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Judge rules Oklahoma transgender inmate lawsuit can proceed

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TULSA, Okla. (AP) — A transgender inmate can sue the state of Oklahoma and prison officials who she says stopped her hormone therapy because they thought she was faking her gender identity, a federal judge has ruled.

A physician's assistant ordered an end to Glenn Porter's hormone therapy after a staff psychologist at Dick Conner Correctional Center suggested she was ‘masquerading as a woman,’ according to the complaint.

Chief U.S. District Judge John Dowdell on Monday ordered an evidentiary hearing be held regarding Porter's request for a preliminary injunction that, if granted, would forbid prison officials from denying her the hormone treatments, Tulsa World reported.

Porter, whose name appears as Glen Arthur Porter Jr. in some state court documents, has been serving a life sentence since 1999 for murder in the killing of her grandfather.

In her initial federal complaint, filed Sept. 10, 2018, in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma, Porter says she sought gender reassignment surgery after three prison doctors, including the Department of Corrections' chief medical officer, diagnosed her with gender dysphoria in 2016.

Gender dysphoria is a medical condition describing the significant distress an individual can experience when their gender identity differs from the sex they're assigned at birth, according to the judge’s ruling.

Porter claims she received hormone therapy for two years while in prison.

In her lawsuit, Porter contends she is being housed in an all-male open dorm where she is subjected to harassment and discrimination based on her gender identity and physical appearance.

She also says she has been subjected to cross-gender strip searches by male guards on numerous occasions.

Dowell called for a status hearing on the case to be held April 2.

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