In recent years, transgendered men and women have made great strides when it comes to equal rights. As of this past Tuesday, an even bigger stride was made. Massachusetts Judge Mark Wolf set a huge precedent when he ordered a prison to perform a sex-reassignment surgery for convicted murderer, Michelle Kosilek. In 1990, when Michelle was named Robert, he was convicted of murdering his wife. Since receiving his sentencing, he’s been undergoing hormone therapy in prison. The judge noted that the surgery was the only way to treat Kosilek’s gender-identity disorder. Kosilek previously tried to castrate herself, and has attempted suicide twice. Many prisons already offer hormone treatments and psychotherapy for inmates with gender identity disorder. But Wolf is the first judge to order sex-reassignment surgery as a remedy.
Many people are up in arms. With this ruling comes the question of why allow this surgery at the expense of taxpayers? Gender reassignment surgeries aren’t cheap. They can involve several different treatments, including hormone therapy, but the most costly is a sex-change operation. In the United States a sex change operation can cost up to $20,000. But in other countries, you may end up paying just half of that.
U.S Senator Scott Brown of Massachusetts, vehemently believes that there should be a ban on the use of tax money to pay for the surgery for inmates. In 2008 he unsuccessfully filed a legislation asking for a ban.
“We have many big challenges facing us as a nation, but nowhere among those issues would I include providing sex change surgery to convicted murderers,” he said in a written statement. “I look forward to common sense prevailing and the ruling being overturned.”
As views about transgender people change, it seems that the laws are gradually changing with it as well. Do you feel that a prisoner should be able to receive sex-reassignment surgery?