Federal Carswell prisoner allowed to transition

Posted on 18 Aug 2016 at 1:09pm

mariusIn a decision by administrators at Federal Medical Center, Carswell, a federal correctional institution in Fort Worth for female inmates of all security levels with special medical and mental health needs, Marius Mason has been approved to begin hormone treatment for medical gender transition.

Mason, who was assigned female at birth, is an environmental activist, sentenced in 2009 to 22 years in federal prison for the 1999 sabotage of a Monsanto laboratory on the Michigan State University campus. He was diagnosed with Gender Identity Dysphoria around 2013, and came out as trans to friends, family and supporters in 2014. Since then he has been seeking gender-affirming health care, including hormone treatment, or “T” that will cause him to develop male secondary sex characteristics.

It is believed Mason will be the first FTM person to obtain transition-related health care after coming into federal custody.

Although he uses masculine pronouns and the name Marius, the state of Texas forbids name changes for incarcerated people. Experts in the treatment of trans people, however, insist that respect for a patient’s identity, including a gender-appropriate name and pronouns, constitute medically necessary care. Prisons are required to provide medically necessary care.

The Federal Bureau of Prisons has had a policy on the care of individuals with GID since at least 2011, but despite Mason’s 2013 GID diagnosis, it was not until an independent expert review medical records that administrators and staff at FMC Carswell agreed to administer hormone treatment. The facility is now much closer to compliance with federal policy on gender-affirming care, and it is hoped that they will acknowledge the use of gender-affirming names and pronouns as a medical necessity.

The decision of FMC Carswell to come into compliance with the Bureau of Prisons directive on GID promises to have positive effects for many other incarcerated trans persons.

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