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Judge delays sex-change surgery for inmate, pending state appeal

November 20, 2012|By Michael Muskal

A federal judge has put on hold the gender reassignment surgery he ordered for an inmate in a Massachusetts prison, pending a state appeal of the case.

In a ruling announced Tuesday, U.S. District Court Judge Mark L. Wolf said the state should be allowed its appeal of his decision allowing the taxpayer-funded surgery for Michelle Kosilek. Wolf also denied a request by Kosilek for further hair-removal treatments, saying that should be part of a new case.

Massachusetts has already filed an appeal of Wolf’s original ruling.

Robert Kosilek strangled his wife in Mansfield, Mass., in 1990. He appeared several times during the trial dressed as a woman.

He took the name Michelle in 1993 and has received hormone treatments while living as a woman in an all-male prison since his murder conviction.

He applied for a gender-change operation, which the state has repeatedly denied, prompting more than a decade of litigation.

Kosilek sued the state Department of Correction in 2000, arguing that her constitutional rights against cruel and unusual punishment had been violated when the state refused to pay for the sex-change operation.

In September, Wolf ruled that taxpayers must pay for Kosilek to have the surgery because the procedure is the only solution for gender identity disorder, which Kosilek has been diagnosed with.

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