gender neutral toilet
A bathroom sign welcomes all genders at a US state Reuters

California became the first United States' state to pay for a gender-reassignment surgery of a transgender prison inmate.

Shiloh Quine, who was born male but identifies as female, underwent surgery paid for by the state this week, her attorneys said on Friday, 6 January.

According to reports, the state had earlier promised to refer Quine – who is serving life imprisonment without the possibility of parole after convictions in 1981 for murder, kidnapping and robbery – to a surgeon and pay for the sex change procedure under an agreement.

This comes as part of a 2015 settlement, under which the state is authorised to allow inmates who are transgender or have gender dysphoria access to clothing, toiletries and other items consistent with their gender identities.

Also under its terms, for those like Quine whose doctors agree that surgery is medically appropriate, the state will pay for the gender-change procedure.

Jill Marcellus, a spokeswoman for the Transgender Law Center, that negotiated the settlement, said that Quine underwent the surgery on Thursday.

While, Transgender Law Center Executive Director Kris Hayashi said that by helping Quine's in obtaining her identity, the state was setting an example that would help others attain needed care.

The guidelines adopted in 2015 for the gender-reassignment surgery mentions that the inmates seeking to change their biological sex would first need to be evaluated by medical and mental health professionals, and then they need to present their cases to a six-member committee of doctors, psychologists and psychiatrists.

After that, committee members would vote on whether the surgery was necessary, and a committee chair who is a medical administrator in the prison system would hold a tie-breaking vote, Reuters reported.