What is a right? We often hear politicians running for office standing on their soapboxes and preaching to the masses about individuals’ rights and how they, if elected, will make sure their constituents get what they are owed. The distinction between what is just and what is privileged is blurred, and now more confusing than ever. Prisoners, for example, do have some rights: food, shelter, health care. But, when it comes to medical issues, should the taxpayers be forced to fund transgender reassignment surgery? Apparently, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) now thinks so.
At a recent LGBTQ town hall meeting, Warren received thundering applause for stating that the gender reassignment surgery should be provided free of charge to transgender prisoners: “gender-affirming surgery,” she said was “important and the appropriate medical care.” This is a direct about-face from her 2012 statement: “I don’t think it’s a good use of taxpayer dollars.” Fauxcahontas backpaddled and asked forgiveness for the earlier statement, saying it had been a “bad answer.”
“I believe that everyone is entitled to medical care and medical care that they need and that includes people who are transgender who – it is the time for them to have gender-affirming surgery.”
But is reassignment surgery a medical necessity? Opposers relegate the surgery as akin to aesthetic procedures such as face-lifts or breast augmentation. A female with a small bust may feel inadequate and uncomfortable and may choose to enlarge her breasts. Is this necessary for the continued health of the individual? No, not physically. But it plays a part in mental health, which is what Warren and those who support such nonsense base their logic on.
However, this same female, who is satisfied with her birth sex, would not get the equal option to surgically adjust her physical appearance. Although, if she identified as a male, supporters like Warren would be howling at the moon, demanding taxpayers to pay for her change. As a born female, this woman’s insecurities and desire to physically alter her body while in prison would be considered nothing more than cosmetic. And the incarcerated are not there to have their wishes and desires met; they are there for punishment for a crime against society – the same society Warren expects to foot the bill for their physical alterations.
How Much Would It Cost the Taxpayers?
We could sit here and debate what prisoners are entitled to all we want, but let’s get down to the nitty-gritty and see just how much it would cost us to help transgender people feel better in their bodies.
Reassignment surgery isn’t just a trip to a clinic or hospital and – poof – you’re transformed. There are a lot of steps – costly steps – that precede the actual procedure. At least a year before the surgery, the individual must undergo counseling; it takes two letters of recommendation from therapists before the procedure can be approved. These appointments can cost anywhere from $50 to $200 each session, which, when combined with the recommendation letters, can cost up to $5,000 for that first year. Hormone therapy is another must before surgery, and this can cost up to $2,000 or more per individual, per year, depending on the hormones required.
The costs associated here vastly vary depending on the type of surgery (male-to-female or female-to-male) and which reconstructive procedures are to be performed. According to health.costhelper.com:
“…basic male-to-female surgery that includes testicle removal, genital surgery and breast augmentation would cost a little over $30,000 while for basic female-to-male surgery that includes mastectomy, areolar reduction and genital surgery, would cost between $12,000 and $25,000 depending on the type of genital surgery chosen.”
But we’re not done here. The decision to undergo reassignment surgery is a lifelong undertaking. Once the surgery is completed, patients still need to see a therapist as they adjust to their new lifestyle, and hormone therapy for life is usually required. So, if a prisoner is serving a life term, taxpayers would be paying for their hormone prescriptions, counseling, and (yes, I’m going to mention it) a new wardrobe to match their new gender. TSRoadmap.com estimated that it is typical to spend a total of $40,000 to $50,000 for a mid-range transition, including surgery. That’s “mid-range,” folks, not the full works.
Warren didn’t stop at just declaring transgender people should get special treatment in jail and receive free surgeries. No, she promised other initiatives for inmates that are just as controversial. If she has her way, prisoners will be able to choose which facilities they are incarcerated in based on the gender they identify with, not their biological sex. There’s a reason genders are segregated, and just because someone identifies as something other than what they were born with, that doesn’t mean they should be able to choose which population they wish to join.
Talk about asking for trouble.