The ACLU of Illinois represents five women who are transgender in a case challenging the gross inadequacies in the medical care offered to prisoners with gender dysphoria by the Illinois Department of Corrections. These women have experienced denials of basic medical treatment, inordinate delays in receiving even minimal care, and care that completely fails to meet applicable medical standards. These grave problems cause serious harm and suffering and raise the real prospects of even more dangerous health outcomes for transgender prisoners, including death. One plaintiff waited approximately three years after requesting treatment before her hormone therapy was finally started, but only after several attempts to treat herself by self-castration. Another has been waiting for more than a year and continues to wait. There is no medical reason for such excruciatingly painful and risky denials, delays, and other missteps in providing treatment to prisoners with gender dysphoria.

The lawsuit filed on behalf of five women – Janiah Monroe, Marilyn Melendez, Lydia Helena Vision, Sora Kuykendall, and Sasha Reed – and seeks class certification on behalf of all prisoners in the custody of IDOC who have requested from IDOC evaluation or treatment for gender dysphoria. The case seeks to force IDOC to reform its medical care system to put an end to the suffering it is currently causing transgender prisoners with gender dysphoria by denying them the medical care they need on a timely basis and consistent with the well-established medical standards. 

Questions and Answers


John Knight, Ghirlandi Guidetti, Carolyn Wald (ACLU of Illinois), Catherine L. Fitzpatrick, Jordan M. Heinz, Erica B. Zolner, Megan M. New, Scott Lerner, Austin B. Stephenson, Sydney L. Schneider, Sam G. Rose, and Cameron Custard (Kirkland & Ellis).

Date filed

January 31, 2018


U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois

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