This is a tough one.
Robert Kosilek aka Michelle is convicted of murdering his wife. The judge instructed Kosilek to be granted and provided a sex change operation, since it’s the only adequate treatment for his gender identity disorder.
Most of the reactions to the judge’s ruling were extremely negative, and even vicious. Many instructed the judge to receive treatment for his mental disorder. Those who were in favor were an extremely small minority.
What to do?
Michelle/Robert Kosilek tried to commit suicide. He also tried to castrate himself. There’s no doubt that Robert cannot live with a male identity. Since many health insurance companies provide for gender change operations, we can see it’s a commonly allowed medical expense.
Moreover, we assume that prisoners – even serial killers, are going to receive treatment for illnesses, such as cancer, which can easily reach beyond the hundreds of thousands of dollars, depending on the severity of the disease.
But, in a time when the economy is faltering; when people are hurting financially, and with many people unaccepting of transgenders – this case is creating a hateful reaction.
Like it or not, living in a body that feels like an aberration is an extremely painful existence. The issue seems to revolve around our feelings towards prisoners, the money spent on them, and probably much more so because Michelle nee Robert is a murderer.
Would we have been more sympathetic if she were incarcerated for stealing food for her starving children? I don’t know.
Or maybe our negativity has to do with our aversion to transgenders in general, and castration in particular?
I only know that this issue elicited a volume of hate mail, the intensity of which was shocking (to me).
I wonder – would the reaction have been less extreme if the country was prospering? Or would the reaction have been more charitable if we had more exposure and familiarity to the issues and the pain of the transgender population?
Would the reaction to the Kosilek case be different if we looked at prisons as more than just a place to put people away, but rather as a place which has a declared purpose to rehabilitate?
In the meantime, the judge whose ruling was to allow the operation, is getting more hate mail than the murderer. I guess we want our judges to represent our long-held beliefs, and this time the crowd is shouting “NO”.
I purposefully held back from expressing my opinion.