56-year-old trans woman, who had been socially, medically and legally recognized as female prior to being placed in male prison, claims she was abused by male inmates and was denied surgery, lawsuit

A 56-year-old trans woman, who had been socially, medically and legally recognized as woman years before she was placed in a male prison, claims that she was abused by the male inmates during her stay in the prison and she was denied geni*al surgery. The trans woman, who is serving a sentence until 2024 for a felony drug offense, in the lawsuit claims she was discriminated and seeks no less than $50,000 in financial compensation and asks to be treated as a woman and transferred from the men-only correctional facility.

Per the Fox News, that was among the first that reported about the case, the 56-year-old C. Lusk claims in the lawsuit that she has been “socially, medically, and legally” female but alleges the DOC has failed to recognize it. Lusk came out as transgender 14 years ago, started human therapy, and legally changed her name in 2018. A year later, Lusk pleaded guilty to a felony drug possession charge and she was sentenced to 5 years in prison. Even though she defines herself as a woman, she was placed in men-only correctional facility.

Since she was jailed in 2019, Lusk claims she has been a victim of abuse by the male inmates. Per the lawsuit, the trans woman ‘has been unlawfully locked’ in in a cell with several other male inmates, and she was constantly feeling unsafe in that environment because she was allegedly a victim of constant harassment and violence.

The lawsuit, filed on Lusk’s behalf by the advocacy group Gender Justice, named the Minn. Department of Corrections (DOC), as well as Commissioner Paul Schnell, Deputy Commissioner Michelle Smith and Medical Director James Amsterdam. Schnell, Smith, and Amsterdam serve on the DOC’s transgender committee, which hears requests from transgender prisoners in the state who want to transfer facilities.

The lawsuit further explains that Lusk had undergone a ‘top surgery’ before she was jailed, and she was about to undergo a vaginoplasty surgery, but she failed to schedule a surgery because she was meanwhile arrested and jailed. Shortly after she was arrested in 2019, she requested to undergo a geni*al surgery, but the DOC medical director Amsterdam, has denied her request noting that she “could pursue that after release.”

“I have been diagnosed with severe Gender Dysphoria. I have attempted suicide four times due to my severe distress caused by my GD as well as self-mutilation. My mental capacity is under control, and I am able to make good decisions as far as surgery. I have letters of support from my primary physician, my gender specialist, my therapist, as well as my psychiatrist, only two letters are required for surgery but I go up and beyond what is required,” Lusk wrote in the complaint according to the Daily Mail.

Per the lawsuit, not recognizing Lusk as a female and therefore placing her in men-only correctional facility is unconstitutional and a clear violation of her human rights. In addition, Lusk in the lawsuit says she was placed in cell with seven other male inmates, she was constantly called by her original male name by the prison staff and was forced to use the bathroom with male inmates. The MDC didn’t directly comment on the lawsuit, but said in a statement that it’s ‘committed to ensuring the safety and well-being’ of transgender people.

The attorney that represents Lusk, Rebecca Bact, said her firm is assisting Lusk because she “deserves proper housing, healthcare and a dignified existence free from discrimination.”

Cindy Carey


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