The Supreme Court on Monday rejected an
appeal from an inmate who has been fighting to receive
sex-reassignment surgery while in prison.
After a 3-judge panel of the First
Circuit Court of Appeals found that the surgery is necessary and that
Massachusetts had violated Michelle Kosilek's constitutional rights
by refusing to provide the procedure, the full court reversed itself
on appeal, saying that Kosilek had failed to demonstrate that denying
the surgery was a violation of her constitutional rights.
The justices did not comment in
allowing the appeals court ruling to stand.
Born Robert, Kosilek, 65, is serving a
life sentence in an all-male prison in Norfolk for the 1990 murder of
her wife Cheryl.
Jennifer Levi, director of the
Transgender Rights Project of Gay & Lesbian Advocates &
Defenders (GLAD), which is working as appellate counsel in the case,
said in a statement that the high court's action was “terrible and
“But it is just a matter of time
before some prison somewhere is required to provide essential
surgery, meeting the minimal constitutional obligations of adequate
medical care for transgender people in prison,” Levi
While in prison, Kosilek has twice
attempted to take her own life and once attempted to castrate
herself, according to her lawyers.