Wednesday, 18 July 2007

Christian Charity

From the Family Research Council:
A man who now goes by the name of Rhiannon O'Donnabhain is making some outrageous claims--on both his taxes and his identity. In a case scheduled to go before the U.S. Tax Court next week, O'Donnabhain is suing the IRS because they denied his 2001 attempt to write off $25,000 in medical expenses for a sex-change operation. He was initially refunded $5,000, but a subsequent IRS audit demanded he pay back the refund. The IRS has previously ruled that costs related to gender-reassignment surgery are not deductible expenses because that the procedure falls into the realm of unnecessary cosmetic surgery. Attorneys for O'Donnabhain argue that since some in the medical community now classify gender-reassignment surgery as a legitimate treatment for gender identity disorder, the deduction should stand. O'Donnabhain told the reporters, "If I were to give the money back, it would be saying it's OK for you to do this to me." Well, the truth is that it is not OK for American taxpayers to help foot the bill for a sex-change operation. Americans who undergo surgery for life-threatening conditions should be given a tax break to help lighten the load, but treatments based on the latest alternative lifestyle should be filed away.

"Latest Alternative Lifestyle". Ah Me. We have so much work to do, educating people in the medical situation. Sometimes I think we're back in the middle ages, with those born with harelips condemned as the "spawn of satan".

And sometimes people prefer to ignore the evidence, and substitute their own superstitions, not backed by any biblical scholarship, simply because, well, their whole worldview depends on them retaining their bigotry.

I confess I lack Christian Charity. There have been times when I have wished that the people concerned had had a terrible emasculating auto accident, then were refused surgery to re-attach their severed members on the grounds that it was "elective" and "cosmetic". Poetic Justice, yes, but unkind and without mercy. Those of us with similar congenital problems - Intersex or Transsex - should be the last to wish such a terrible fate on anyone.

I can't help it though. Wilful, smug ignorance and deliberate cruelty to the vulnerable makes me incandescent with righteous anger. Too much like those I'm against, who are equally certain that they are in the Right.

Ah me. Whoever said Humans were all sinners was right. Only the amount varies, and the degree to which we struggle against our own worse natures.

More from the Associated Press here, and see also a previous post on the subject.

This isn't an isolated instance of the persecution we face. From The American Daily :
We have to be pro-active, replacing immoral and inhumane values with virtues that protect Life and promote a healthy society.

Getting behind this effort to stop public funding of Sex Change Operations is as good a place to start as any.

From, a conservative and generally sensible site:
No fewer than two dozen congressmen are giving Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Mark Everson until the close of business Feb. 28 to explain why the IRS granted a tax deduction for a sex change operation.

"(A)s members of the United States House of Representatives, we view this as an outrage and believe it sets a precedent that both the IRS and the American taxpayer at large will not be comfortable with," the congressmen wrote to the IRS chief.

It was widely reported in December that the IRS had granted a tax deduction to Rhiannon O'Donnabhain, who claimed her operation was medically necessary because of a diagnosed condition called "gender dysphoria."

The congressmen go so far as to reprint for Mr. Everson a portion of a mental health manual stating that the "psychological" condition that afflicts the woman does not warrant a sex change operation. In addition, the lawmakers point out, the IRS decision to allow the deduction smacks in the face of the law-abiding tax examiner who labeled the woman's surgery "cosmetic."

"Putting this burden on the American taxpayer is unacceptable," the congressmen concluded.
The manual on question isn't mentioned, but given the fact that that conclusion is directly contrary to mainstream psychiatric opinion, and has been for 30 years, I doubt its validity. There also exist obsolete manuals that pathologise the propensity of slaves to run away. They called it Depatemania. Perhaps a holdover from the former Vatican advisor on sexual matters, Prof Paul McHugh?

I'll quote from the Standards of Care put out by the World Professional Association for Transgender Health, the only specialist professional health organisation in the area:
Sex Reassignment is Effective and Medically Indicated in Severe GID. In persons diagnosed with transsexualism or profound GID, sex reassignment surgery, along with hormone therapy and real life experience, is a treatment that has proven to be effective. Such a therapeutic regimen, when prescribed or recommended by qualified practitioners, is medically indicated and medically necessary. Sex reassignment is not "experimental," "investigational," "elective," "cosmetic," or optional in any meaningful sense. It constitutes very effective and appropriate treatment for transsexualism or profound GID.
Despite this clear, unequivocal, and emphasised statement, we still have the problem of Religious medics ignoring the data, and substituting what they think is Right (as opposed to factually correct). And ignorant politicians listen to them.

I hate being an activist. It seems I have to be though.


Anonymous said...

Hmpf. It wasn't the government which paid $25K for the operation, it was Rhiannon. So the government didn't fund the operation. Okay, granted they are (or should be)taking less taxes because it's a medical expense, but that's not the same thing--the operation would have happened regardless of the tax status.

Zoe Brain said...

Those are just facts, and those opposed to us have never been particularly interested in those.

Here, I'll quote from some of the comments over at AOL news:

"****-N-A what is wrong with people? Seriously this dude needs to exterminate himself! I refuse to and am disgusted that this writer reffered to HIM as a she!"

"would't the suicide have been cheaper, not tax-deductible and not wasted the courts time?"

"thats just a guy/lady that needs to bein fuckin shot. how the hell would u expect to get a sex change then have the fuckin government pay for it. IT (as in the person) is retarted. i can even belive they would even try to make the gov. pay for it....stupid person"

That's just on the first 3 pages.

Most of the comments are far more intelligent, but the poll of readers tells the story:

Should sex-change operations be tax deductible?
No 63%
Yes 29%
Not sure 8%
Total Votes: 52,408

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I keep thinking that Universal Franchise was a mistake. To be able to vote, you ought to be able to understand difficult concepts such as Reality exists, regardless of your opinion, and If you don't know what you're talking about, stop talking. However, I can't think of a qualifying test that wouldn't quickly get twisted to exclude the people it's supposed to include.
Someone needs to go ahead and found the Alarishi Empire. I've got my suitcase packed.