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Inmate's gender case moves forward in federal court in Boise

(Photos Courtesy of Ferguson Durham, PLLC){p}{/p}
(Photos Courtesy of Ferguson Durham, PLLC)

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The attorney for Adree Edmo says her client is walking an emotional tightrope right now.

Edmo is the transgender inmate who a federal appeals court says must be given sex reassignment surgery by the state.

Edmo, now in the state men's correctional facility, is on track to become the first inmate in the country to recieve a gender confirmation surgery as the result of a court order. She would then be moved to the women's facility.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals last month upheld a federal judge's ruling in Boise that said denying Edmo the surgery is cruel and unusual punishment, a violation of the 8th Amendment.

Edmo, who suffers from gender dysphoria, has attempted suicide and twice tried to castrate herself.

"The self-castration attempts are not an attempt to end her life," said Lori Rifkin, one of Edmo's attorneys. "They are attempts to address her serious medical needs. "

But while that decision is being appealed by the State of Idaho, other parts of the Edmo case are moving forward in U.S. District Court in Boise.

Rifkin says a status conference is scheduled for Sept. 16th, that will set the stage for a potential jury trial.

Rifkin said her client is seeking, in part, to stop from being punished for presenting as female in the men's prison, punishment that included solitary confinement, according to Rifkin.

"She was disciplined repeatedly for behavior deemed to be too feminine by IDOC like the height of her ponytail," Rifkin said.

Rifkin also says her client is also being denied full access to the women's commissary for gender-appropriate items such as underwear despite an IDOC policy to allow such access.

She has limited access, access that keeps changing," said Rifkin. "It appears that the policy IDOC adopted in October 2018 has not been fully implemented."

A spokesman for IDOC says there are no restrictions on Edmo's commissary account, but she has requested items that the women's commissary no longer carries.

Lori Rifkin says the state has not filed anything with the United States Supreme Court that she is aware of.

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We reached out to the Idaho Attorney General's Office and a spokesman told me there is nothing new, since Gov. Little has called the 9th Cicuit's ruling "extremely disappointing".

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