Mass. Inmate Sex Change Ruling Sparks Debate

By Karen Anderson, WBZ-TV

BOSTON (CBS) – Gunner Scott knows what it’s like to struggle with who he really is. Gunner was born a female, but always knew it wasn’t him. “I was living with all this stress and anxiety and depression,” he tells WBZ-TV.

In his late 20s and early 30s, Gunner experienced the power of successful treatment. He now lives as a man.

“I just want to blend in and be a member of society,” says Gunner. “I’m a much happier person and feel complete.”

Gunner is encouraged by the boldness of Judge Wolf’s decision, to provide an inmate diagnosed with gender identity disorder with a sex change operation.

But he realizes the horrors of Robert, now Michelle Kosilek’s crime, convicted of murdering his wife Cheryl and knows it casts a shadow on the cause of people like him.

He says, “It’s terrible, terrible to have that loss, that’s what complicates this for me personally and for many people in the community.”

“I’m hopeful that it will be appealed immediately,” says Senator Scott Brown.

Senator Brown tried to block Kosilek’s sex change surgery while on Beacon Hill, and now is calling for an appeal.

He says, “I think it’s an outrageous decision, it’s a waste of taxpayer money to have an elective surgery like that.”

Defense attorney Jeffrey Denner believes it’s time to look at limits on expensive treatments.

“It’s a very slippery slope,” Denner tells WBZ-TV. “At some point we have to make decisions when we don’t have enough money to cure all the ills, which ills are we going to consider serious enough to deal with?”

Gunner believes that it is less expensive to treat people, in or out of prison, for their clinically diagnosed disorders. He hopes that people will support treatment.

“We are a civilized society and this is about being humane, and if something is medically necessary if they are in prison or not, they should have access to that,” says Gunner.

There are currently 16 inmates in Massachusetts diagnosed with gender identity disorder, although that doesn’t mean they will all request surgery.

The Attorney General, along with the Department of Corrections, are reviewing Kosilek’s case to decide whether to appeal.

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