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Inmate Wants a Decision on Her Penis

VANCOUVER, B.C. (CN) - A male inmate who wants to become a woman claims the Canadian government is dragging its feet on her request to have her penis removed, as her doctor recommends.

Katherine Anne Johnson claims in Federal Court that medical experts in gender identity disorder have confirmed that she's a suitable candidate for gender reassignment surgery in the form a penectomy, rather than vaginoplasty. Johnson says she's been threatened and assaulted by male inmates demanding sexual favors after she was moved from a women's prison to a men's facility.

But the Correctional Service of Canada doesn't consider a penectomy to be gender reassignment surgery and has refused to say whether it will pay for the procedure, according to the complaint.

Procedures are covered only when they're considered an "essential medical service," Johnson says, and despite support from the warden and medical experts, she's hasn't received an answer because the CSC has "unreasonably delayed making a decision" about her request.

Johnson is represented by Jennifer Metcalfe.

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