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LGBT advocates urge Eleventh Circuit to uphold lower court ruling to provide medical care to transgender woman in Florida prison

TALLAHASSEE — Late Wednesday, eleven LGBT advocacy and legal services organizations filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit urging the court to uphold the district court ruling in a case brought by The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the ACLU of Florida, and global law firm DLA Piper LLP on behalf of Reiyn Keohane, a transgender woman incarcerated in a Miami prison who was denied medically necessary care by the Florida Department of Corrections (DOC).

Last August, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida ruled that it was medically necessary for the DOC to continue Ms. Keohane’s hormone therapy and to provide her the ability to socially transition in prison, in that she must be permitted access to the same clothing and grooming standards as other incarcerated women.

In the friend-of-the-court brief filed , LGBT advocates argue that the Eleventh Circuit should affirm the lower court ruling that the Florida Department of Corrections “freeze-frame policy” that denied Ms. Keohane’s medically necessary treatment violates the Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment. The brief explains that being able to live in accord with one’s gender identity is medically necessary for transgender people, as recognized by many other courts and by the medical community, including the American Medical Association and World Professional Association for Transgender Health. The brief elevates the voices and experiences of transgender men like Ky Peterson and transgender women like Ashley Diamond, Jessica Hicklin, and Zahara Green all who suffered because they were denied the ability to socially transition in prison. The brief also notes that the Federal Bureau of Prisons and at least 20 state Departments of Corrections’ policies recognize social transition as medically necessary treatment for gender dysphoria.

The friend-of-the-court brief includes: Lambda Legal, Center for Constitutional Rights, Black and Pink, Florida Institutional Legal Services Project of Florida Legal Services, Freedom Overground Corp., GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders, The National Center for Lesbian Rights, The National Center for Transgender Equality, Southern Poverty Law Center, TRANScending Barriers, The Transgender Law Center.

Read the brief here: https://www.lambdalegal.org/in-court/legal-docs/keohane_fl_20190110_amicus-brief

Press release from Lambda Legal

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