Angry legislator proposes bill to pay for all sex reassignment surgeries to ‘make a point’

Rep. Jim Lyons is toying with trans people (Photo: Boston Herald)

Rep. James Lyons is toying with trans people (Photo: Boston Herald)

THE GUERRILLA ANGEL REPORT — Don’t be mislead — this legislator isn’t on the side of trans people — he’s toying around with us. Massachusetts state Rep. James Lyons, a Republican, is proposing this bill out of anger in reaction to a federal judge awarding legal fees to transgender convict Michelle Kosilek’s attorneys.

As you may recall, U.S. District Judge Mark Wolf ruled that denying Kosilek sex reassignment surgery (SRS) amounted to cruel and unusual punishment and ordered that the surgery be performed. He later ordered the state pay Kosilek’s attorney fees.

Rep. Lyons said he is trying to make a ‘profound point’ of his disagreement with the judge’s decisions by the introducing of a bill to pay the expense of SRS for all transgender people in the state. He wouldn’t say if he thinks it’ll pass.

Lyons: “The hard working citizens who follow the rules and pay their taxes do not qualify for benefits like this. If we provide extravagant benefits like this to a vicious murderer, then why deny them to the law abiding citizenry? . . .”

Stopping cruel and unusual punishment is not an extravagant expense.

Rep. Lyons is playing a dangerous game here. He’s using transgender people as pawns. Many trans people already live under dire circumstances — both physically and mentally. Toying trans people around like this is cruel. There should be consequences for Rep. Lyon’s reckless behavior.

More about Michelle Kosilek and the rulings by Judge Mark Wolf:

More about Rep. Lyon:

Rep. Jim Lyons is toying with trans people (Photo: Boston Herald)

Rep. James Lyons is toying with trans people (Photo: Boston Herald)


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Categories: Discrimination, Equality, Civil Rights, Legislative, Transgender, Transsexual, Trans

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15 replies

  1. Sarcasm in dealing with people’s lives (trans people) is sick and disgusting!!

  2. The irony is that he is right. The sadness is that he is also right about how people view us. Freaks.

  3. Yes, this guy is mocking us and I just hope that this does pass so we can get the SRS. What would happen if it did pass? I am willing to be mocked if it backfires on him and I get closer to being me.

  4. I thought Mass. Had universal health care. Shouldn’t it already be covered since the AMA says that it’s medically correct and necessary treatment for those that desire it?

  5. The decision regarding Michelle Kosilek was a stupid one. If I had been the judge, I would have said you’re right, it IS cruel and unusual punishment to deny a transgender person the right to surgery, however that does NOT apply to a convicted killer, so you lose, sorry. Instead, we will be giving the surgery that you would have had to someone who HASN’T been convicted of cold blooded murder.

    • Except that that’s the definition of cruel and unusual punishment, which I believe even convicted felons can sue the state for. No one should be denied this surgery if they have been diagnosed with Gender Dysphoria. That DOES apply, to everyone. I hope the bill backfires on this guy and the (trans*) people of Massachusetts get their chance at it.

      • This is equalivilent to stating that I have been suffering from cruel and unusual punishment at the hands of the state because they won’t pay for my medical expenses. I understand that when a person is incarcerated they are no longer free to make their own choices (they have no ability to finance their transition, nor the freedom of movement to actualize it); but as a non incarcerated individual I cannot access most transition procedures either.

        I don’t want to force people to pay for my healthcare (taxation), and I certainly do not want to live in a place where one must wait a very long time (possibly years) to even obtain HRT.

        Instead, it makes sense to address the issues that make healthcare so expensive, namely non-sensical regulations.

        As for people such as Michelle Kosilek, they should be free to access essential non-emergency medical surgeries as long as they can sponsor said surgeries (e.g. through donations).

    • “cruel and unusual punishment to deny a transgender person the right to surgery, however that does NOT apply to a convicted killer,”

      But you’re wrong. Human rights apply if you are human, not just if you’re not a murderer. If you accept that it is cruel and unusual then by definition it shouldn’t happen to anyone. She is already serving her sentence, and that’s the punishment. You’re not allowed to arbitrarily make things worse for people just because of their crime. Why should she suffer more in prison than a non-trans inmate? Looked at this way, it isn’t just.

      • I find this difficult myself. More than most I well know that SRS is not elective or cosmetic surgery. But consider. It is possible to survive without it, many trans people do even though it can be very unpleasant indeed. I suppose you might compare it to a woman who has a mastectomy due to breast cancer. No one would argue that breast augmentation for such a person is something other than mere cosmetic surgery. On the other hand, do we really need to make convicted murderers that comfortable? I understand the logic of providing the surgery for her, but it bothers me and on balance I cant support it.

    • Whether one agrees or not, the decision has already been made that in Michelle’s case, denying her SRS is cruel and unusual punishment. Yes, it’s true, Michelle is a convicted murderer. But what about those in jail dubiously, like CeCe McDonald, or perhaps someone entirely innocent? Nobody should be subject to cruel and unusual punishment.

  6. MA does not cover it yet. We are hoping that case, as well as the one in NY, will set a precedent for that. I live in MA and my insurance does cover my HRT and care, but not SRS.

    I’ve commented on several forums related to that court case, where people were either totally against trans folks, or were supportive, but did not think the inmate should get SRS because of her crime. In other words they are still seeing it as “elective surgery” or “cosmetic surgery” which it is NOT.

    I explained to them that I have worked in that system, and that all inmates receive the same care. I never once referenced someone’s crime to determine whether they should see the doctor or dentist. If they have a medical complaint, they see the doctor. If the doctor says they need medically necessary procedures or surgeries they receive those. How they got themselves into the correctional system is never the determining factor.

    It would be ludicrous to say “Oh wait, you have a broken rib, but you’re doing time for armed robbery? Sorry, no….”

  7. Thanks for your comments everyone!

  8. I think this guy is either an idiot and misunderstanding the situation, or he is purposefully stirring up confusion. Republicans are prone to both stupidity and lying, so I’m not entirely sure which it is.

    But, it seems to me, that he is suggesting that the state was forced to pay for the medical procedure. That is a lie. Kosilek’s insurance company helped to pay for the procedure, which was already planned before Kosilek became a convict. The matter here was whether or not Kosilek would be forcibly kept from having the procedure that was already planned, as a form of punishment for being a criminal. No other criminal gets denied something like say, a dental check-up already planned, as part of their punishment. That is why it is cruel and unusual punishment to deny Kosilek the sex-change surgery.

    The only thing the state was forced to pay for, was the attorney charges they were planning on not paying for, for a hearing that was brought about because of the discrimination and cruel and unusual punishment they committed.

    Any other person, if they were not transgender, would have had those attorney charges paid for by the state without a question. According to the Gideon v. Wainwright court case, state or federally paid legal counsel upon request is a fundamental constitutional right. That goes for everyone.

  9. BTW, not trying to compare a sex change to a dental check-up. Obviously a sex-change is a much bigger procedure. I’m just making the point that pretty much no criminal can be denied any health care procedures, no matter how big or small, as a form of punishment. Ever. And if Kosilek wasn’t trans, the state wouldn’t even be considering excluding a medical procedure as a form of punishment.

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