Situation of jailed, transgendered man insensitively handled.

by Beacon Staff • March 19, 2008

Dear Editor,

Your decision to reprint the blurb, "The Prison Bitch" [Feb. 26, "News Briefs"] was offensive. Referring to a woman as a "bitch" for being in an all-male environment is disgusting, but doing so because she does not match up to your standards of womanhood is deplorable.

Did you reprint the story because you felt that it was important that people know how bigoted the prison system can be towards transgendered people, or because you thought Michelle Kosilek's supposed "freakishness" was news in itself, something for readers to laugh at?

Based on the description of her body featured, I'm guessing you intended the latter. You must not be aware that gender dysphoria is a mental state almost universally recognized by psychiatrists in this country, one best treated by hormones and surgery, not psychiatric drugs. In multiple articles easily found online concerning the case, it's noted that a psychiatrist who had met with Kosilek testified that Kosilek will kill herself if she doesn't get the surgery the government is denying her.

Despite this, The Beacon seems more concerned about playing up the details of her regressing body for shock value instead of addressing the real issues involved.

The notion that this woman is somehow less-than-human simply because she is transgendered runs counter to both the standards of Emerson College and that of a reputable newsroom.

-Kasey Hariman

Class of 2009

Media Studies Major