November 20, 2012

Judge: No more electrolysis for Mass. transgender inmate

Judge Robert Wolf also puts the gender reassignment surgery he ordered for Michelle Kosilek in September on hold until the state appeals his ruling.

Denise Lavoie / The Associated Press

BOSTON — A federal judge in Massachusetts says he won't order more hair-removal treatments for a transgender inmate who won a court order for taxpayer-funded sex-change surgery.

click image to enlarge

In this 1993 photo, Robert Kosilek, aka Michelle Kosilek, sits in Bristol County Superior Court, in New Bedford, Mass.

Judge Robert Wolf also ruled Tuesday that the gender reassignment surgery he ordered for Michelle Kosilek in September will be on hold until the state appeals his ruling.

Kosilek, convicted in the 1990 murder of wife Cheryl Kosilek, was born male but has received hormone treatments and now lives as a woman in an all-male prison.

Wolf said Tuesday that additional electrolysis for Michelle Kosilek would have to be part of a new case.

The state Department of Correction has said it discontinued electrolysis treatments after finding Kosilek had already received significant hair removal and her remaining hair could be removed by shaving or depilatories.

Kosilek's lawyer, Frances Cohen, said prison officials' refusal to allow Kosilek to have additional treatments is "simply another incident of deliberate indifference" to Kosilek's medical needs.

In September, Wolf had ordered the state to provide sex-reassignment surgery, saying it is the only way to treat Kosilek's "serious medical need."

Kosilek was born male but has received hormone treatments and now lives as a woman in an all-male prison. Kosilek was named Robert when convicted in the 1990 murder of wife Cheryl Kosilek.

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