On May 20th, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit affirmed a federal district court ruling ordering Massachusetts officials to provide hormone therapy and gender-appropriate clothing for a transgender detainee at the state’s Treatment Center for Sexually Dangerous Persons.
The Plaintiff in the action, born David Megarry, is now named Sandy Battista. After serving most of a 20-year sentence for the rape of a child, robbery and kidnapping, Battista was involuntarily committed to the Treatment Center for Sexually Dangerous Persons. The length of that commitment is undetermined and release hinges upon Battista being able to prove she is safe to rejoin the civilian population.
Battista sought treatment from prison officials for her gender identity disorder as early as 1996 but her requests were met with skepticism and resistance. Other psychiatric professionals did validate her disorder and recommended hormone therapy, which was not provided to her due to safety concerns. Battista is housed at an all-male facility and is sexually active.
Battista filed several lawsuits and ultimately attempted to castrate herself with a razor blade. It has been determined by the court that withholding medically necessary hormone therapy and gender-appropriate clothing is a constitutional violation.
Read the entire court opinion for Battista v. Clark here.
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copyright 2011 Irene C. Olszewski