A Minnesota transgender inmate will be transferred to a women’s prison and undergo a vaginoplasty as part of a settlement agreement in a discrimination lawsuit against the state Department of Corrections (DOC).
Christina Lusk, 57, is scheduled to be transferred to the women’s facility in Shakopee next week. He is the first Minnesota inmate to be relocated to a different prison based on gender identity. The decision comes after a settlement was reached between Lusk and the Minnesota DOC.
According to reports from FOX 9, the settlement, announced last week, includes a financial compensation of $495,000 to be awarded to Lusk, which includes about $250,000 in legal fees.
In addition to the monetary settlement, the Minnesota DOC has agreed to strengthen its policies surrounding transgender inmates, including medical treatment and the right of transgender or gender non-conforming individuals to request a facility that corresponds with their gender identity.
“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,” Lusk said in response to the settlement released by Gender Justice.
“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,” Lusk added.
FOX 9 reported:
After beginning cross-sex hormones in 2009, Lusk changed names in 2018 and was conferring with doctors about surgical options before getting arrested. The inmate had undergone “top surgery” before going to jail, and was “on the verge of scheduling” a vaginoplasty, according to the lawsuit.
Lusk filed a grievance with the DOC after 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.
The lawsuit, which was filed on Lusk’s behalf by the St. Paul-based advocacy group Gender Justice, alleged that Lusk was sexually abused by the male inmates at the Minnesota Correctional Facility in Moose Lake and demanded Lusk be treated as female and moved to a women’s facility.
“Inmates would heckle her, heckle her roommates… call her ‘it,’ that sort of thing,” Gender Justice legal director Jess Braverman said, according to FOX 9. “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.’”