Male inmate loses appeal to have court, prison documents refer to him as female

by Laura Mize · Jan 21st, 2020 12:19 pm

Last Updated Jan 21st, 2020 at 1:15 pm

A man serving prison time for attempted receipt of child pornography lost his appeal before the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals to have courts address him as female and prison records altered to include his preferred female name.

The court's January 15 decision held that the "motion was unauthorized by any statute and that the district court therefore lacked jurisdiction to entertain it."

"[N]o authority supports the proposition that we may require litigants, judges, court personnel, or anyone else to refer to gender-dysphoric litigants with pronouns matching their subjective gender identity," the court concluded. "Congress has said nothing to prohibit courts from referring to litigants according to their biological sex, rather than according to their subjective gender identity."

Norman Varner's request had been previously denied by a district court which stated that such changes to prison records are not a constitutional right and that his application for a name change had been rejected for inaccuracies.

The man reports he has begun taking hormones and will have a sex change surgery soon.

Of the three-judge panel, the two judges appointed by President Donald Trump and former President Ronald Reagan denied the appeal, while the judge appointed by former President Bill Clinton approved it.


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