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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Rhiannon O'Donnabhain demands that the IRS pay for his/her sex change

What would you define as a medically necessary procedure? I'm sure most people would say appendectomies, heart bypasses... things along those lines, right?

Rhiannon O'Donnabhain wants to add sex change to that list.

He/She is suing the IRS when they for denying his/her write-off of $25,000 in medical expenses for a sex change (emphasis mine):

After a tormented existence as a father, a husband, a Coast Guardsman, and a construction worker, a 57-year-old suburban Boston man underwent a sex-change operation. And then she wrote off the $25,000 in medical expenses on her taxes.

But the IRS disallowed the deduction, ruling the procedure was cosmetic, not a medical necessity, in a potentially precedent-setting dispute now before the US Tax Court.

Rhiannon O'Donnabhain is suing the IRS in a case that advocates for the transgendered are hoping will force the tax agency to treat sex-change operations the same as appendectomies, heart bypasses, and other deductible medical procedures. The case is set to go to trial July 24.

An estimated 1,600 to 2,000 people a year undergo sex-change surgery in the United States, according to the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association.

O'Donnabhain, now 63, served in the Coast Guard, got married, helped to raise three children, and worked as a supervisor at various engineering and construction jobs, including the Big Dig highway project. O'Donnabhain said she could have paid back the approximately $5,000 she received in her tax refund, but decided to challenge the IRS because she believes the ruling against her was rooted in politics and prejudice.
"This goes way beyond money," O'Donnabhain said in an interview with the Associated Press. "If I were to give the money back, it would be saying it's OK for you to do this to me. It is not OK for them to do this to me or anyone like me."

The federal Tax Court has never issued an opinion in a similar case, said Jennifer Levi, a lawyer with Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, the Boston-based legal organization representing O'Donnabhain.

But the IRS has ruled against allowing the deduction in at least one other case. In a 2005 case, the IRS ruled the costs of a woman's gender reassignment surgery and related treatments were not deductible as medical expenses. The IRS cited the section of the tax code that says cosmetic surgery or similar procedures are deductible only when they are needed to improve a congenital abnormality, an accident or trauma, or a disfiguring disease.

Where to even begin.

If O'Donnabhain wins, then basically, what will happen is that we, the American taxpayer, will be forced to pay for the choice of transgenders everywhere to disfigure themselves (more on that later). You know, when it comes down to it, if some dude wants to make himself a chick, then that's his/her decision. I don't want to have anything to do with it, and why should I have to pay for it??

Does O'Donnabhain care about that? Noooo! All he/she can worry about is him/herself. He/she wants a sex change, and he/she doesn't want to have to pay for it, and because he/she is considered a "minority", we must all roll over and submit to his/her whims because he/she thinks that otherwise... it isn't fair!

I feel like I'm listening to a five-year-old when I hear this guy/girl go on about how he shouldn't have to pay. All he/she has to do is stamp his/her foot and pout, and we'll be back in kindergarten.

Thing is, a sex change is not a necessary operation. He/she sure may feel like it is, but will he/she die if he/she does not get one? Will his/her heart stop beating? Will he/she cease to breathe? Will brain function desist? I don't think so; therefore, how can it be considered necessary?

Your choice, your money.

Now, here's what really puzzles me about sex changes.

When it comes down to it, is the sex really changed?

I mean, think about it. Just because you castrate some guy and carve a vagina into him and pump him full of hormones, how does that make him female? There is more to a vagina than what you see in Playboy, biologically speaking. Most of it is inside our bodies, not outside. I don't think doctors can add on a cervix, or a uterus, or ovaries, or fallopian tubes, or any of that kind of thing -- just like you can't add on a prostate or testis to a woman.

I guess I could be wrong about that, and I'm sincerely curious as to how that happens if I am wrong, so if anyone is like, an OB/GYN or something reading this and could let me know, e-mail me. :)

Either way, just because you disfigure yourself down there and take a bunch of hormones, it doesn't make you the opposite sex.

As my buddy John Hawkins said, "They have male parts surgically altered to look female. I mean, if they sewed you inside a cow suit and stuck two horns on your head, you wouldn't become a cow!"

All biology questions aside, I still don't think this is something we, the taxpayers, should be forced to pay for just because some selfish prick doesn't want to. Hasn't he/she ever heard the expression "You can't have your cake and eat it, too"? I mean, well gee, I want the government to give me a million dollars, but I bet I couldn't sue them for that and win, could I? And wouldn't it be incredibly selfish for me to do so? But that doesn't matter to O'Donnabhain, does it? He/she will foist that $25,000 tab on us without thinking twice.

Regardless of how you feel about someone getting a sex change, it shouldn't be the taxpayers' responsibility to pick up the tab for them to have a voluntary procedure. That is wrong. And now that O'Donnabhain is suing, he/she's going to suck up taxpayer money even if the case gets thrown out.

I hope the judge laughs him/her out of court.

Rhionnan O'Donnabhain: A Portrait of Selfishness


S.K. Johnson said...

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Anonymous said...

Dear Cassy,

From the accounting point of view your observation is completely wrong. Basically, she doesn't want ANY taxpayer to pay for here treatment. Instead, she wants to DEDUCT the $20k of medical costs so that she does not have to pay taxes on that. it is a BIG difference.

A woman can never be reduced to the sum of her body parts. Aligning one's sole with the appropriate body, should no be everyones business, but a personal matter.



Anonymous said...

Dear Cassy,

I echo what Julie said and would add that the surgical procedure was not to "change a man into a woman." Rather, it was to correct the incongruity between the woman's female brain and her male genitalia. The brain can't be changed, but the configuration between the legs can be.

Imagine if you, a young woman, had been born with a penis! Would you be OK with that, or would you want the penis removed? Or would you have identified as male, simply because you had a penis? Could you really be male? (Think carefully!)

You're young and therefore very black and white in your thinking. With age and experience, I think you'll find that many issues are more complex than you initially realized. Consider youself lucky that you weren't burdened with O'Donnabhain's birth defect, and try not to ridicule/judge her for it. (Gee, I think there's something in the Bible about that.)