(D)evolving Standards of Decency: The Unworkability of Current Eighth Amendment Jurisprudence as Illustrated by Kosilek v. Spencer – Note by Rachael Rezabek

From Volume 87, Number 2 (January 2014)

Michelle (Robert) Kosilek first exhibited signs of gender identity disorder (“GID”) at the tender age of three years old. An orphan during most of her early childhood, Kosilek would sneak over to the female side of the Catholic orphanage where she lived so that she could “wear girls’ clothing and play with girls”—behaviors for which she received severe physical punishment. Undeterred, Kosilek continued to exhibit signs of GID throughout her childhood and adolescence; she also continued to be abused. As one of her psychiatrist reports stated, “At age 13, [Kosilek] developed what was most likely normal transient gynecomastia. She commented to her mother [who had since removed Kosilek from the orphanage], ‘See? I really am a girl.’ Her stepfather overheard the remark and assaulted her with a broken beer bottle.” After this incident, Kosilek began running away; she left home permanently at age fifteen.



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