Home / Culture and Society / Berkeley City Council Paying For Sex Change Operations Is Ridiculous

Berkeley City Council Paying For Sex Change Operations Is Ridiculous

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The Berkeley City Council plans to vote on Feb. 15 on whether or not to give to city employees $20,000 of tax payers’ money for sex change operations.

Berkeley wants to make the money available, because Kaiser and Health Net won’t cover the operation. The operation could cost up to $50,000.

The money would be given on a first-come, first-serve basis. The person who wishes to use the money must have worked for the city for at least a year and have lived in his or her desired gender for at least a year.

The city said the policy is “to be fair and equitable to all of its relations with its employees and applicants and any form of discrimination based on race, religion, sex, political belief and other categories.”

Berkeley’s neighbor, San Francisco, has provided money for sex change operations for 10 years.

I have nothing against people who are transgendered. In addition, I believe that the surgery should be made available. However, using tax payers’ money for the surgery is beyond ridiculous. It is not up to the citizens of Berkeley to pay for one man or woman’s sex change.

One argument for allowing the money to go toward sex changes is that it is a mental health thing. I understand that, but the person having the operation should have to pay for the surgery out of their own pocket.

For example, let’s say I hate my nose. My nose causes me mental distress. I can’t work, because I can’t stop thinking about my nose. Now, is it fair to ask the tax payers of Berkeley to pay to fix my nose? Absolutely not.

Another problem is that this money could be used for other things. $20,000 may not seem like a lot, but money doesn’t grow on trees and the city of Berkeley could do a lot with $20,000. What’s more important: paying for one person’s gender identity problem or fixing pot holes? What about gender operation vs. helping homeless youth? In my book, pot holes and homeless youth win.

I guess my main problem with the sex change proposal is not that the money is going toward someone’s transgender operation, but rather because it’s the tax payers’ money.

I understand that Berkeley is a very liberal city, but spending money for this is going too far.

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About Maddy

  • Glenn Contrarian

    looks like Mickey doesn’t know that there are people who are one sex, but whose chromosomes are that of a different sex. He probably doesn’t know that there are natural-born hermaphrodites either. While both of these are quite rare, all it takes is the existence of ONE to disprove that God would never allow it to happen.

  • troll

    so – mickey’s convinced…that’s another one down and six billion to go (optimistically speaking that is)

    frustration – disillusionment – boredom…it’s a dirty job but steady work

  • Mickey, grow up. God didn’t make anything because it doesn’t exist. Please don’t abuse scientific knowledge by mixing it in with baseless superstition.

  • mickey

    they can change a lot to their bodies on the outside and inside a little. But God made us the way he wanted us. How do I know? It’s called “DNA” you can’t change your DNA. You may look, act, dress like you’re a woman but DNA doesn’t lie!

  • Genna

    I totally disagree with this whole sex-change thing. Theres a reason why we were born they way we were. Put are taxes towards somthing eles .. school , Charity ect.

  • Emelye Waldherr

    If Berkeley pays for or provides insurance for other medical procedures then why should genital realignment surgery be discriminated against? Science now knows that physical issues can manifest themselves in psychological symptoms. Transsexual people fall within that category. The treatment they receive is an established and proven therapy that has the support of mainstream medical organizations like the American Medical Association. Denying an effective therapy for a recognized and serious medical condition just because you don’t like it is, in my opinion, cruel.

  • I’d be more apt to take a job with a city that has a chance of staying financially solvent and paying for elective surgeries like this are sure to kill any city’s budget!

    Not necessarily, Andy. If you look at the first news item Maddy links to, it says that a report Berkeley City Council had commissioned concluded that it would be cheaper to create a special fund, as they are proposing, than to add it as a health benefit.

    Also, read comment 9. Zoe gives no citations, but if true it also works against your hypothesis.

    Would it be more fair to say that the city should decline to pay for ANY elective surgery?

    Yes, I would say so. Although declining on grounds of appropriate use of funds is what doesn’t wash with me. Appropriate as opposed to what, for example?

  • And Ruvy – that would be brain implants, not transplants…gotta have one to swap out for a transplant!

  • And to comment #4 – if wanting to have your outtie changed to an innie isn’t a mental health issue than what the fuck is?!??!

