Things That Matter

This Trans Inmate Was Denied Access To Gender Reassignment Surgery But That Could Change With This Recent Court Ruling

In a surprising turn of events, the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last Friday that the state of Idaho must provide gender confirmation surgery for its transgender prison inmates. This upheld the original decision made by the US District Court: that denying inmates the surgery amounted to a violation of the US Constitution. While this is definitely a momentous step forward for trans rights, despite the rise of conservatism in today’s America, the story doesn’t end there. No, that would just be too simple. 

It’s worth knowing the background to the case.

Facebook / Black and Pink

The decision didn’t just appear out of nowhere. The original ruling came as a result of a lawsuit an inmate of Idaho State Correctional Center, Adree Edmo, brought to the Idaho Department of Correction and its medical provider, Corizon, in 2017. Having struggled with her gender identity, attempted suicide and also tried to castrate herself, Edmo contended that the state’s refusal to provide her with the gender confirmation surgery she needs amounts to cruel and unusual punishment. Ultimately, it’s a contravention of her Eighth Amendment rights.

Edmo has been forced to live as a male in an all-male prison.

Instagram / @kneffertiti

Despite the fact that Edmo has been living as a woman for years, she has been housed in a men’s prison during that time, and so far been denied what is clearly needed medical care. “They certainly would treat a prisoner with cancer, they treat a prisoner with diabetes, or other chronic conditions,” Deborah Ferguson, an attorney for Edmo, said in a recent interview. “So, we have a medically recognized condition that’s very treatable and we have been trying to get her the treatment that she very much needs.”

Nevertheless, the state says that it’ll take the case to the US Supreme Court.

Instagram / @governorbradlittle

“The court’s decision is extremely disappointing,” Idaho Governor Brad Little said in response to the decision. “The hardworking taxpayers of Idaho should not be forced to pay for a convicted sex offender’s gender reassignment surgery when it is contrary to the medical opinions of the treating physician and multiple mental health professionals.”

With this verdict, Edmo could be transferred to a women’s prison.

Youtube/ 6 On Your Side

Granted, it would seem that this statement flies in the face of other known facts related to the case. So, let’s clear it all up, now. Firstly, Edmo was diagnosed with gender dysmorphia back in 2012. Considering that she has been living as a woman for years, now, despite the risks this would pose while she is being detained in a men’s prison, would suggest that she is in need of support and treatment. In other words, as the decision determined, Edmo should undergo gender confirmation surgery and be transferred to a women’s detention center afterwards.

The state government doesn’t want to pay for the surgery.

Instagram / @7pmfortune

As far as costs to the state go, that’s a little more complicated. The contract that the state currently has with Corizon sees that necessary medical care is already covered. And, naturally, that contract was paid for with money collected from taxes. But, the contract is also designed to provide for the healthcare of many other prison inmates, too. Because, at the end of the day, imprisonment isn’t designed to violate an individual’s constitutional rights. And you know what? If Little was so concerned about taxpayer dollars, then maybe the state wouldn’t have forked out over $300,000 to fight a procedure that, at most, would cost $30,000.

But wait a minute … Edmo is a sex offender?

Instagram / @projectfluxdance

Yeah. She pled guilty to charges that she sexually abused a 15 year old when Edmo herself was about 22 years of age. The fact of the matter is that, simply because she committed a crime – and a heinous one at that – doesn’t mean that she waives any and all needed medical care. This case is about upholding the tenets around basic human rights.

This court decision could lead to more inmates getting the care they require.

Instagram / @crazyfactorypiercing

Part of the problem with Little’s statement to the media isn’t just that he has provided inaccuracies. It also ties into a larger narrative concerning the LGBTQI community that paints queer people as pedophiles and predators. Recent reports of people posing as gay men on Twitter in an attempt to associate queerness with pedophilia continue to propagate that false narrative. And this isn’t a new thing, either – last year a fake LGBTQI account was set up to promote pedophilia at an Oregon Pride Parade.

Chances are Governor Little is less concerned about the current case, and more worried about the precedent it sets for the future. Currently, five other inmates in the state of Idaho have requested for gender confirmation surgery. As Edmo is set to be the first person to undergo gender confirmation surgery while in custody, her victory may forge a pathway forward for others in a similar position.

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Biden/Harris Campaign Appeals To Latino Youths In New Ads Weeks Before Election

Things That Matter

Biden/Harris Campaign Appeals To Latino Youths In New Ads Weeks Before Election

Olivier Douliery / AFP via Getty Images

Politicians understand that courting a broad and diverse coalition of voters is the key to winning the election. That is what paved the way for the 2008 victory of President Barack Obama as well as the House and Senate during the same election. So far, early voting numbers for young voters are way higher than this point in the 2016 election.

The Biden/Harris campaign is going strong to secure the youth vote days before the election.

The youth vote is an elusive vote and has always been. Presiden Barack Obama successfully brought the youth vote out in 2008 and that led to a sweep by Democrats in the White House, Senate, and House of Representatives. The Biden/Harris campaign is hoping for a similar youth turnout in this election to secure their path to the White House.

Biden and Harris are hoping to turn out young Latino voters.

Latinos are a large electoral voting bloc in the 2020 elections. For the first time ever, the Latino vote outnumbers the Black vote. According to the Pew Research Center, there are 32 million eligible Latino voters and that accounts for 13 percent of all eligible voters. This is a major step into democracy for the Latino community.

Youth voters are currently turning out in early voting in record numbers.

