A transgender man in a Virginia women’s prison has sued the state for denying him breast removal surgery, the Associated Press reported.
Jason Yoakam claimed in the federal suit that he suffers from panic attacks, sleep and appetite disturbance, anxiety and depression due to his gender dysphoria while incarcerated.
“The only thing I am asking is to be treated fairly and have access to the same standard of health care that other incarcerated people receive,” said the 42-year-old Yoakam.
The lawsuit alleges that Virginia’s State Department of Corrections violated his 14th Amendment constitutional protections against cruel and unusual punishment, the Aug. 27 story reports. Yoakam also claimed he was denied mental health care.
He said he began binding his chest as a pre-teen, which has consistently caused him bleeding, scarring and pain.
Yoakam was diagnosed with gender dysphoria by the prison system in 2017 and is currently serving sentences for murder, conspiracy to commit murder and a firearm offense.
As part of his treatment while in prison, he received hormone therapy and continues to bind his own chest.
“Treatment decisions are made on a case-by-case basis,” said prisons spokesperson Lisa Kinney. “In addition to medical treatment, individual and group therapy is also available. We follow the community standard of care.”
The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported two medical personnel said chest surgery is a medically necessary treatment for gender dysphoria.
Inside San Quentin, trans woman Harmony Moore reacted to hearing about Yoakam’s situation in Virginia.
“The surgery seems medically necessary from my perspective,” said Moore. “When you’re prevented from being your authentic self, that messes with all other aspects of your life—especially in prison.
“How can you be in good health with all these barriers stopping you from being comfortable in your own skin? That sounds horrible, doesn’t it? I feel for the brother.”