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Lawsuits & Litigation

Massachusetts Murderer Sues Prison Commissioner Over Sex Change Surgery

— August 30, 2018

A Massachusetts murderer is suing the state prison commissioner to receive a facility change along with sexual reassignment surgery.

Boston’s local CBS network says Michelle Kosilek filed the suit against Correction Commissioner Thomas Turco in federal court last week. The motion demands that Kosilek be immediately transferred from a men’s prison in Norfolk, MA, to a woman’s facility in Framingham.

Kosilek also asks that the Department of Corrections’ medical provider schedule an appointment for “gender-affirming” surgery.

The 69-year old Kosilek’s operation would be funded by taxpayer dollars.

Kosilek, writes the Sun Chronicle, was born anatomically male and spent most of life named Robert. In 1990, Kosilek, then married, strangled his wife to death following a fight outside their Massachusetts condominium. He used a planter wire to off his spouse and later left the woman’s corpse parked outside a local mall.

He was later found guilty of first-degree murder and sentenced to prison in 1993.

The latest round of demands follows years of protracted litigation and repeated attempts to force the Massachusetts Department of Corrections to schedule Kosilek a sex change operation. Kosilek says she’s received 22 of 32 approved reassignment treatments “but with no reduction in my gender dysphoria.”

“All relevant experts have agreed that gender-affirming surgery is medically necessary,” Kosilek said.

Image via Public domain.

The case, recounts the Patriot Ledger, sparked a ‘heated debate’ in Massachusetts. While some members of the media played sympathetic to Kosilek’s plight, others questioned the sense in funding an elderly murderer’s sex reassignment surgery with public funds.

“Everybody has the right to have their healthcare needs met, whether they are in prison or out on the streets,” Kosilek said in a 2011 phone interview. “People in the prisons who have bad hearts, hips or knees have surgery to repair those things. My medical needs are no less important or more important than the person in the cell next to me.”

Kosilek’s lately framed the prison bureau’s lack of action as a civil rights violation. She claims the commissioner is engaged in an “ongoing, painful violation of her federal civil rights to proper treatment for gender dysphoria.”

In prison, Kosilek’s received facial hair removal treatments and hormone therapy—procedures she say don’t do enough to resolve her body dysphoria.

“Like offering a painkiller for cancer instead of the necessary chemotherapy, this approach offers the plaintiff nothing but the surety that she will continue to suffer every day until she days,” says the suit.

While a lower court had initially ruled in favor of Kosilek, an appellate court later overturned the verdict. The latter panel said the Department of Corrections held “valid security concerns” for a transgender woman held either in a men’s prison or women’s facility. The Supreme Court declined to hear Kosilek’s last appeal, which was filed on grounds that her Eighth Amendment rights against cruel and unusual punishment were being violated.


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Convicted Murderer Seeking Sex Change Surgery In Prison Sues Mass. Correction Commissioner

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Michelle Kosilek files lawsuit in bid for sex change surgery, transfer

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