A transgender inmate from Minnesota will be moved to a women’s prison and undergo a vaginoplasty procedure as part of a settlement agreement in a discrimination lawsuit against the Department of Corrections (DOC) in the state.
Christina Lusk, aged 57, is set to be transferred to the women’s facility in Shakopee next week.
He is the first inmate in Minnesota to be moved to another prison based on their gender identity.
As per reports from Fox 9, the settlement, announced last week, includes a financial compensation of $495,000 to be granted to Lusk, which includes approximately $250,000 in legal fees.
Alongside the monetary settlement, the Minnesota DOC has agreed to enhance its policies regarding transgender inmates, encompassing medical treatment and the ability of transgender or gender non-conforming individuals to seek a facility that aligns with their gender identity.
“Everybody needs to come together in unity and embrace positive change. I believe we have made a big step toward allowing people to express who they truly are, and bring some sort of peace and happiness to their lives,” Christina Lusk said in response to the settlement released by Gender Justice.
“This journey has brought extreme challenges, and I have endured so much. My hope is that nobody has to go through the same set of circumstances. I relied on my faith, and I never gave up hope. I can truly say that I am a strong, proud, transgender woman, and my name is Christina Lusk,” he added.
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After beginning cross-sex hormones in 2009, Lusk changed names in 2018 and was conferring with doctors about surgical options before getting arrested.
The inmate had undergone “top surgery” before going to jail, and was “on the verge of scheduling” a vaginoplasty, according to the lawsuit.
Lusk filed a grievance with the DOC after department medical director James Amsterdam reviewed Lusk’s case and determined that Lusk should not be allowed to receive genital surgery while incarcerated, but “could pursue that after release,” the lawsuit said.
The lawsuit, which was filed on Lusk’s behalf by the St. Paul-based advocacy group Gender Justice, alleged that Lusk was sexually abused by the male inmates at the Minnesota Correctional Facility in Moose Lake and demanded Lusk be treated as female and moved to a women’s facility.
“Inmates would heckle her, heckle her roommates… call her ‘it,’ that sort of thing,” Gender Justice legal director Jess Braverman said, according to FOX 9. “And then there were staff who would say things to her, such as, ‘You know, you’re a man in a men’s prison. I’m not going to treat you like a woman. I’m not going to use your proper name and pronouns.'”
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