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.