Old News: Transgenders and Bathrooms. New News: Taxpayer-Funded Gender Reassignment Surgery

Del. Danica Roem, D-Manassas, Virginia’s first transgender legislator.

by James A. Bacon

I’m surprised this hasn’t caused an uproar yet: In his newly revised budget, Governor Ralph Northam wants to guarantee that transgender enrollees in Virginia’s expanded Medicaid program have access to “gender-affirming” care.

“This is an important equity issue and a critical part of making our commonwealth welcoming and inclusive of all,” Northam spokesperson Alena Yarmonksy told The Virginia Mercury.

The Mercury cites an estimate that 34,500 transgender people live in Virginia, of whom 2,000 are on Medicaid. Medical treatments can range from counseling to hormonal therapy and gender reassignment surgeries. If the General Assembly adopts Northam’s budget language, Virginia would become the 19th state to explicitly state that Medicaid covers transgender treatments.

“Transgender individuals face a tremendous amount of stigma in society,” said Dr. Chethan Bachireddy, the chief medical officer overseeing Virginia’s Medicaid program. “An affirmative policy not only says, ‘This is what we’re doing,’ in a way that’s explicit and public. But it’s also helping to reduce some of the stigma that might be associated with seeking care related to gender dysphoria.”

Gender dysphoria — when a person’s psychological identity doesn’t align with his or her biological sex — exists in all societies. Across most countries, though, it is extremely rare — on the order of one person in a thousand. The ratio varies somewhat country by country. In Thailand, where transgendered people have long been recognized as a third gender and integrated into broader society, the percentage is higher. In Japan, with its intensely conformist culture, it is far lower.

If the Virginia Mercury’s number is accurate — and the Mercury suggests that the number may be under-reported — one in 240 Virginians identifies as transgender, significantly higher than international norms. Perhaps more people are coming out of the transgender “closet.” Alternatively, perhaps there is a faddish element to identifying as transgender. While transgenders may be stigmatized in environments where traditional values prevail, they are surrounded by approval and affirmation in places where progressive values prevail.

Traditionally, American psychology has considered gender dysphoria to be a psychological disorder. But that’s now changing as contemporary American culture throws all sexual and gender roles up for grabs. Rather than dysphoric individuals conforming to society, society now must conform to dysphoric individuals — not only accommodating and approving their gender choices and lifestyles but paying for their gender reassignment surgery.

I’m inclined to believe that gender dysphoria in some instances is real and deeply rooted in the psyches of some individuals and also a transient phenomenon subject to cultural fashions among others. In the U.S. today, the faddish element is particularly prevalent among teenage girls who, in seeking an explanation for stress, anxiety, and depression, often turn to anorexia, bulimia, cutting, and gender dysphoria, among other self-destructive behaviors.

Inclined to libertarian thinking, I don’t really care whether people self-identify as males, females, metrosexuals, girly men, pajama boys, transgenders, or whatever. What they do is their business. That stuff isn’t for me, though, and I’d be upset as hell if one of my children decided he or she were transgender, but it’s a free country. There are some wrinkles to iron out — which bathrooms do transgenders use? do transgenders compete in male or female sports? — but they aren’t earth-shakingly important and we can deal with them.

I draw the line with two things.

First, we as a society should not be subjecting gender-dysphoric children to hormonal therapy or surgery that can permanently alter their appearance. Many supposedly transgendered people are just confused. Many change their minds and regret disfiguring themselves. Pushing transgender treatments on children is downright evil — and I don’t use that word lightly. Just as the commonwealth bans drinking, driving, and other activities for the under-18 crowd, so it should ban transgender treatment. Once people turn 18, well… it’s a free country.

Second, I have big problems with using taxpayer dollars to pay for transgender treatments. If women feel better about themselves by getting breast implants, that’s on them. If men think they will feel more manly by getting penis-enhancement surgery, that’s on them. Same thing with transgenders. If they want to replace their sex organs to align with their sexual identity, that’s on them. Don’t ask for taxpayers to pick up the tab for plastic surgery.

Doubly reprehensible: Using taxpayer dollars to pay for children to receive disfiguring transgender treatments. Hopefully, the General Assembly will have enough sense this year to slap sensible limits on Northam’s Medicaid initiative.

