Trans Inmate Sues-Transferred to Women’s Prison, Gets Surgery, & Half a Million

A Minnesota biologically male transgender inmate is being moved to a women’s prison, will receive a vaginoplasty, and will be awarded $495,000 to settle a discrimination lawsuit against the state Department of Corrections.

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57-year-old Christina Lusk will be transferred to the women’s facility in Shakopee next week, marking the first time a Minnesota inmate is being moved to a different prison based on gender identity. When Lusk was first arrested in 2018 on drug charges, he was scheduling a transition surgery to create simulated female genitals through a vaginoplasty procedure, Gender Justice, the legal nonprofit that represented her. Lusk had already undergone “top surgery” to manufacture breasts.

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However, according to a guerilla journalist, Luck changed his name and pronouns in 2018 when he was arrested.

Then, after she was incarcerated, Lusk asked the Minnesota Department of Corrections to allow him to continue with the surgery and provide medical records, but he was denied. Department medical director James Amsterdam reviewed Lusk’s case and determined that Lusk should not be allowed to receive genital surgery while incarcerated but “could pursue that after release,” the lawsuit said.

In response, Lusk partnered with Gender Justice to sue the department for discrimination. Jess Braverman, legal director at Gender Justice, says Lusk was harassed by inmates and DOC guards, which they claimed harmed his mental health.

“Inmates would heckle her, heckle her roommates… call her ‘it,’ that sort of thing. And then there were staff who would say things to her, such as, ‘You know, you’re a man in a men’s prison. I’m not going to treat you like a woman. I’m not going to use your proper name and pronouns,'”

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The DOC eventually backed down, offering a settlement instead of daring to go to court. The DOC  agreed to transfer Lusk to a women’s prison, provide Lusk with the surgery and strengthen its policies protecting transgender inmates, and pay Lusk nearly half a million dollars, presumably on the taxpayer dime. Lusk called the settlement “appropriate” in a statement issued by Gender Justice, a legal nonprofit representing her in the case.

“Everybody needs to come together in unity, and embrace positive change. I believe we have made a big step toward allowing people to express who they truly are, and bring some sort of peace and happiness to their lives….This journey has brought extreme challenges, and I have endured so much. My hope is that nobody has to go through the same set of circumstances. I relied on my faith, and I never gave up hope. I can truly say that I am a strong, proud, transgender woman, and my name is Christina Lusk.”

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