Iowa Jury Awards Transgender Man Access to Men’s Prison

A transgender man was recently awarded $120,000 in damages from an Iowa jury for emotional distress resulting from the former employer’s discriminatory actions.

As a former nurse at the Iowa Department of Corrections, Jesse Vreogh, a biological woman who self-identifies as a man, claimed that the department’s refusal to allow her access to male prison restrooms and locker rooms and failure to include “medically necessary” gender reassignment surgery in the state insurance plan violated the state’s sexual orientation and gender identity protection law (SOGI law). The law prohibits “discrimination against a person because of his/her sexual orientation or gender identity.”

Even though the Department of Corrections accommodated Vreogh by giving her access to her own bathroom, the jury also sided with Vreogh in believing that the state should have paid for her double mastectomy so she could look more like a man.

“Watching the transgender lobby, with the powerful ACLU behind them, take the transgender bathroom wars from schools to the workplace with success shows a frightening disdain for the privacy and rights of others,” writes journalist Nicole Russell.

The state of Iowa will likely appeal.

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