TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A federal judge in Florida has ordered the state prison system to allow a male inmate who identifies as a woman to wear female undergarments, grow his hair out, and to have access to makeup customarily available in women’s facilities.
U.S. District Judge Mark Walker, appointed to the bench by then-President Barack Obama, ruled on Wednesday that the Florida Department of Corrections must accommodate the 24-year-old inmate, who goes by the name Reiyn Keohane, after hearing testimony presented by various doctors that the allowance would be “psychologically helpful” for Keohane’s treatment of gender dysphoria.
“To be clear, … Keohane is not requesting permission to wear stiletto heels or costume jewelry while in Defendant’s custody. Instead, [he]’s only ever sought to be treated like any other female inmate in this state. This includes the ability to possess and wear the same bras, panties, hairstyles, and makeup items permitted in Defendant’s female facilities,” Walker wrote.
“Though [he] truly sees [himself] as a warrior queen in this fight, … Keohane is not demanding that Defendant bow down with offerings of frilly dresses, fancy shoes, or other frivolous badges of stereotypical femininity,” he also stated. “… [He]’s simply asking Defendant to see [him] and treat [him] as [he] is; namely, a woman stuck in a male body that’s stuck in a cage for the foreseeable future.”
According to reports, the Department of Corrections applied its “freeze frame” policy to Keohane, in that since he was not taking female hormones at the time of his entrance into the Walton Correctional Institution in DeFuniak Springs, he could not begin doing so now.
It later allowed Keohane to have the hormone “therapy” after he sued over the matter, but would not capitulate in regard to clothing, makeup and grooming. He was reportedly required to obtain haircuts in adherence of prison standards for males.
Walker said that the Department of Corrections was putting Keohane at risk of mental and self harm in continuing to deny him his request as he had attempted suicide in prison.
“Defendant is forcing … Keohane to live outwardly as a man in ways that, though seemingly banal to some, strike at the heart of what it means to be perceived as a man or woman,” he wrote.
“Ultimately, Defendant has chosen an easier course of treatment to maximize ‘uniformity,’ and ease ‘security concerns,’ by ignoring the substantial risk of harm to … Keohane’s mental health that results from denying such ‘minor accommodations’ as panties and access to Defendant’s female grooming standards. This ends now.”
“This court finds such treatment is medically necessary to alleviate Ms. Keohane’s gender dysphoria, and Defendant’s denial of such treatment constitutes deliberate indifference,” Walker added. “Defendant’s deliberate denial of care—that is, the denial of access to female clothing and grooming standards despite its knowledge of her diagnosis and her history and risk of self-harm—has caused Ms. Keohane to continue to suffer unnecessarily and poses a substantial risk of harm to her health.”
Keohane, who was sentenced to 15 years behind bars in 2013 for second-degree murder, was represented in court by the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida.
“We are thrilled that the court has ruled that a prisoner with gender dysphoria must be afforded appropriate treatment, including hormone therapy and the ability to dress and groom in accordance with [his] gender identity,” staff attorney Daniel Tilley said in a statement.
“Our client Reiyn has fought the DOC tooth and nail for years, and they have forcefully resisted providing [him] with treatment for [his] gender dysphoria every step of the way,” he remarked. “After today, the DOC will no longer be able to subject [him] to forced buzz cuts or confiscate [his] bras and underpants. And [his] hormone therapy will continue.”
Scripture states in Deuteronomy 22:5, “The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment.” The Geneva Study Bible adds in its commentary, “For that alters the order of nature, and shows that you despise God.”
The late British preacher Charles Spurgeon also once remarked, “I have no confidence at all in polished speech or brilliant literary effort to bring about a revival, but I have all the confidence in the world in the poor saint who would weep her eyes out because people are living in sin. I would choose, if I might, under God, to be a soul winner.”