31 Harv. J.L. & Gender 447 (2008)
Trans Models in Prison: The Medicalization of Gender Identity and the Eighth Amendment Right to Sex Reassignment Therapy

handle is hein.journals/hwlj31 and id is 449 raw text is: TRANS MODELS IN PRISON: THE MEDICALIZATION
OF GENDER IDENTITY AND THE EIGHTH
AMENDMENT RIGHT TO SEX
REASSIGNMENT THERAPY
ALVIN LEE*
TABLE OF CONTENTS
I.  Introduction  .............................................  447
II.  Trans  M odels ............................................  451
A. The Medical Model: Origins and Current Applications
in  H ealth  Care  ......................................  451
B. The Medical Model and the Law .....................      454
C. Criticisms of the Medical Model ......................   457
D. The Self-Determinative Model ........................    459
Il. The Eighth Amendment: Background and Application to
Trans Prisoners' Right to Sex Reassignment Therapy .......  461
IV. Defending the Medical Model in the Prison Health Care
C ontext  .................................................  464
A. Refuting the Criticisms of the Medical Model ..........  465
B. Affirmative Arguments for the Medical Model in the
Prison  Context  ......................................  468
V. Conclusion: For Broad-Based Advocacy ..................      470
I. INTRODUCTION
Donna Konitzer entered the Wisconsin prison system in 1994 and will
not be eligible for parole until 2026.' A trans2 woman, she has been diag-
* J.D. Candidate, Harvard Law School, Class of 2009. The author would like to
thank Professor Sharon Dolovich for her guidance, Sarah Bertozzi for her editorial sup-
port, and Jennifer Levi, Sharon McGowan, and Cole Thaler for their wisdom, insight, and
tireless advocacy on behalf of trans people.
' Gina Barton, Prisoner Sues State over Gender Rights, MILWAUKEE J. SENTINEL, Jan.
23, 2005, at Al, available at http://www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=295581.
2 Throughout this Note, I use the term trans to refer to all people who feel that the
sex they were assigned at birth does not accurately or adequately describe their present
gender. I do not use trans as an abbreviation for any specific term, such as transgender
or transsexual; rather, I use it as a broad and inclusive umbrella term that applies to the
entire spectrum of people who identify or are labeled as transgender, transsexual, gender-
queer, androgynous, or any other term meant to express non-conformity to sex assigned
at birth. I acknowledge that, because much of this Note focuses on a medicalized con-
ception of gender identity, it may seem that I am only discussing trans people who wish
to receive medical treatment. I want to emphasize, therefore, that when I refer to trans
people, I am referring broadly to all trans people, regardless of whether or not they seek
medical intervention.

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