- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 11, 2006

BOSTON (AP) — A convicted murderer who says he is a woman trapped inside a man’s body told a federal judge last week that he feels distressed “every waking moment” because prison officials refuse to pay for a sex-change operation.

Robert Kosilek, 57, who was sentenced to life in prison for strangling his wife in 1990, is suing to force the state to pay for the surgery. In 1993, he legally changed his name to Michelle Kosilek.

Wearing makeup and a feminine sweater with jeans to court, Kosilek cried Thursday while describing to U.S. Circuit Court Judge Mark Wolf how he grew up feeling like a “circus freak.”

If state prison officials refuse to allow the procedure, “I would not want to continue existing like this,” said Kosilek, who has attempted suicide twice.

Kosilek sued the state in 2000, saying its refusal to provide the surgery violated the Eighth Amendment right against cruel and unusual punishment. In 2002, Judge Wolf ruled that Kosilek was entitled to receive medical treatment for gender-identity disorder. Since then, Kosilek has received taxpayer-provided female hormone treatments, laser-hair removal and psychotherapy.

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