Woman Denied Prison Officer Job for Being Intersex

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Nicole Smith, a 35-year-old Phoenix woman, applied for a job as a correctional officer with the Arizona Department of Corrections, but was turned down because she’s intersex.

Smith met with a recruiter and notified them of her intersex status, and according to AZ Central, they said it wouldn’t be an issue. However, Smith says she passed her physical fitness, psychological, and departmental policy tests, but was denied based on her medical exam. 

"I'd said I would work with whatever population they wanted, that if it was my physical gender that would keep me back, I would work with men," Smith said. "But it didn't matter."

The Department of Corrections cited the 2003 Rape Elimination Act which says that to prevent cross-gender examinations of inmates, applicants must have sexual characteristics adhering to one gender.