At a Glance
Center for Constitutional Rights submitted a joint amicus brief with Lambda Legal and nine other organizations in support of Reiyn Keohane on January 9, 2019.
Reiyn Keohane v. Florida Department of Corrections concerns whether incarcerated transgender people have a right to comprehensive gender dysphoria treatment, including healthcare related to social transition.
Reiyn Keohane is a transgender woman who entered the Florida Department of Corrections (FDOC). Despite filing grievances regarding her need for ongoing treatment for her gender dysphoria, FDOC denied her healthcare until she initiated this lawsuit. During the more than two years Ms. Keohane was denied necessary care, she suffered severe depression and tried to commit suicide.
In August 2018, the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of Florida struck down FDOC’s policy refusing gender dysphoria treatment to inmates and affirmed the dignity of transgender people behind bars, stating:
“Ultimately, this case is about whether the law, and this Court by extension, recognizes Ms. Keohane’s humanity as a transgender woman. The answer is simple. It does, and I do. […] Ms. Keohane is not an animal. She is a transgender woman. Forthwith, Defendant shall treat her with the dignity the Eighth Amendment commands.”
The court noted that many of FDOC's medical and mental health personnel responsible for Ms. Keohane's care lacked experience with gender dysphoria, and expressed the "suspicion that bigotry and ignorance swayed Defendant’s decision making for treating (or, rather, not treating) Ms. Keohane’s gender dysphoria." The court ordered FDOC to provide Ms. Keohane hormone therapy and healthcare related to social transition such as female clothing and grooming products. FDOC appealed the decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.
On January 9, 2019, the Center for Constitutional Rights filed an amicus brief in support of Ms. Keohane in coalition with ten other civil rights and legal organizations that advocate for the LGBTQI community. The brief elevates the voices and experiences of transgender men and women behind bars to explain how denying transgender inmates access to the full spectrum of gender dysphoria care – including the ability to express their gender – causes immense suffering and cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment, even when hormone therapy is made available.