  • I’d be more apt to take a job with a city that has a chance of staying financially solvent and paying for elective surgeries like this are sure to kill any city’s budget!
    Would it be more fair to say that the city should decline to pay for ANY elective surgery?

  • In one ear and out the other as usual, Irv…

    Neither the City of Berkeley, nor anyone who’s so far commented on the article, has claimed that sex changes were a fundamental right. That’s a discussion for a different thread.

    For myself, my principal observations were twofold: first, that declining to pay for an employee’s sex change is discriminatory if your only reason for doing so is that it’s public money. And second, Berkeley here appears to be motivated entirely by capitalistic considerations: to have a benefits package that’s competitive with their big neighbor across the Bay.

    Put it this way: if you were a transgendered public sector worker living in the Bay Area, and you were considering job offers from the City of Berkeley and the City of San Francisco, and you were also considering gender reassignment surgery… which offer would you be more likely to accept, given the status quo?

  • For all of you who think that transgender operations are a good thing, that they are a fundamental right and as such must be provided and paid for by the state. I say chew on these two thoughts:

    Marx said that history, I paraphrase here, starts out as tragedy and ends up as farce.

    However I prefer Napoleon who said,

    “Du sublime au ridicule il n’y a qu’un pas.”

    Literally: From the sublime to the ridiculous is but a step away.

  • San Francisco started paying for this surgery – and charged everyone an addotional $1.87 in premiums.
    Then they found out that it didn’t need that much. So they cut it to $0.02.

    Then they found out that it SAVED THEM MONEY – they weren’t paying for treatment by psychs, anti-depressants, ER visits due to suicide attempts, costs which exceeded $5,000 per patient per year.

    It was cheaper to provide surgery and cure the condition, rather than try to “manage” it without surgery. Saved the taxpayers a few dollars a year, but it all counts.

    The only reason for not providing surgery as part of a comprehensive medical package is ideological, not financial. Wanting them to suffer, not be cured. This is a product of a highly transphobic report to the Federal Government by a radical Leftist in the early 80’s, that stated that transsexuals were agents of the Patriarchy invading women’s spaces, and should be “morally mandated out of existence”. Insurance companies followed suit in an orgy of political correctness.

  • I think it’s worthwhile to be wary of knee-jerk reactions here. I confess that my first thought, too, was that this would be an inappropriate use of tax dollars. But this is a case where a little bit of nuanced consideration might be healthy, if only to exercise the mind. It’s lazy thinking to scoff that this is just mindless ideology at work.

    Berkeley says that the proposed policy is to ensure that no-one gets discriminated against. If you want to argue that they shouldn’t pay for an employee’s sex change because it’s not something that an employer ought to pay for, then fine. But it is discriminatory if the reason for not funding it is simply that the employee works for a public agency as opposed to a private company.

    If subsidized sex changes for employees of the City of Berkeley aren’t an appropriate use of tax dollars, then what is? Salaries? Health insurance? 401k matching? Parking passes? An annual Christmas luncheon? Where do you draw the line?

    Bear in mind, also, where Berkeley is, and the demographic makeup of the people that live and work in the area. Maddy mentions that the City of San Francisco, just across the Bay, has already covered gender reassignment procedures for ten years. Doesn’t it then make sense for Berkeley to offer the same if that’s what will make their benefit package competitive?

    Couple of other things: Dana, Maddy is right that being transgendered is a “mental health thing”. The DSM may be trying to get away from the notion that wanting to be a different gender is a sickness, but being a woman trapped in a man’s body (or vice versa) almost always causes enormous amounts of mental anguish, confusion, depression and can even lead to suicide. There are plenty of accounts of this out there if you’re still sceptical.

    Finally, Irv, having a sex change does not necessarily mean you can’t reproduce, if you plan ahead. A male-to-female transsexual can freeze his sperm, for example, or a female-to-male transsexual might make the external transformation but keep her uterus and ovaries.

  • Maddy, Maddy, Maddy.

    Don’t you understand this is simply how liberal-progressive commie-lib/simp, pinko-lefty, anti-American, anti-Christian, anti-traditionalist values and morality, Marxist leaning, redistribution of wealth, anti-capitalist; morons, cretins, imbeciles and idiots actually think?

    And that this is simply what they do? For this is precisely the purpose why God has put them here on earth – wait a minute, they don’t believe in God. Wrong purpose.

