US Congressman Barney Frank does not believe his home state of Massachusetts should pay for sex-reassignment surgery for a convicted murderer.
A federal court recently ruled that the state must foot the bill for transgender inmate Michelle Kosilek who is serving a sentence of life in prison without the possibility for the 1990 murder of her wife in 1990.
The court ruling is being appealed by Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and Frank said Monday (1 October) that he agrees with the move.
'I think it should be clear she has a right to present herself as a woman, and that should be honored by the prison system,' Frank tells Metro Weekly.
But Frank, the first openly gay US congressman in history, does not believe his state's taxpayers should have to pay for the surgery.
'There are other medical procedures that are denied to convicted murderers,' said Frank who believes Kosilek should find another way to pay for the operation.
But the Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders believes the opposition to Kosilek is discrimination.
'Constitutional rights belong to everyone, even the least loved, least popular people among us,' says the group's Transgender Rights Project director Jennifer Levi. 'Prisoners have a right to necessary medical care, and this is indisputably medical care, as the very strong district court decision established.'