MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Opinion

February 23, 2013

Fight sex-change lawsuit

— Oklahoma should vigorously fight a lawsuit filed by a convicted rapist who says the state should pay some medical expenses involved in a sex-change operation.

The inmate, Ronny Edward Darnell, says he was born a woman in a man’s body.

The lawsuit states Oklahoma should pay for hormone treatments, laser hair removal, and counseling as part of his transition from male to female.

Darnell says the state is denying medical treatment for his “serious medical need.”

Gender identity disorder is considered a legitimate psychological disorder.

And states have long been held responsible for treating inmates with medical conditions.

But Darnell’s medical condition is not the same as diabetes or cancer.

His condition is not life-threatening.

The state should help him with psychological therapy.

But his lawsuit could lead to the state paying for his sex-change operation. And that’s going way too far.

Darnell is imprisoned in Helena after being convicted of repeatedly raping a 13-year-old girl in 1997.

Darnell’s claim that failing to pay for hormone therapy has put him into “a deep depression and gives him anxiety attacks on a daily basis” falls on deaf ears when compared to the needs of the girl — now a woman — that he raped.

Some may say that Darnell switching from male to female would be a good thing for a convicted rapist — much like chemical castration.

But remember, rape is not as much about sex as it is about violence. There are no guarantees that the demons inside Darnell are exorcised by a new appearance.

Prisons are for paying your debt to society, not for having society pay for your sex change.

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