California Inmate Receives Gender Reassignment at Taxpayer Expense

Scott Slayton | Contributor | Friday, January 13, 2017

California Inmate Receives Gender Reassignment at Taxpayer Expense

California inmate Shiloh Quine became the first inmate in the United States to receive taxpayer-funded gender reassignment surgery. The 57-year-old is serving life in prison for kidnapping, robbing, and shooting Shahid Ali Baig, a 33-year-old father of three, in Los Angeles in 1980.

The state of California agreed to pay for the surgery in a settlement reached with Quine in August 2015. Joyce Hayhoe, a spokesperson for the official who oversees prison medical care in California, said the procedure, medication, and counseling could cost as much as $100,000. The attorneys at the Transgender Law Center, which represents Quine, dispute that figure.

Kris Hayashi, the Executive Director at the Transgender Law Center, said this represents progress for Transgender Americans. “For too long, institutions have ignored doctors and casually dismissed medically necessary and life-saving care for transgender people just because of who we are.” She further added that the settlement, represents progress “for all transgender people who have ever been denied the medical care we need.”

The daughter of Quine’s victim, Farida Baig, fought his reassignment surgery through the courts. She said, “It just made me dizzy and sick. I'm helping pay for his surgery; I live in California. It's kind of like a slap in the face."

Taxpayers outside of California will help pay for Quine’s surgery as well. Up to 95 percent of allowable charges could be reimbursed by the federal government.


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Publication date: January 13, 2017