"I want to put into the law something that there is fairly widespread agreement on," Tarr said yesterday. "That this is a procedure that shouldn't be paid for, especially when the budget is tight and the Department of Corrections is strained to perform basic functions."
If passed, Tarr's bill would prohibit any use of public money to pay for "sex reassignment surgery" for anyone held at any of the state's jails or prisons.
The state couldn't pay for hormone replacement therapy for any person in jail or prison, unless a doctor approved the therapy for something other than a sex-change operation. And it couldn't pay for laser hair removal treatment.
The bill also is backed by Essex County Sheriff Frank Cousins.
"He doesn't feel that is an appropriate use of taxpayer dollars," said Paul Fleming, a spokesman.
There are no Essex County prisoners requesting a sex change, Fleming said.
Here's my reply - one expressing a minority opinion, alas.
I congratulate Senator Tarr and Sherrif Cousins for their courageous and principled stand, sticking to their guns despite all the medical and scientific evidence, and the greatly increased costs to Massachusetts taxpayers of this bill.See a previous post on the Wisconsin situation.
From the World Professional Association for Transgender Health:"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."From the only other state to have this kind of legislation, Wisconsin, which has now spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal costs as the result:"Earlier, Kevin Kallas, a psychiatrist and mental health director for Wisconsin's prisons, testified he opposed the law banning hormones.If this bill was not so immensely costly, their bravery in putting it forward would not have been recognised - although coming as it does with the full support of MassResistance, the Hate Group (You'll find them on the list just under the "Nation of Islam" and the "American National Socialist Workers' Party") that would have been brave enough.
Besides in federal prisons, hormones are given in all of the Midwestern states surveyed by the Department of Corrections, he said. Kallas called hormones a "medically necessary" treatment in some, though not all, cases.
Kallas said patients who are taken off hormones typically need counseling, drugs and hospital stays instead, suicide treatments that are more expensive than the hormones, which cost $675 to $1,600 a year. Kallas said he did not know of any other medical treatment that the state Legislature has banned in prisons."
Now I'm sure that the well-organised GLB (and occasionally T when it's not inconvenient) Massachusetts human rights groups are all over this. Well, maybe not. The sound I hear here in Australia emanating from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts sounds more like crickets chirping.
And in other news, the great state of Tennessee proves yet again why it was the venue for the Scopes Monkey Trial. From the Nashville Scene:
A bill in the legislature that would have made it easier for sex-change recipients to get Tennessee driver’s licenses, passports and other documents died quietly last week thanks to a bizarre amendment by House Republican Leader Jason Mumpower.What wit! I mean, it's not as if we're talking about Real People here, or the effective withdrawal of valid birth certificates from them. They don't matter, they're not real. Not to him, anyway.
Tennessee is the only state in nation with a law preventing sex-change recipients from retroactively revising the sex designation on their birth certificates to correspond with their new gender identity. The law makes it difficult for those who have undergone such surgical changes to get driver’s licenses and other documentation, because obtaining such critical documents invariably requires a birth certificate.
This year, a group of House Democrats sponsored legislation that would have dispensed with this piece of unnecessary moralizing, er, law. The Dems withdrew the bill after Mumpower attached an amendment that would have essentially created a new category of sex.
“A birth certificate can be amended with the designation MTF,” Mumpower tells the Scene, “designating male to female, or FTM designating female to male.”
Asked why Tennessee would need such specificity when no other state or the federal government requires it, Mumpower says, “I’m not a representative in any other state.”
Just apart from the transsexual issue, what about people who are Intersexed, and whose BC gender has since been found to be medically incorrect? Are these to be mislabelled in this way?
It's worth noting that Senator Tarr is a member of the House Ethics Committee, and also the Bristol TN/VA Rotary Club. The Rotarian 4-way test in ethics is as follows:
* Is it the truth?No more need be said.
* Is it fair to all concerned?
* Will it build good will and better friendships?
* Will it be beneficial to all concerned?
The story is misleading in one way though. While it is true that Tennessee is alone in having a law expressly forbidding correcting the gender on birth certificates, both Idaho and Ohio don't allow it either, as a matter of policy or as the result of court decisions. Ignorance and Bigotry is not the province of Tennessee alone.