Sex

Damn the DSM, Full Tax Ahead

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Expenses for gender reassignment surgery not legitimate medical expenses for tax purposes, say the Feds.

reason contributing editor Deirdre McCloskey on her own gender reassignment, from our Dec. 1999 issue.

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  1. Expenses for gender reassignment surgery not legitimate medical expenses for tax purposes, say the Feds.

    Thank god…

  2. Phew! That’ll fill their coffers. They can keep their war going for another ten years with all the cash that will bring in.

  3. *reads the link*

    Ohhhhhhh, I see. Gender Reassignment Surgery is basically the same, and undertaken for the same reasons, as a nose job.

    Gotcha. Those shallow, shallow bitches.

  4. Wouldn’t the tax code be a whole lot more manageable if we just cut out all these loopholes like medical expenses and charitable donations?

  5. Ian C,

    I think the issue is a little deeper than you make it out to be. They can’t help their need to be a different gender any more than you can help your stupidity.

  6. Professor McCloskey is a fantastic person! Really cool!

    hier is the link to her home page where she links to her work – has some really interesting stuff there!

  7. Ohhhhhhh, I see. Gender Reassignment Surgery is basically the same, and undertaken for the same reasons, as a nose job

    Wouldn’t it be nice if that’s what it was. How do you feel about cleft palate operations? Plastic surgery for burn victims? Breast reconstrucion for cancer survivors? Orthodontic surgery? You could chalk all of these up to vanity, but then you’d be an asshole.

    This whole gender reassignment (sex change?) thing creeps me out. But that doesn’t mean it is not medically justifiable. I’m just saying that this is a sticky wicket and we shouldn’t casually dismiss these people with obvious problems.

  8. All right, who took my italics tags?

  9. I might be wrong, but I sensed a note of sarcasm in Ian C’s post.

  10. I might be wrong, but I sensed a note of sarcasm in Ian C’s post

    Could be, It’s difficult to detect in a post sometimes. If so, cue Emily Litela “NEVER MIND”.

  11. 00 ===D

    Ouch!

  12. J sub D | October 3, 2007, 2:21pm | #
    I might be wrong, but I sensed a note of sarcasm in Ian C’s post

    Could be, It’s difficult to detect in a post sometimes. If so, cue Emily Litela “NEVER MIND”.

    Ditto…

  13. [Sarcasm]’s difficult to detect in a post sometimes.

    Indeed. Hence the tentative nature of my comment. 🙂

  14. A friend of mine has an FTM friend who is dating a guy. My friend’s question was, are they gay? I thought it over and just got confused.

  15. All right, who took my italics tags?

    joe, obviously.

  16. Wouldn’t it be nice if that’s what it was. How do you feel about cleft palate operations? Plastic surgery for burn victims? Breast reconstrucion for cancer survivors? Orthodontic surgery? You could chalk all of these up to vanity, but then you’d be an asshole.

    The goal of orthodontic surgery is to fix broken/defective teeth. The goal of plastic surgery for burn victims is to repair a trauma. The goal of gender reassignment surgery is to transform a man/woman into a woman/man. In that end, it is a failure.

    Men who have undergone the treatment retain their Y chromosome. Women are not infused with one. GRS does not make a woman into a man. It makes a woman into a woman doing an impression of a man.

    Additionally, about those with Racial Identity Confusion? Should the state decline to tax someone on money they’ve spent on facepaint?

    If transexuals deserve a deduction for a sexual reassignment surgery that transforms them from Gender A to Gender A’s pretend facsimile of Gender B, then Michael Jackson deserves deductions for all the face-mangling surgeries he used to change from a black man into a white woman’s corpse and so does that woman who turned herself into a replica of Cleopatra’s burial mask.

    Which is not to say that GRS should be banned or even discouraged. It’s simply to say that this group shouldn’t get a tax break that isn’t available to people who are uninclined to submit to voluntary amputation.

    Of coarse, being that tax deductions are often simple bribes to select groups of people (priva legis), we shouldn’t be giving most of them in the first place.

    Quit with the deducting and make with the reducting.

  17. Gender Reassignment Surgery

    For once the PC term is preferable to the ridiculous “sex change operation”.

    And pretty much everything Steve said seconded.

  18. I think the tax attorneys should punt this one to the plumbers guild.

  19. Of coarse(sic), being that tax deductions are often simple bribes to select groups of people (priva legis), we shouldn’t be giving most of them in the first place.

    I disagree with Steve’s assesment of the validity and successfulness of GRS but here he nails it on the head, though I might extend it to “we shouldn’t be giving any out in the first place”.

  20. I disagree with Steve’s assesment of the validity and successfulness of GRS but here he nails it on the head, though I might extend it to “we shouldn’t be giving any out in the first place”.

    Apologies for the typo. I hate that mistake.

    I was going to say “we shouldn’t be giving any out in the first place,” but, due to the outside possibility of a passing accountant with knowledge of some irrefutably superbeneficial deduction, decided to play it safe.

  21. Ohhhhhhh, I see. Gender Reassignment Surgery is basically the same, and undertaken for the same reasons, as a nose job

    Wouldn’t it be nice if that’s what it was.

    The gummint says:
    Respondent’s expert witness, Dr. Park Dietz [of Yates mis-testimony], will testify that GID is not the result of pathology, and therefore is not a disease.

    So, is GID a pathological condition or not?

