VACAVILLE (CBS 5) — A transsexual inmate at the California Medical Facility in Vacaville has sued the State of California to pay for surgery to complete his transition to becoming a woman.

Lyralisa Stevens was born as a male, but for years has received estrogen therapy in the process to become female. Stevens was convicted in 2002 for murdering a woman in San Bernardino over a $400 clothing debt.

A document obtained by CBS 5 finds the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation denying surgery to Stevens in 2007, saying “…sexual reassignment surgery is not a covered benefit …”

Stevens sued the state. In 2008, Stevens wrote the court saying, “I believe I am entitled to this relief because it is vital to the due process of my rehabilitation.”

The rehabilitation Stevens refers to is a brain tumor that had to be surgically removed. A prison doctor believed the tumor was connected to a high dose of estrogen. The doctor reduced the amount of hormone Stevens was receiving, but said in a statement the “…current dose …appears to be inadequate to accomplish and maintain feminization, quality of life.”

Stevens’ lawsuit argues the surgery is medically necessary and is asking the state to pay for gender reassignment surgery.

“The order would also allow me to conclude the pre-operative stage of the transgendered hormone therapy, to become the surgically cured female that I should be,” Stevens said in a statement to the court.

Despite starting without an attorney, Stevens’ case has made it to a federal appeals court. Local attorneys have since picked up the case.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

Comments (52)
  1. earl says:

    Why should my tax dollars pay for this. If this person wants the surgery the he should pay for it not me

    1. againsttaxingmore says:

      It would seem that as a state being liberal they would do such a thing. Makes you wonder why the state of California is in debt. in contributing to things like this. He does have a right to change, however the idea of his family paying for it should be there in this situaton. It should be him convincing his own family to help him if he wants this surgery so badly in need of him living out like he wants.

      1. robert says:

        fine-if that is how he is rehab’d-parole his and let him pay for his own surgical cure-society does NOT owe him the same responsibility he expects.

      2. eric says:

        State said no. That is why the inmate is suing.

  2. john smith says:

    That’s what I’m talking about.

  3. Troy Woodyard says:

    This person was CONVICTED of the crime of MURDER, over a debt?! This idiot LOST several of it’s rights. One of them is the right to change gender WHILE incarcerated.. It made the choice to commit the crime and now has to live with the consequences. Our prison and judicial systems are already overburdened with criminals and the dealings of “their rights”. Tax dollars should NOT be spent on making criminals happy in jail.. It’s a punishment and rehabilitation.. NOT a time to be rewarded..

  4. Belle says:

    This is what is wrong with our CA prison system. My brother is being held in a jail in Maricopa county in Phoenix, AZ and it’s a HORRIBLE place. Sheriff Joe prides himself on feeding the inmates recycled food for 30 cents a day vs. the daily allowance of $1.20 a day. Everything is a felony in Arizona, the same “forgery” charges would be a “misdemeanor” in CA.

    1. tom says:

      thats because CA is a liberal cess pool. I say get a knife and cut his wanger off, and let him bleed out, there is your sex change

      1. Seraphim0 says:

        You realize, you had a republican governor in CA for how long? Yeah. It’s a “liberal” problem.

    2. Heather says:

      Bet he doesn’t want to go back to jail does he……

  5. genomega1 says:

    This is a joke right?

  6. Brandywine3 says:

    Another one of these things that go under the heading of “ARE YOU KIDDING ME”.
    I would like to get the players straight, this thing that went to prison for killing someone, went in as a man, and now wants to be a woman, and the taxpayers pay for it… I have it right? Now some idiot attorneys are going to go to court on his behalf. This (whatever it is), has medical privileges, if he’s ill, that should be it, case closed.

    1. Brittany says:

      That’s incredibly insensitive. “It” is a transgendered” person, NOT an “it.” People like you create intolerance. It makes me sick.

      1. WhoGivesAFluck says:

        Well in my eyes “It” left “it’s” right anything but basic health care at the prison gate. Intolerance is not always a bad thing you know! I won’t tolerate many things because I don’t have to….It’s my choice!

  7. Cel1313 says:

    How much are the lawyers alone going to cost taxpayers? How much are the court fees going to cost taxpayers? Taxpayers have already paid for the hormone therapy, makes me ask, how many other inmates are receiving UNnecessary medical treatments on the taxpayers? This inmate’s case needs to be laughed out of the court.

  8. najul says:

    not a covered benefit? why in the hell is this fool even getting estrogen therapy anyway? It deseaves nothing but death being put to death. such a waste of resourse,taxes dollars and the air we breath.

  9. Anthony Smith says:

    By taking someone else life you have shown the state that you are incapable of making decisions regarding your own life in such away that it effects those around you ie. killing them hence you are put in prison and denied that right if you were at a doctors consult instead of killing someone over $400 dollars you would be a women by now how bout you pay your debt to society and once we are square you can get a grant or health plan through a job that will provide surgery.

  10. sf-raised says:

    I’m all for LGBT rights, but comeon, really??? Isn’t being able to live your life the way you want to the whole point of staying out of prison??? This guy killed someone over a $400 debt for goodness sake!

