NCTE Joins Brief in Michelle Kosilek Case | National Center for Transgender Equality

Blog

Monday, March 4, 2013

NCTE Joins Brief in Michelle Kosilek Case

Michelle Kosilek

The National Center for Transgender Equality is proud to have joined seven other organizations last week in filing a friend-of-the-court brief with the First Circuit federal appeals court in the case of Kosilek v. Spencer. The case, which has received significant public attention in recent months, is the latest in a series in which Massachusetts prison officials have refused to provide medically necessary treatment to transgender prisoners. In September, a federal court ordered the state to provide sex reassignment surgery for Michelle Kosilek after prison doctors determined it was the only adequate treatment for her severe gender dysphoria.

NCTE's position in this case is driven by two core principles: First, that hormonal, surgical, and other medical treatments for gender dysphoria are medically necessary for many people and should be treated like any other medically necessary care, based on the medical needs of an individual as determined by qualified medical providers; and second, that people who are incarcerated and cannot provide for their own care have an unquestionable, constitutional right to adequate medical care. Participation in cases like this one is critical to establishing the legitimacy and necessity of treatments for gender dysphoria and ensuring all people have access to adequate health care in every setting.
Our friend-of-the-court brief, submitted by NCTE together with Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), EqualityMaine, the Human Rights Campaign, MassEquality, Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC), the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, and TransGender New Hampshire, argues that:
  1. The Massachusetts Department of Corrections's actions in denying medically necessary sex reassignment surgery reflect – and, sadly, affirm – the deeply-rooted discomfort with transgender people prevalent in our society. Transgender people are subject to widespread negative attitudes and social disapproval and face discrimination at alarming rates in every sphere of society. Transgender people have not achieved the gains in social acceptance and understanding that lesbians and gay men have; the place of transgender people in our society is more akin to what lesbians and gay men experienced decades ago.
  2.  DOC’s conduct also reflects the disparity between the scientific consensus that sex reassignment surgery is essential medical care and the popular perception that it is frivolous and bizarre. A long history of sensationalized accounts of “sex change” operations from the 1930s to the present has significantly contributed to this public misunderstanding. In fact, there has been a relative scarcity of media that advances in the popular consciousness an accurate medical understanding of the need for sex reassignment surgery and the profound harm caused by withholding such treatment.
Kosilek v. Spencer will be argued before the appeals court in April, and a decision is expected later in 2013 or early 2014.
Read the full brief below or download it here.

[scribd id=128432756 key=key-s8hv8nof39lk69v1vfj mode=scroll]

Tags: 

Join Our Mailing List

   Please leave this field empty