  22. I disagree with Steve’s assesment of the validity and successfulness of GRS but here he nails it on the head, though I might extend it to “we shouldn’t be giving any out in the first plac

    Including dependent children? (Please say yes, Please. please say yes.)

  23. Park Dietz is an interesting guy, but he’s basically a hired-gun type expert witness who specializes in criminal prosecutions. He’s an expert in gender and mental health the same way I’m an NBA All-Star.

    This is almost certainly just more culture-war crap from the legion of Christian Conservative appointees that the Bushies have saddled government with. It doesn’t even save the government much money.

  24. The amount of pain and effort required to get GRS means it shouldn’t be belittled the way Steve does. No one would go through the unbelievable hostility and effort of a sex change operation/hormone treatments unless it were a deep rooted psychological and hormonal issue. These people were born with “irregular” bodies and if thats not a health issue i don’t know what is.

    The decision to change sex is not as deeply rational as the decision to buy a car or change your skin color in steve’s example.

  25. Professor McCloskey is a fantastic person! Really cool!

    MILF!

    And before anyone asks, obviously I know McCloskey’s not a mother. Everyone knows that mothers aren’t libertarian.

  26. The goal of gender reassignment surgery is to transform a man/woman into a woman/man. In that end, it is a failure.

    Sure, in the same sense that goal of Halloween is to transform children into ghosts and vampires, and in that end, it fails.

  27. The amount of pain and effort required to get GRS means it shouldn’t be belittled the way Steve does. No one would go through the unbelievable hostility and effort of a sex change operation/hormone treatments unless it were a deep rooted psychological and hormonal issue.

    How much greater is the pain and effort required to transform ones’ face into Cleopatra’s death mask (or for that matter, a lizard)? How much deeper are their psychological issues? I can’t find a link to it, but the woman who had this procedure actually had her eye sockets widened, which requires bone removal. Is anything (short of being boiled) more painful?

    I’m not denying that GID exists. I’m not denying that those with GID may want reassignment surgery. I’m not saying they shouldn’t have access. I’m not saying they shouldn’t do it.

    I’m simply saying that they shouldn’t get special tax breaks for an elective procedure, particularly in the furtherance of an illusion (that GRS can make you into a member of the opposite sex–it presently can’t).

    These people were born with “irregular” bodies and if thats not a health issue i don’t know what is.

    This is exactly the problem I have with tax-breaking this procedure. “These people” were not born with “irregular bodies.” At least, not in the way that someone with webbed-feet or one-arm is. The problem is not that they are malformed or (in the case of a burn victim) maimed.

    The problem is that they are unhappy with their properly formed body the way it is. Absent defect or damage, unhappiness–no matter how profound–is not enough to make any plastic surgery to fix non-deformities necessary, though they may decide surgery warrants their election.

    Which is fine. Elective procedures are perfectly legal. Insurance companies are free to cover them if they so choose.

    However, elective procedures really should not warrant tax breaks, since they are about happiness, not necessity.

    Can you really say why the $5,000 one (unhappy) guy spends to make himself less unhappy is taxable and the $5,000 another (significantly more unhappy) guy spends to make himself less unhappy is not? Why are GR surgeries, or even dick-extensions to be tax deductable when a vacation is not? Why do those who seek less-prevalent and more complicated ways of seeking peace of mind get a bribe to do so?

    The decision to change sex is not as deeply rational as the decision to…change your skin color in steve’s example.

    Ignoring the now-apparently-rational decision to change races, the topic is tax breaks.

    Why are rational decisions taxable and irrational decisions not?

    Sure, in the same sense that goal of Halloween is to transform children into ghosts and vampires, and in that end, it fails.

    Which is why dressing up like a ghost doesn’t require a special tax deduction that isn’t available to those who don’t celebrate.

    Maybe Kwix was right in saying, “we shouldn’t be giving any (deductions) in the first place.”

  28. If genders aren’t reassigned, only assignations will be re-engendered.

  29. 8 minute course covering all aspects of GRS:

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=bHlJ7oKYBkc

  30. The problem is that they are unhappy with their properly formed body the way it is. Absent defect or damage, unhappiness–no matter how profound–is not enough to make any plastic surgery to fix non-deformities necessary, though they may decide surgery warrants their election.

    Beyond the quick point that everything psychological is to some extent physiological, fixing “unhappiness” through physiological intervention (mostly drugs in this case) is a common and fairly effective method and a lot of psychological diagnoses are defined with regard to dissatisfaction with symptoms that are normal to experience in a much milder form.

    GRS is somewhat unique in this regard in that rather than try act on a neurological system to remove the disparaty between a person’s sex and the gender they identify with, they work on physiological aspects of the person’s body to make it closer to what they identify with. While incapable of completely changing a person’s sex, it is believed to be the only effective form of pallitation available.

    At what point does the suffering of fustrated desires cross into an actual “medical” condition? The same one at which have enough grains of sand make a heap.

  31. Here’s the big gotcha. Hardly anybody gets to deduct medical expenses anyway. It’s congressional slight-of-hand to fool the taxpayer into believing that meds are deductible, when the rules, floors, minimums, and requirements to actually pay for the meds out of pocket in the year the expense arose, are designed to block most deductions for medical expense. They don’t have the guts to do away with medical expense deductions so they just do away with them without telling you.

  32. “Expenses for gender reassignment surgery not legitimate medical expenses for tax purposes, say the Feds.’

    Holy shit, someone in the federal government actually has half a brain.

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