    1. Irish says:

      …and since when is “non medical, or non necessary” surgery a “covered” item? I realize transgender surgery is much more that cosmetic, but it is elective surgery. Since when can an incarcerated person have an elective surgery? Didn’t they give up thouse rights when they committed the crime and were then convicted? I am curious if any states allow an elective procedure as a “covered” surgery?

  11. Kenneth Hoover says:

    What happened to being punished for murder??? Why does this arse have these kind of rights in jail????? YOU ARE A MURDERER DUDE!!!! Absoluetly ridiculous!!!!

  12. Sara says:

    I hardly think that the reason he killed someone was because he should have been a woman instead of a man. He’s in jail for murdering someone over a debt dispute–a crime he would have committed in either case. It’s not the People’s responsibility to make right what nature put wrong, our only responsibility is to keep him out of Society to protect the greater good. His sex change operation doesn’t meet the criteria for that. He can pay for it himself when he gets out of prison.

  13. Jg says:

    Two Words: Firing Squad…

  14. FifthGeneration says:

    This is ridiculous! This individual should have thought about the necessity for ‘re-assignment’ before committing the crime for which it has been judged guilty. It is not appropriate for the taxpaying electorate to satisfy this individual’s personal ‘style’. That is a personal choice, and/but should be paid for by the person for whom it is a choice. I am hoping that the taxpayers will not be called upon to pay for this nonsense.

  15. Brian Breese says:

    He DOES have ‘purty’ lips though. Oh gawd…gotta take another cold shower.

  16. Me! says:

    WHAT?! I can’t believe this is even going to court to be heard in a court of law! I Who’s paying for the attorneys? Not the taxpayers I hope! This is ludacrous. The fact that a murderer gets free medical benefits annoys the hell out of me as it is. This is not a medically necessary surgery. It is elective. If/when he/she gets out of prison, he/she can for the surgery themself! After murdering someone, it’s unbelievable that this individual has the audacity to think or believe they have a right to this surgery. The case should be thrown (or laughed) out of court.

  17. James Robbins says:

    Just let him keep taking it from behind like the rest of his buddies !

  18. sbast18 says:

    ….traveling doctor has rusty scissors. Will perform surgery for free.

  19. tom says:

    just get a rope, maybe he can be reincarnated as a woman, but if he is, he willl want a sex change to be a man

  20. genomega1 says:

    I’ll bet you all that they will find a nut job judge that will order it done. Remember that heart transplant for the death row inmate?

  21. Marilyn says:

    This is a JOKE! The State of CA needs to tell this guy to go the hell.

  22. Jessica says:

    Isn’t our country (our individual sates as a counrtry) in debt enough as it is w/out having to pay for ‘UNNECESSARY’ acts of just pure idiocy such as this?.?.? We have law abiding, upstanding, hard working, true blooded Americans in this country who do not recieve/have ne health coverage/benefits @ all..but when they have to go to the Dr or ER for sumthing that absolutely culd not have been avoided otherwise, they r sent a bill, A VERY LARGE/OVER-PRICED BILL might I add, that they struggle paying due to lack of insurance/coverage, but do they get ne help from the state/foverment to pay for it…NO they do not!! It seems like to me that the ppl of this country who try ro follow the rules r the ones who r being punished b/c no matter how hard they work, they just still cannot get ahead due to the rising and still rising costs of everything, from food to gasoline, & even medical care…but on the other hand, when u commit a crime & go to jail as the result thereof, the state says, oh don’t worry about, we’ll take care of it w/ all of our ‘GOOD’citizens’ tax dollars while ur incarcerated….tell me, how morally right dies ne of that sound..?….NONE of it is right….and this is the world that we r currently bringing our children up n….and for those children who r older & studying things like this n schools throughout the country what kind of impression does all this give to those so very impressionable minds about their ‘great & powerfuk’ nation, as we so commonly like to b referred to as….But if we were so great & powerful, and issue like this wuld not even b an issue..we wuld not even hear about stuff like this, we need to b concentrating on how to get this country out of a billion dollar ± deficit, w/out crippling its citizens, and our law makers all the way up to the main man n the white house need to b doing sumthing about these gas prices!! This is getting ridiculous, they know we need it, we’re gonna find a way or do w/out sumthing else yo get it so they don’t Carr how high it goes…and sumwhere along the line it benefits sum of those ppl who culd do sumthing about it, otherwise they wuld havenalready tried to fix the rising costs… yea, there are a heck of a lot more things wrong w/ this country that desperately need to b addressed, other than a convicted murderer getting his/her sex change operation completed & non-the-less paid for by the upstanding tax paying citizens of this country……it shuld not even b an issue for debate or decision, the answer shuld have been ‘NO’ straight outta the court room, judge, lawyer, etc. fees even being incurred for him/her to get the ultimate answer ‘NO’ from sumone w/ more authority than the first, second, or when third person who told him/her no!!! Why has it even gone this far!?!? Its things like this that have crippled our country so. Sumone, sumwhere w/ sum authority or a word that actually matters to sumone else, needs to stand up for us, their citizens, and fight for OUR rights!! Not those of ppl who r incarcerated, as far as I am concerned those ppl gave up their rights when they decided to commit the crimes that landed them where they r…now they havento pay the price for that..not those of us who didn’t do nething wrong, or don’t when kno them foe that matter….and isn’t that why we vote and select state/goverment officials in the first place, so that we can havensumone, of our choosing, to stand up & speak & fight foe our rights & things that everyone in this country shuld have, I.e. Med care, food, clothes, roof over their head, etc….and they promise all These things b4 they get elected so that we will elect them, but when we do, they don’t deliver….I.e. President obama, what happened to all the promises that he made to all of us…? I kno I’m not the only one who feels this way about it, its been all over the new, ‘shuld obama b given ir elected to his second term in office…?’ Its all over every major news channel!! When is the right person gonna wake, stand up, and do sumthing to fix this country?!?!! I kno its not sumthing that wuld happen over night, its not even sumthing that culd happen in one presidents term, but we’re not currently even seeing ne steps towards trying to do sumthing about it all!!! Sumthings gotta give….and soon!!!

