March 13, 2013
GLAD filed an amicus brief in an appeal challenging the Massachusetts District Court ruling that the Commonwealth cannot deny an incarcerated transgender woman, Michelle Kosilek, gender reassignment surgery that multiple doctors determined is essential medical care for her.
At the heart of the District Court decision in Kosilek v. Spencer was a finding that, despite GRS being established medical care, and despite the right of prisoners to necessary medical care being widely settled under the constitution, the Department of Corrections (DOC) “engaged in a pattern of pretense, pretext and prevarication,” to deny Michelle Kosilek the treatment that every DOC doctor to evaluate her had prescribed.
That pattern of pretense, pretext, and prevarication, GLAD believes, cannot be allowed to erode core constitutional commitments to the health and safety of anyone who is incarcerated including, in this case, a transgender woman serving a life sentence.
GLAD’s brief describes the pervasive stigma and discrimination associated with transgender people in general, and with gender reassignment surgery, specifically.