Cory Morgan, author of yesterday’s aforementioned witless post about being opposed to funding gender reassignment surgery, has responded in similarly witless fashion. Suffice it to say he starts off with a reference to Comic Book Guy on The Simpsons – fresh and original! – then goes into a comparison between transsexuals and comic book fans which I am sure had his blog audience rolling in the aisles, except all the comments I see on it seem to be from people I know found him through me and they aren’t so much his audience as they are a newfound crop of antagonists. Although I’m fairly sure he’s happy to get any attention he can manage.
But I don’t really care about his insults about being a comic book fan (OH NOES, THE RIGHTY BLOGGER SEZ I AM A SEXLESS NERD, MY LIFE, IT IS LAID BARE). What I do want to briefly take issue with is this:
A line gets crossed when one is asking me as a taxpayer to fund their pursuits however. I do not and never will support public funding for surgery that simply is not medically required.
Gender reassignment surgery – even in private care situations – is not handed out willy-nilly because of the enormous liability issues it presents (and it is right and proper that those liability issues exist for such a serious, life-altering elective procedure). That’s why there are only eight to ten surgeries performed in Ontario per year.
And those surgeries are medically required, the same as pharmaceutical therapy is often required for those with mental health issues. Does Cory Morgan take issue with poor people being prescribed anti-schizophrenic medication? Anti-depressants? Mood stabilizers? After all, it’s entirely possible for people to function – for a given definition of “function” that is not very functional, but oh well – without those drugs, which artificially alter one’s neurochemistry to an extent that the differences between it and surgery are merely semantic.
They will just be, at the very least, chronically unhappy, anxious, and depressed. But they’ll be alive!
And transgenderism isn’t simply a mental health disorder. Know how I know that? Because we used to classify it as one, and tried to “cure” transsexuals of wanting to be a different gender, and it didn’t work. It simply resulted in greater anxiety and depression, and their psychological costs fiscally outstripped many times over what the surgery would have cost. Where gender reassignment surgery is necessary – and, again, it is worth noting that it is only necessary in a tiny number of cases – it is considered so because it is the best way to ensure that the patient enjoys the maximum and highest quality of life that is available to them, the best way to reduce their suffering and anguish to a minimum.
I would further note that my experience in this area is far from academic, because a friend of mine is transgender. She (male-to-female transsexual) actually works at one of the comics shops I frequent, which I am sure would make Cory giggle over his comparison once more. (Although I’m pretty sure she gets laid more than he does, and also has better clothing sense for that matter.) I’ve known her long enough that I knew her when she was still using her male name reluctantly, because she was scared of how people might react if she used her chosen female name, and when I confirmed by asking her if she was transgender, I said “so why didn’t use just tell me to call you (female name)?” and her expression was visibly relieved.
That relief is something for which that people should not have to work. That is why gender reassignment surgery is indeed medically necessary in certain cases. People deserve the right to feel comfortable in their own skin, and if medical intervention is necessary, then so be it.