    1. Seraphim0 says:

      Please, use your words. Going off on a diatribe and using “text speak” makes you look quite ignorant. Thank you.

  23. teremist says:

    I hope the Federal appeals court rejects this suit unilaterally. Life in prison for a convicted murderer should mean no frills, and no breast augmentation, no genitalia restructuring, and no Easter candy. Even if he could pay for surgery himself, where would you then house this thing, in a zoo? Women prisoners should not be forced to share space with it, nor the men. He lost his right to choose, when he was convicted.

  24. Ne says:

    This is why some states Mainly California is preparing for or is IN THE RED FINANCIALLY. agreeing to BULL%&*^

  25. Leo says:

    I’m transgendered (female to male), and I would love to be able to afford top surgery. I can’t. And due to an unrelated genetic condition, hormone treatment would be risky… so I’m trapped in the no-man’s-land of gender. I’m a veteran who served honorably. I’m a tax-paying citizen who works full time. I’ve never even had a parking ticket.

    If I can’t even get my chest fixed, this murderous jerk deserves nothing. Give her some lipstick and a pair of second-hand high heels and let her stew behind bars for the rest of her miserable life where she belongs. She’s a convicted criminal, not a pity-play for GLBT rights.

    Just a note to any haters out there – Don’t just the rest of the trans community by that murderous waste of human flesh. We’re doctors, scientists, veterans, homemakers, teachers, librarians… just like anyone else. You probably don’t even realize that 95% of us even ARE transgendered. Those of us that you do… are probably in the process of transitioning. We’re just citizens, trying to live our lives.

    Judge this person for being a murderer… not for her gender identity. That’s the issue.

    1. Angel says:

      I totally agree!!!! He should not receive the surgery because he is in prison for murdering someone. If and when he ever gets out, he can get and pay for the surgery himself, but he is in prison to be punished!!

    2. HA! says:

      LOL @ “no-man’s-land”

      1. Leo says:

        *shrugs* Gotta have a sense of humor, right?

    3. Becky says:

      You’re right Leo, I’m not against this surgery because he’s a transgender. I’m against the surgery because he’s a murderer. And his sense of entitlement rubs me the wrong way. Let the piece of human waste behind bars. He took another human life so now we’re suppose to make his life easier? I don’t think so.

      1. Leo says:

        Exactly right, Becky. Exactly right.

  26. jj11 says:

    IT says IT”S not a man, we know IT”S not a woman. this is not intolerance This is simple biology, there is no 3rd choice.

    1. Leo says:

      You’re not very intelligent. Tell that to the MANY people who are actually born with intermediate genitalia. There are people who are born with XXY, XXYY, XXXY, and other chromosomal variations. There are people who are born with BOTH sets of genitalia. There are people who are born with physical traits of both genders. So… I hate to break this to you and rock your simplistic world view, but… there are quite a few other BIOLOGICAL possibilities, straight out of the womb.

  27. Ne says:

    All I have to say is this person had every chance to have HIS sex-change. HE decided to kill a woman over some pieces of material. Well if and when HE get out the HE should get a JOB and pay for HIS own sex-change. Everyone who agrees he should have, then you should go into your bank accounts and pay for it. Don’t they have a group that support procedures as sex-changes.

  28. Beck says:

    Oh, come on!!!! My tax dollars have already been wasted on saving this miserable life from a self induced brain tumor, now he thinks he’s entitled to a sex change operation??? This is a murderer people who doesn’t even deserve the medical treatment he’s already received.

  29. Ne says:

    I apologize for any misspelled words in my previous comment. I am upset about how the state and U.S as whole is throwing away money on NEEDLESS causes.

  30. Walljasper says:

    Let’s reduce our carbon footprint on the planet and celebrate Earth Day by offing this piece of garbage, whatever gender he may become in the next world.

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