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November 9, 2011 Print

IRS to Give Tax Deductions for Transgender People

by Karla Dial

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has announced that the cost of hormone therapy and “sex reassignment surgeries” for people with gender identify disorder will now be tax deductible if they qualify for itemized medical deductions.

The announcement came after a lengthy court case in which a transgender woman, Rhiannon O’Donnabhain, sued the government when the IRS told her she couldn’t deduct the costs of her hormone therapy and surgery from her taxes because they weren’t legitimate medical treatments. The IRS Tax Court disagreed, and the IRS is now complying with its decision.

Dr. Richard Fitzgibbons, who treats children and adults suffering from gender identity disorder in his practice in Pennsylvania, said the government is doing transgender people a disservice.

“It’s totally treatable and the issue can be resolved,” he said, noting that some therapists have an 80 percent success rate in helping people accept their biological gender.

“The problem is when you get sex-reassignment surgery, one of the major principles (of medicine) is ‘First, do no harm.’ With gender-reassignment surgery, you’re surgically mutilating a healthy body. And you’re supporting a delusion. Poor body image is a huge cause of it, and severe psychopathology in parents is a huge cause of it. That’s the mental health perspective.

“The political perspective is that we’re not protecting adults from what’s harmful. This administration is supporting harmful surgery to fix a condition that is completely treatable.”

Learn more about gender identity disorder.

Read the IRS’s action on decision.