Warren: Inmates Are ‘Entitled to’ Gender-Reassignment Surgery — ‘Important and Appropriate Medical Care’

Thursday during CNN’s LGBTQ issues town hall for the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) said she was wrong about a previous statement she made during her 2012 campaign for U.S. Senate calling gender-reassignment surgery for inmates not a “good use of taxpayer dollars.”

In her revised view, Warren called the operation “important and appropriate” when posed the question by CNN host Chris Cuomo.

Partial transcript as follows:

CUOMO: Senator, quick follow. Speak to your evolution on this. In the 2012 campaign for Senate, you criticized a judge’s ruling that granted transition-related surgery to a transgender inmate. You said, “I don’t think it’s a good use of taxpayer dollars.”

WARREN: Right.

CUOMO: Do you regret that?

WARREN: Yep. No, it was a bad answer. And I think it was a bad answer. And I believe that everyone is entitled to medical care and medical care that they need, and that includes people who are transgender, who — it is the time for them to have gender-affirming surgery. I just think that’s important and the appropriate medical care.

CUOMO: So if you help people get to where they want to be, you also have to protect them as what they are. Do you think that a crime against somebody who is transgender should be charged as a hate crime in statute?

WARREN: You know, I think we could if we think that’s going to be the most effective way to make change. So I’m certainly — I’m open to this. But I’ll tell you what I really want. I want a Justice Department that takes this seriously. I want to create a Justice Department that says these crimes matter.

And when they’re not federal crimes, when they are state crimes, in the same way that our Justice Department is empowered to step in if a state is failing to enforce laws and as a result it’s leaving women unprotected, it’s leaving people of color unprotected, the same should happen for LGBTQ people. We need a Justice Department that is on the side of the people, all of the people.

Follow Jeff Poor on Twitter @jeff_poor

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