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Byline: Gina Barton
MILWAUKEE _ A Wisconsin inmate who has developed female characteristics as a result of state-paid hormone therapy is suing prison officials for not completing the sex change process.
The suit is pending in federal court in Milwaukee, filed by an inmate who was born Scott Konitzer but who now uses the name Donna Dawn Konitzer. The plaintiff is serving 123 years for multiple armed robberies and for stabbing another inmate.
The department has been providing Konitzer, 40, with hormone therapy to stimulate female development since 1999 but will not allow genital surgery. Konitzer claims a prison doctor said the surgery would follow the hormone treatments, and the refusal to follow through violates the Eighth Amendment protection against cruel and unusual punishment. However, department policy prohibits the surgery. Konitzer, who looks female because of the hormones, also objects to being housed in male prisons, where male guards do the strip searches and male inmates share communal showers. Konitzer is not allowed to wear a bra or women's clothing.
Advocates say the case's outcome could have implications for prisoners around the country. Some state lawmakers call the hormone treatments a waste of tax money and can't believe the Department of Corrections paid for them in the first place.
Konitzer, who is not eligible for parole until 2026, has been diagnosed with gender identity disorder. People with the disorder have a strong and persistent discomfort with their birth gender and wish to live as the other, according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, a reference book used by mental health …