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20 responses to “Old News: Transgenders and Bathrooms. New News: Taxpayer-Funded Gender Reassignment Surgery

  1. As if the cost could be a line item on the budget.


  2. The Old Dominion should change its motto from “Virginia is for Lovers” to “Virginia is for Rent Seekers”.

  3. What’s the surprise? Democrats have a long history of (1) expanding the notion of what constitutes a right; (2) denigrating, limiting, or restricting rights that they dislike or disapprove of (e.g., free speech for others, religious freedom, gun rights); and (3) insisting that taxpayers foot the bill for those rights that are near and dear to Democrats.

  4. ” I don’t really care whether people self-identify as males, females…”

    Two sentences later.

    “…I’d be upset as hell if one of my children decided he or she were transgender…”

    Not only does it take a certain skill to reveal a lie so quickly after telling it (unless you don’t view your children as people, which since you’re a conservative is imminently plausible), but the second part really speaks to the depths of your bigotry on this issue. Most people have a softer stance if an issue ends up affecting one of their children, but not so here. If it’s one of your kids you’d be “upset as hell”, not understanding and supportive. You’re no different than the previous generations of people who opposed gay marriage or before that interracial marriage.

    And since we’re arguing that the government shouldn’t help poor people with medical care if they don’t conform to our biases and bigotries, I’d like to introduce my own. I think it’s absolutely unconscionable that the government allows the manufacture, sale, and promotion of alcohol – it’s an addictive poison with absolutely no unique benefit. As such, the government should stop paying for medical treatment for individuals involved in car accidents where drunkenness was a factor.

    I know in our current moment of social hedonism where drunken debauchery is not just acceptable but often celebrated this will seem like a tough stance. But until the government gets on the right side of alcohol distribution not one cent of my precious tax dollars should go toward these medical bills. After all, drinking and driving are both more choices than someone’s internal mental or physical chemistry, and my proposal would have the actual benefit of saving actual money instead of just being a budgetary rounding error for the sake of punishing people I dislike.

    • “If it’s one of your kids you’d be “upset as hell”, not understanding and supportive.”

      The two are not mutually exclusive.

    • Usually, insurance companies, not the government, pay for the medical care of individuals involved in automotive accidents, including those where alcohol was a factor.

    • It becomes other people’s business when you make them pay for it.

      Which is one of the reasons abortion is so controversial. If you don’t want people to tell you what to do with your body, don’t expect them to pay for it.

    • I agree with UATW that I shouldn’t have to pay for you medical care in any way if you are drunk and in a car accident… And will take this idea a lot further..
      You are a smoker with lung cancer… don’t expect citizens to pick up the expense of your health care… likewise you do drugs including pot, you’re on your own, alcohol related health problems… ditto.. and you’re obese… double dittoes…
      There is no reason any of us should be paying for health care for people who purposely refuse to take care of their health…

  5. In olden times, if your mind did not agree with physical reality, you were considered insane. If a person claimed he was an eagle and was about to demonstrate his flying skills from atop a tall building, he would be restrained.

    • I self-identify as a fighter pilot, and yet the U.S. Air Force REFUSES to allow me to take one of their F-16s out for a spin.

      Completely unfair! After all, who are they to tell me who/what I am? And MY tax dollars paid for that aircraft…

      • When I was a young boy, we used to have air shows we worked concessions at (BSA). I always loved the F-16, made several models of it (can still smell that glue).

        Anyways, I was going to be a pilot then the 3rd grade and glasses smacked with me a dose of reality.

        • “Anyways, I was going to be a pilot then the 3rd grade and glasses smacked with me a dose of reality.”

          Same here – and it was in the third grade for me, too. And I worked my share of air shows as a Civil Air Patrol member.

          I was always partial to the Navy’s F-14. And I loved the F-4. Nothing else on earth makes the same noise as an F-4 Phantom. Growing up in an area which had almost constant military jet traffic, you could tell when it was an F-4 passing over without even looking up.

          • Darn that 3rd grade, I’m calling oppression on that grade.

            I’m from Pennsyltucky didn’t have a lot of traffic through out very small air field. It was a really good experience growing up though, I just remember the F-16 hitting the burners and almost going completely vertical at the end of the runway.

            One year they even flew a F-117A over, obviously didn’t land as it was still classified.

            Your comment about not needing to look up, reminds me of AH-64’s.

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