DOJ files lawsuit against Utah Dep. of Corrections for discrimination based on gender dysphoria

Apr 2, 2024, 3:30 PM | Updated: 5:18 pm

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The Utah Department of Corrections granted the KSL Investigators unprecedented access to Utah's new prison in January 2024. (Ken Fall, KSL TV)

(Ken Fall, KSL TV)

SALT LAKE CITY — On Tuesday, the Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against the Utah Department of Corrections after concluding that the state violated the rights of an incarcerated transgender woman.

The DOJ claims that the State of Utah, UDOC, and the Utah Department of Health and Human Services violated the Americans with Disabilities Act after discriminating against an incarcerated transgender woman based on her disability, gender dysphoria.

“The department’s complaint alleges that the UDOC failed to provide the complainant equal access to health care services after she repeatedly requested hormone therapy, and also failed to make reasonable modifications to its policies and practices to treat her gender dysphoria,” the DOJ press release stated.

The DOJ alleges that the UDOC also denied the complainant’s requests, including purchasing female clothing, modifying pat search policies, and housing requests.

According to the lawsuit, these requests began in Septemeber 2021 and continued until May 2023 until the complainant “performed dangerous self-surgery and removed her own testicles, resulting in hospitalization and additional surgery.”

In the lawsuit, the DOJ is requesting the defendants adopt or revise their policies for people with gender dysphoria who are incarcerated at UDOC.

According to DOJ, gender dysphoria is a medical condition “marked by clinically significant distress caused by an incongruence between the sex an individual is assigned at birth and their gender identity.”

The Utah Department of Corrections declined to provide a new comment on the lawsuit because it pending litigation.

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DOJ files lawsuit against Utah Dep. of Corrections for discrimination based on gender dysphoria