Mass. murder convict seeks taxpayer funds for sex change

Filed in Local News by on August 11, 2009 0 Comments

Left: Robert Kosilek, Right: Michelle Kosilek

A  convicted murdering now serving a life sentence in Massachusetts is seeking a sex-change operation, and wants it to be funded on the state’s dime.

Lawyers for the inmate argued in court today that there is a “serious mental need” for electrolysis-hair removal procedures, trying to convince U.S. District Judge Mark Wolf that without the procedures,  the inmate would suffer “serious harm.”

Robert Kosilek was convicted for murdering his wife in 1990, and in 1993, legally changed his name to Michelle. Since then, Michelle has been serving a life sentence in an all-male prison, and claims that without a sex change operation, she will continue to suffer.

In 2002 the same judge entitled Kosilek to treatment for gender-identity disorder, but barred the possibility of a state-funded sex change. In 2005 Kosilek sued the state for the operation, claiming that remaining a male was making her suicidal. Prison officials claim such an operation could cause security issues.

The state has already paid for seven sessions of hair removal for Kosilek, halting funds for the procedures in October 2008. Kosilek’s lawyers say that ending the hair removal procedures has affected Kosilek’s mental health, and that denying the hair removal is a violation of her rights.

A Department of Corrections lawyer argued that Kosilek should try shaving.

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