206215356_3e169509fcIt’s not exactly the controversy you would expect. At face value, the city of Berkeley’s proposal to fund its municipal employees’ sex-reassignment surgeries strikes us as pretty awesome. And, of course, it’s the sort of thing that’s guaranteed to get someone’s panties in a twist.

Lips indeed are flapping, but the predominant concern seems to be more financially motivated than anything else. Given that Berkeley is currently looking at a pretty hefty deficit for its benefits plans — to the tune of $252.8 million — the plan to apportion another $20,000 for reimbursing sex changes isn’t exactly something to sneeze at.

On the flip-side, gender reassignment surgery is expensive, difficult to secure and to have covered by health insurance — not to mention a source of social stigma — so this level of support is significant for an issue that is too frequently relegated to the fringes of our awareness.

Should Berkeley vote the proposal into effect on Feb. 15, it would follow on the heels of San Francisco, which became the first city in the U.S. to fund employees’ sex changes in 2001.

Barbara Gilbert wrote an interesting op-ed for the Daily Cal discussing the fiscal concerns behind the topic. Conversely, a resident named Kathryn Steuerman expressed her support for the benefit at a council meeting by saying: “Gird your loins against such false dichotomies. Go forward with all possible haste.”

It’s a sentence we just had to share. And speaking of sharing, please tell us your thoughts in the comments below.

Image Source: ﴾͡๏̯͡๏﴿ /streetart#+_♥.tk www.ALT3.tk under Creative Commons
Berkeley, California, May Pay for Sex Changes Even Amid Pension Fund Gap [Bloomberg]
Sex Change Surgery Is Beside the Point [Daily Cal]

Shawn Doherty said:
Feb 3, 2011 at 7:57 pm

It is difficult to “come out of the closet” in a world where gays and lesbians are so severely persecuted. In America, gays and lesbians are victims of acts of physical and verbal abuse thus demoting them as second-class citizens. Iran takes it to a different extreme and dubs gays and lesbians not citizens at all. Being gay and lesbian in Iran is punishable by death, which is why if you are gay you must get a sex change and become a female and if you are lesbian you must become a male. The only alternative to having a gay and lesbian free society is to transform them into the opposite sex. The irony of this situation is that transsexuals in most other places in the world are grouped into the same category as gays and lesbians. It is difficult to understand how transsexuals are embedded into Iranian society. It seems to exist without any problems because there is so much hatred towards gays and lesbians. People are happy about the solution to the problem of gays and lesbians existing so they are willing to accept transsexuals.

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