Policy Shift Protects Trans-gender Youth In NYS Detention Centers
The policy shift comes after a 2006 lawsuit that received little attention outside the gay media, but that created big waves inside the OCFS.
Alyssa—formerly Andrew—Rodriguez was born male, but identified and dressed as a girl. She had been diagnosed with gender-identity disorder, a common psychiatric diagnosis for transgender people, and has prescribed feminizing hormones at age 12 or 13. Rodriguez was regularly taking the hormones to develop breasts and suppress facial-hair growth when she was arrested and placed in a juvenile-detention facility at age 15. Once in juvie, her hormones were taken away for months at a time, and the staff was directed to call her Andrew. Worse, she was transferred back and forth between the regular boys' facilities and special facilities for the two years she remained in state custody.
A civil lawsuit filed by Rodriguez against New York State Office of Children and Family Services (NYSOCFS) alleging sex and disability discrimination has forced NYSOCFS to set new policy and rules related to the treatment of trans-gender youth held in New York State detention centers. The new policy includes "directing staff members not to use terms like "homosexual" or "transvestite", and also to call transgender [youth] by the name (and pronoun) that they prefer." NYSOCF has also been directed to continue hormone replacement therapy for those youth already receiving it prior to detention and to consider requests for hormone replacement therapy from trans-gender youth already in detention.