A woman in California has become the first U.S. inmate to receive state-funded reassignment surgery. The California Department of Corrections agreed to pay for Shiloh Heavenly Quine’s surgery in 2015 following lawsuits involving her and another inmate.
“For too long, institutions have ignored doctors and casually dismissed medically necessary and life-saving care for transgender people just because of who we are,” Kris Hayashi, executive director of the Transgender Law Center, told the Associated Press. The center provides legal representation to Quine and other transgender inmates. Quine was convicted of first-degree murder, kidnapping and robbery.
She’s reportedly tried to take her own life five times in prison. “After so many years of almost giving up on myself, I will finally be liberated from the prison within a prison I felt trapped in, and feel whole, both as a woman and as a human being,” Quine said after the California Department of Corrections changed its policy and agreed to pay for her reassignment surgery.
Once she recovers, Quine will be moved to women’s facility according to her attorneys. Quine’s victory paves the way for other inmates in California to seek state-funded reassignment surgery and access the care they need.