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After ‘attempted self-castration,’ transgender inmate wins case against state

A federal judge in Tallahassee has ruled in favor of a transgender inmate who sued the Department of Corrections two years ago for denying her “hormone therapy and other medically necessary treatment.”

Reiyn Keohane is currently incarcerated at the Walton Correctional Institution, according to a press release from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Florida, which represented her. 

The  61-page ruling, by Chief U.S. District Judge Mark Walker of north Florida, holds that it is “medically necessary for Keohane to be able to socially transition in prison, (and) she must be permitted access to the same clothing and grooming standards as other female inmates.”

The DOC “will no longer be able to subject her to forced buzz cuts or confiscate her bras and underpants,” ACLU of Florida staff attorney Daniel Tilley said. “And her hormone therapy will continue. Today is a great day for our client, and we celebrate with her.”

In his original 2016 filing, Tilley said Keohane had been so distraught, she mutilated her own still-male genitals in an “attempted self-castration,” the complaint said.

After filing suit, the department began providing her with hormone therapy, but it refused to let her dress and groom as a woman, as other female inmates can, the release said. 

Prior to entering custody in July 2014, Keohane – now 24 – had been living as a woman for several years and had changed her name and begun hormone therapy.

Keohane (DOC photo)

Keohane made clear to DOC officials that she needed to “continue her treatment for her gender dysphoria, which included both hormone therapy and the ability to groom and dress consistent with her female gender identity.”

“DOC staff told her that she would never receive hormone therapy while incarcerated; her female clothing items were confiscated; her hair was forcibly shaved; and her numerous grievances were rejected,” the release said.

The department “provides constitutionally mandated health care to all inmates in our custody, to include any treatment deemed medically necessary by a doctor,” said Michelle Glady, DOC spokeswoman. “We are in receipt of the judge’s order and will thoroughly review.”

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Keohane was sentenced to 15 years on an attempted second-degree murder charge, according to DOC records. Fort Myers police arrested Keohane after she reportedly stabbed her roommate in the throat, according to a September 2013 story by NBC affiilate WBBH.

DOC records, which say her current release date is March 2028, still list Keohane as “male.”

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