Lee, 36, had previously received the treatments at home, in federal prison and in the Hamilton County Justice Center, according to a request for an emergency order filed by the Cincinnati-based Ohio Justice & Policy Center. That included estrogen treatment approved by prison authorities while Lee was imprisoned in 2009 and 2010, the request said.
Lee began dressing as a woman as a teenager and has been living as a woman since she was 18, the center's complaint said.
Without the treatments, Lee lost breast tissue, her voice deepened, her skin became coarser and she began growing facial hair, among other symptoms, the request said. She also has grown irritable and angry and was placed on suicide watch, according to the request.
"Deprivation of hormone treatment wreaks havoc on Ms. Lee's physical and mental health and puts her life in danger," it said.
The prisons department has argued Lee didn't exhaust the prison grievance procedures and the case should be dismissed.
The 1997 federal Prison Litigation Reform Act requires all such administrative remedies to be followed before a federal lawsuit over an inmate's confinement can be filed, said the department, which didn't immediately comment on the judge's order Wednesday.
Andrew Welsh-Huggins can be reached on Twitter at https://twitter.com/awhcolumbus.