Who Pays for Sex Reassignment Surgery?
“They don’t ‘cut it off!’ It just becomes an innie instead of an outtie.” – Felicity Huffman as Bree Osbourne in Transamerica
Denise Lavoie, an Associated Press Writer in Boston reported on the case of a Transgender Inmate Seeking a Sex Change. She writes, “Wearing lipstick, a scooped-neck sweater and nearly waist-length hair, the witness cried while describing what it feels like to be a woman trapped inside a man’s body. ‘The greatest loss is the dying I do inside a little bit every day,’ said Michelle Kosilek, an inmate who is serving a life sentence for murder.”
“Kosilek was Robert Kosilek when he was convicted in the killing of his wife. In 1993, while in prison, she legally changed her name to Michelle. Since then, Kosilek has been fighting for the state Department of Correction to pay for sex-change surgery, which can cost from $10,000 to $20,000. After two lawsuits and two trials, the decision now rests with a federal judge.”
“Kosilek’s case has become fodder for radio talk shows, often provoking outrage among callers on topic of whether the state should pay for a convicted murderer’s sex-change operation. The case is also being closely watched by attorneys and advocates across the country who say Kosilek is an example of the poor treatment transgender inmates receive in prison.”
Ramon Johnson at Gaylife.About.com offers this commentary. He writes, “No one likes to feel trapped- in a bad job, a bad place or a bad situation. Imagine feeling trapped in your own body. The pain of living in heterosexual situations while suppressing same gender loving feelings is destructive enough.”
“For biological men that feel like a woman trapped in a man’s body (or vice versa), the pain and internal conflict is often unbearable. Sex reassignment surgery (often, but less appropriately, called gender reassignment surgery) is the only option for those with psychological and emotional identities trapped in the wrong physical body.”
“Our psychological and emotional identities should match our physical makeup; and for most seeking reassignment- surgery is a need not a want. So, who should cover the cost? Is the burden of sex reassignment a public obligation or solely that of the individual? Or, should the expense be shared?”
What do you think? Should taxpayers have to pay for these operations?
In the State of Washington, Medicaid officials are taking steps to end publicly funded sex-change surgeries. Fox News reports, “While the disorder has been recognized for more than two decades by the American Psychiatric Association, few government or private insurance programs pay for treatment.”
“Washington is one of a few states where sex-change surgeries have been covered. The number here has been small: six during the past 15 years. Medicaid officials said the state has paid for two sex-change surgeries since 2000, at a total cost of about $113,000.”
Most transgender individuals have to save for years in order to afford an operation. I can see if some think a felon doesn’t deserve a state-funded operation, but what about law abiding citizens? Anyone care to comment on the subject?