In Florida, current early and absentee voting numbers are showing almost 100,000 more early and absentee youth voters than this time in the 2016 election. Some of the increase in participation in early voting among young voters is pandemic still raging in the U.S. There is also an enthusiasm among young voters to get out and vote.

The 2020 election is energizing similar numbers to the 2008 election between President Obama and Sen. John McCain.

According to polling, 63 percent of voters between 18-29 said they are definitely voting in the 2020 election. This is a major increase in voter participation in 2016 and 2018. The number of young people planning to vote this year is much greater than the 47 percent who said they would vote in 2016 and the 40 percent who planned to vote in 2018. Polling further found that 60 percent of young voters strongly favor Biden in the upcoming election.

There is a lot of appreciation for the young people who are turning up and voting for their future.

This is shaping up to be the most important elections in our lifetime. The rights of several marginalized communities are at stake and access to affordable healthcare is being threatened. In the midst of a pandemic, there is a legal challenge by the Trump administration against the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, that has become increasingly popular in recent years.

One of the most crucial parts of the ACA that would be erased if it is overturned is protections for those with pre-existing conditions. President Trump has often spoken about protecting those with pre-existing conditions but striking down the ACA would also eliminate those protections. There has been no plan to replace the ACA presented by the Trump administration or the Republican Party.

READ: Joe Biden Says ‘Healthcare is Not a Privilege, It’s a Right,’ Donald Trump and the GOP Disagree

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Joe Biden Says ‘Healthcare is Not a Privilege, It’s a Right,’ Donald Trump and the GOP Disagree

Things That Matter

Joe Biden Says ‘Healthcare is Not a Privilege, It’s a Right,’ Donald Trump and the GOP Disagree

In Joe Biden’s recent CNN-moderated town hall meeting, an undecided voter described her mother’s health problems and ensuing financial struggles. 

“My mother was diagnosed with multiple myeloma  two years ago at the age of 66,” said the woman. “The cost of her care has been astronomical. However, my family has been fortunate that both she and my father have long careers at good companies that afforded them the opportunity to save for retirement, which is helping to pay for her care.”

The undecided voter then posed a question to Joe Biden: “What is your plan to make healthcare affordable so Americans don’t need to drain their savings?”

Biden, as usual, responded with passion. “What I would do is make sure we reinstate the Affordable Care Act,” he said. “And add the public option to that so that nobody in the United States of America would go without being able to be covered for what they need.” He added, “Healthcare is not a privilege, it’s a right”. 

The undecided voter Biden spoke with isn’t the only one worried about the costs associated with healthcare. Latinos are worried too. 

Like 25-year-old Isabella Prado (a third generation Mexican-American) of Denver, Colorado, who doesn’t know what her health insurance plan is once she turns 26 and is no longer on her mom’s Medicaid plan. “I’m not even that old but I’m already having problems,” she told Mitú. “And I’m thinking, ‘Gosh, what am I going to do when I don’t have health insurance?”

Latino voters, by and large, seem to agree with Prado’s concerns. In a survey conducted by Telemundo in conjunction with Buzzfeed, it was found that 51% of Latino voters between the ages of 18 and 35 said that “affordable healthcare for all” is one of the motivating factors behind their desire to vote. 

Prado explained to Mitú that she believes healthcare is a right. “Somebody doesn’t choose to be unhealthy, or choose to have cancer or choose to have psychological problems. That’s not a choice,” she explained. “Because somebody can’t afford healthcare, they deserve to die? Or somebody with cancer and they can’t afford the treatment?”

The Trump Administration and the Republican Party have made it abundantly clear that they do not believe healthcare is a universal right. 

“America didn’t become great through handouts,” Trump told Bloomberg Politics in 2016. “You have some guy with no college degree working a minimum wage job; no ambition, no goals, nothing to show for it. Yet for some reason, the [Obama] administration believes he – and millions of people like him, should have access to health insurance. It’s outrageous.”

As Biden further explained in his Town Hall meeting, now is not the time to be taking access to affordable healthcare lightly. “In the middle of this pandemic, what’s the president doing? He’s in federal court trying to do away with the Affordable Care Act.”  

Prado also agreed that President Trump’s failure to lead America effectively through the COVID-19 crisis is unforgivable. 

“It’s honestly disgusting,” she told Mitú. “For someone like my mom who has preexisting health conditions, who has heart failure, her life literally depends on people taking this seriously. When the leader of your country doesn’t even take it seriously, how is anybody else supposed to?”

Biden agrees, explaining in his town hall meeting that the devastating impact of COVID-19 proves, without a doubt, that the time to expand access to affordable healthcare is now. 

“We have to make sure…that any costs relating to COVID are, in fact, free. [And that] the Federal Government guarantees it,” Biden said. “One of the reasons why people aren’t going in and getting tested is because they’re afraid of the bill they’re going to receive. They’re afraid of what’s going to happen.”

As voters from marginalized communities, it can be easy to feel helplessness when these major issues loom large. But it is worth repeating: your vote does matter. 

Togethers, Millenials and Gen Zers make up 37% of eligible voters, surpassing the electorate of Baby Boomers. Latinos are the largest ethnic minority in the United States, making up 13.3% of all eligible voters.The future is in our hands. Some elections are razor-thin, relying on swing states like Florida or Arizona to determine their outcomes.

The time to create a voting plan–whether it’s early voting, mail-in voting, or in-person voting the day-of–is now. If you support expanded access to affordable healthcare coverage, voting early is a great way to show your support.

Go to IWillVote.com or VoyaVotar.com and text TODOS to 30330 today to learn what voting choices you have in your community and get information on where and when to vote. Every single one of us needs to do our part. The future depends on it.

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