Breaking news from the Boston Globe: a federal appeals court has overturned a district court’s 2012 ruling that Massachusetts inamate Michelle Kosilek’s gender identity disorder must be treated with gender reassignment surgery.
The appeals court said Tuesday it had been asked to determine whether denying Kosilek the surgery constituted cruel and unusual punishment, which is banned by the Eighth Amendment.
The appeals court said:
“After carefully considering the community standard of medical care, the adequacy of the provided treatment, and the valid security concerns articulated by the DOC, we conclude that the district court erred and that the care provided to Kosilek by the DOC does not violate the Eighth Amendment,” the court said in an opinion written by Judge Juan R. Torruella.
How refreshingly sensible. The “community standard of medical care” most likely takes into account the 2011 Swedish long-term study of people who had sex reassignment surgery, which showed that, in short, sex change surgery doesn’t give people better lives in the long term. Dr. McHugh, former psychiatrist in chief at Johns Hopkins Hospital, said in the Wall Street Journal:
The long-term study—up to 30 years—followed 324 people who had sex-reassignment surgery. The study revealed that beginning about 10 years after having the surgery, the transgendered began to experience increasing mental difficulties. Most shockingly, their suicide mortality rose almost 20-fold above the comparable nontransgender population. This disturbing result has as yet no explanation but probably reflects the growing sense of isolation reported by the aging transgendered after surgery. The high suicide rate certainly challenges the surgery prescription.
The website Sex Change Regret and the article Trouble in Transtopia: Murmurs of Sex Change Regret discuss how recipients of this surgery are pressured to stay silent if they regret their choice.
The takeaway? In denying the Massachusetts inmate a taxpayer-funded sex change operation, the federal appeals court may have just saved Kosilek a lifetime of regret.