive Sex Reassignment Surgery


In December 2018, U.S. District Court Judge B. Lynn Winmill wrote that all Americans should have access to the rule of law, regardless of their race, sex, economic status or, "as in this case, transgender."

The case in question was that of Adree Edmo, a transgender Idaho inmate who has until now been denied sex reassignment surgery by the state, and whose case has proceeded through the court system, attracting nationwide attention. On Aug. 23, she came one step closer to getting that surgery, when the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a district court ruling that the State of Idaho refusing Edmo sex reassignment violated her Eighth Amendment right to freedom from cruel and unusual punishment.

"...the record shows that the medically necessary treatment for a prisoner’s gender dysphoria is gender confirmation surgery, and responsible prison officials deny such treatment with full awareness of the prisoner’s suffering, those officials violate the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment," wrote the appellate court in its decision.

Edmo has been in prison since 2012 for having sexual contact with a minor. In prison, her gender dysphoria has been treated with hormone therapies, but the state has consistently refused to conduct a surgical procedure that would change her sex, and in 2015, she attempted auto-castration.

Her attorneys have argued that denying her the surgery is a denial of essential medical care, and in its opinion, the appellate court agreed.

The case has also garnered attention from the office of Gov. Brad Little, who has said the surgery is an unnecessary use of taxpayer dollars. In an Aug. 23 statement, he wrote that he would appeal the case to the U.S. Supreme Court:

"The court’s decision is extremely disappointing. The hardworking taxpayers of Idaho should not be forced to pay for a convicted sex offender’s gender reassignment surgery when it is contrary to the medical opinions of the treating physician and multiple mental health professionals. I intend to appeal this decision to the U.S Supreme Court. We cannot divert critical public dollars away from the higher priorities of keeping the public safe and rehabilitating offenders.”