A 57-year-old convicted killer from California — who is serving a life sentence for murder, kidnapping, and robbery — has become the first U.S. inmate to receive state-funded sex reassignment surgery.
According to the Associated Press, Shiloh Heavenly Quine underwent surgery to physically change her anatomy from male to female on Thursday. She has reportedly been living as a woman in a California men’s prison but will now be transferred to a women’s prison.
Quine’s case prompted the Golden State to become the first to set standards for future inmates to apply to receive taxpayer funds for sex-reassignment surgery. The AP also notes that it has resulted in a federal mandate that requires California to provide transgender female inmates who are housed in men’s facilities with more female-oriented items such as nightgowns, scarves, and necklaces.
According to the local CBS affiliate in San Francisco, the cost of sex-reassignment surgeries is estimated to be around $100,000, which includes medications before and after the operation. However, attorneys at the Oakland-based Transgender Law Center told CBS that figure is exaggerated.
The daughter of Quine’s victim told CBS that the news made her sick. “My dad begged for his life,” Farida Baig, who tried unsuccessfully to block Quine’s surgery through the courts, said. “It just made me dizzy and sick. I’m helping pay for his surgery; I live in California. It’s kind of like a slap in the face.”
Quine and an accomplice reportedly kidnapped and fatally shot Shahid Ali Baig, 33, in downtown Los Angeles in February 1980.
Quine had reportedly attempted to amputate her male genitalia three years before she went to jail at the age of 19 and attempted to cut and hang herself at least five times while in prison.
Kris Hayashi, executive director of the Transgender Law Center, which represents Quine, reportedly told CBS that the surgery’s completion and legal settlement associated with operations for transgender inmates marks a victory “for all transgender people who have ever been denied the medical care we need.”