Iowa corrections department approves gender dysphoria policy

"At One Iowa, we believe it is imperative to treat transgender and intersex individuals with respect within the correctional system," Donna Red Wing, the organization's executive director, said. Photo provided.

Des Moines, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Department of Corrections has approved a new gender dysphoria management policy for inmates.

Gender dysphoria is a medical diagnosis for the discomfort and distress that results from a mismatch between a person's biological sex and gender identity.

The policy went into effect Monday and won't apply to inmates in county jails or community corrections facilities, The Des Moines Register ( ) reports.

Iowa's prisons currently have six inmates classified as transgender or gender dysphoric. Four of those inmates are being held at the Iowa Medical and Classification Center in Coralville. One inmate is at the Anamosa State Penitentiary and one is being held at the Newton Correctional Facility.

Prison staff members will be required to use an inmate's preferred first name and pronoun in communications.

The policy also requires individualized plans for gender dysphoria medical care, including an assessment of an inmate's need for cross-hormonal therapy. The decision to assign transgender or intersex inmates to a prison designated for males or females will be made on a case-by-case basis.

Under the new policy, inmates diagnosed with gender dysphoria will be asked their preference for the gender of staff conducting strip searches.

The policy was drafted by a state prison system medical committee headed by the medical director in response to requests to address gender dysphoria issues in the prison system.

Officials say the goal is to ensure appropriate identification and evaluation of inmates diagnosed with gender dysphoria and to ensure appropriate treatment "in a humane and safe correctional environment that is sensitive to their unique adjustment issues."

Donna Red Wing, executive director of One Iowa, the state's largest organization supporting rights for LGBTQ people, praised the policy.

"At One Iowa, we believe it is imperative to treat transgender and intersex individuals? with respect within the correctional system," Red Wing said.

Information from: The Des Moines Register,

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