    But at any rate, if they want to cut-cut, snip- snip, and lop it off in order to satisfy their desire to mutilate their own bodies irreversibly; don’t they have that right? I mean their body, their right? No?

    And if it’s a right, then aren’t we responsible to provide them the wherewithal toward that end? But isn’t it also, if it truly is their right, our moral responsibility to pay for them to irreversibly mutilate themselves in order to become a he-she-it-thang?

    I mean it’s their reproductive right and our moral responsibility and duty to support them, and oh yes, to pay for the really “big op” too. And then again for the lifetime, expensive medical attention that they will need, and of course, the intensive also rather expensive, required mental health care too.

    Just a silly little question here, for you see I’m somewhat confused. If they do have the really “big op” doesn’t that literally destroy their ability to reproduce – you know don’t you, that the really “big op” is irreversible? So once one cuts-cuts, snips-snips, they lose their reproductive right – for ever!

    But don’t you dare listen to that silly, rational, logical nonsense. It’s still their right and therefore our moral duty and responsibility to help, support and provide for them. Which means we are morally obligated and bound to pay and pay and pay till they expire and most probably after that too.

    Look here any liberal-progressive knows that this is necessary and right, because it is fundamentally enlightened, because it makes us civilized and thereby advances our culture and very civilization forward to new and ever greater empyrean heights of ever so uber intellectual sophistication and cultural enlightenment. And that makes us truly wise, as in guys, which further makes us truly enlightened, super sophisticated, cultivated and literate wise guys and gals, dudes and dude-ettes. Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah.

    And so therefore only callous and insensitive, mean-spirited and heartless and cruel; rabid, foaming-at-the-mouth, knuckle-dragging, extra “y” chromosome, troglodyte, neanderthal, regressive, reactionary conservatives (such as myself); could possibly oppose such a necessary and thoroughly rightful, rather expensive operation (but rather silly and thoroughly superfluous medical procedure) such as this.

    So shame on all you conservative bean-counters and reactionary troglodytes – shame, shame, shame. How dare you question the utter humanity and brilliant sophistication of this, the utter enlightenment, superior cultivation and highly acculturated progressivity, wise and providential fairness, and utter, complete, total and absolute wisdom of this!

    But what if say, you wanted to become a she-he-it-thang so you could f..k all of ’em he-she-it-thangs? What then? Well then it becomes quite personal, doesn’t it? But not to worry cause liberals jess wanna halppp yooh. That’s all they wanna do, they jess wanna halppp yooh. So cut them slack and let them…halppp yooh.

    And all of you out there who oppose the Berkeley City Council; stop being such homophobic, racist, sexist, ageist, anti-women and children and minority, haters and downright “meanies” and whatever else politically incorrect “ists” you are. Or else, or else…I’ll slap you with my very, very expensive, designer pursey-wursey! Or is that my purthy-wurthy?

  • Maddy Pumilia

    Dana, the argument of that it’s mental health thing was not something I made up. Someone on the news who wanted Berkeley to fund sex changes used it as a reason to fund it.

    And no, I don’t think that transgender is a disease or a disorder, but I do think that it can cause mental distress, because the person transgendered have to deal with constant persecution.

  • Dana Taylor

    After reading the rest of your article I feel embarrassed to ever have left a comment. You compare this to a nose job? Are you serious?

  • Dana Taylor

    One argument for allowing the money to go toward sex changes is that it is a mental health thing. I understand that,”

    No, you really don’t understand it. Did you know the new DSM is removing that? Just like they did for homosexuality?

    Before you try and claim to understand something please go and actually try and understand it.

  • Hmm. Look at it this way. If this were not Berkeley City Council, but a private company like Google offering to pay for employees’ sex change operations, would this be such a big deal? Or would it just be an unusual (and unusually generous) feature of the benefit package?

    In that context, I’m not sure it’s any more objectionable to ask taxpayers to pay for a city employee’s sex change than it is to ask them to pay for a city employee’s health insurance.

  • No they won’t Ruvy, that’s too rational and logical for them to fathom. As well as bourgeois, regressive, sexist, racist, homophobic, ageist an unenlightened, especially unenlightened!

  • Ruvy

    Next up! Berkeley City Council will pay for brain transplants!