Transgender inmate sues Virginia prisons over surgery denial

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — A transgender man held at a women’s prison in Virginia is suing state prison officials after being denied breast removal surgery.

Jason Yoakam said in a federal lawsuit that the denial by the state Department of Corrections violates his constitutional protection against cruel and unusual punishment and his rights under the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that his treating endocrinologist and a transgender health specialist at the University of Virginia have said that chest surgery is a medically necessary treatment for his gender dysphoria.

State prison officials say the surgery is not medically necessary. Yoakam is serving sentences for murder, conspiracy to commit murder and a firearm offense.

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