A Judge in Boston, Massachusetts has ruled that a trans woman must be given gender reassignment surgery in prison, in order to treat her gender dysphoria. This is believed to be the first ruling of its kind.
Michelle Kosilek identifies herself as female but is incarcerated in an male-only prison. She was previously known as Robert, was married to Cheryl Kosilek, and was convicted of murdering her in 1990.
She received a life sentence, with no parole, had attempted to commit suicide, and to self-castrate since being locked up in the all male prison in Norfolk, Massachusetts.
Chief Judge Mark L. Wolf described the surgery as the “only adequate treatment” for Kosilek.
He said: “there is no less intrusive means to correct the prolonged violation of Kosilek’s Eighth Amendment right to adequate medical care.”
Joseph Sulman, attorney for Ms Kolinsek said:
“We are very happy with the ruling, of course. We are still reviewing the opinion and we anticipate the Department of Corrections will follow Judge Wolf’s order and promptly arrange for Michelle Kosilek to receive her treatment,” reported wcvb.com.
Ms Kolinsek had previously begun a lawsuit against the prison in 1999, but they reportedly failed to treat her gender dysphoria. She did not begin to receive hormone treatment again until 2002, despite being incarcerated in 1990.
U.S. Senator, Scott Brown, commented on the decision made by the court, describing it as:
“An outrageous abuse of taxpayer dollars.” he said “I look forward to common sense prevailing and the ruling being overturned.”
The Department of Correction will be responsible for deciding where to incarcerate Ms Kolinsek after her surgery.