Marius came out to his friends, family and supporters as transgender in 2014. Previously known as “Marie Mason,” he changed his name, uses he/him pronouns, and embarked on a course to get a medical diagnosis that would allow him to seek gender affirming surgery and hormone therapy. The Board of Prisons (BOP) has already diagnosed Marius as having gender dysphoria, and has made some clothing and commissary accommodations in accordance with their established policy. Subsequently, Carswell ran a plethora of medical diagnostic tests to screen him as being healthy enough to receive the care he has requested. Finally, on September 14, 2016, Marius received his first “T” hormone shot. On Sept 7th 2021 he won his fight to be transferred to the male prison at Danbury.
PRESS RELEASE: Fort Worth, Texas—In a long-awaited decision by administrators at FMC Carswell, a federal correctional institution, Marius Mason has been approved to begin hormone treatment for medical gender transition. Mason, who was assigned female at birth, is an environmental activist, sentenced in 2009 to 22 years in federal prison for the 1999 sabotage of a Monsanto laboratory on the Michigan State University campus. Marius was diagnosed with Gender Identity Dysphoria (GID) around 2013, and came out as trans to friends, family and supporters in 2014. Since then he has been seeking gender-affirming health care, including hormone treatment, or “T” that will cause him to develop male secondary sex characteristics. It is believed that he will be the first trans masculine person to obtain transition-related health care after coming into federal custody.
Although he uses masculine pronouns and the name Marius, the states of Texas and Michigan, where he could be said legally to reside, forbid name changes for incarcerated people. Experts in the treatment of trans people, however, insist that respect for a patient’s identity, including a gender-appropriate name and pronouns, constitute medically necessary care. Prisons are required to provide medically necessary care.
The Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) has had a policy on the care of individuals with GID since at least 2011, but despite Marius’ 2013 GID diagnosis, it was not until an independent expert review of Marius’ medical records that administrators and staff at FMC Carswell agreed to administer hormone treatment. The facility is now much closer to compliance with federal policy on gender-affirming care, and it is hoped that they will acknowledge the use of gender-affirming names and pronouns as a medical necessity.
Estimates of the number of transgender people in the population at large is difficult to estimate, both because the Census Bureau does not track this demographic, and because continued discrimination deters many people from coming out. As a result of transphobia, transgender people are disproportionately forced out of homes and the workforce, and are as a group over-represented in carceral settings. The decision of FMC Carswell to come into compliance with the Bureau of Prisons directive on GID promises to have positive effects for many other incarcerated trans persons.
For more information about transgender people in prisons, see http://www.blackandpink.org/