Michelle Teasdale, DNP, APRN, FNP-C
I recently attended the National Commission on Correctional Health Care (NCCHC) conference in Las Vegas. One topic of discussion was transgender healthcare and housing recommendations in corrections. After the conference, I talked with medical providers and correctional employees about a few discussion points covered during the presentation. I received a variety of opinions on the topic. I have listed some of those discussion points and would like to know your thoughts.
1- Transgender individuals should be addressed by their chosen names (not their legal names) and correct pronouns. Should staff at the correctional facility be subject to legal or institutional repercussions if they do not comply with the inmate’s request? Why or why not?
2- Transgender inmates should be housed in areas of the same gender they identify without segregation or isolation from other inmates. Do you agree?
3- Suppose an inmate is incarcerated for a long period of time and during the incarceration, now identifies as transgender. Do you believe it should be the correctional facility’s responsibility to diagnose the individual with gender dysphoria, if it applies, and begin treatment? Do you foresee any legal challenges associated with such a change?
4- There have been some correctional facilities that have paid for gender reassignment surgery. Should this treatment be an option for all transgender individuals who meet surgical requirements while incarcerated? Should federal/community funding be used to directly pay for such services?