linguoboy wrote:But given how hard it is to change societal attitudes, that's not necessarily an argument against covering the procedure. The fact still remains that fewer transgendered persons will end up dead if the procedure is covered than if it isn't.
Right, this is the line of thought for me. Once you're presented with the statistics that you've provided, Linguoboy, I don't really think that there's any way to come up with a reasonable argument against it.
Sure there is: For starters, the statistics aren't scientific. The estimated prevalance of GID is about 1 in 30,000 for men, 1 in 100,000 for women, so in order to end up with a statistically valid sample of 6,450 transgender respondents (as reported in the NTDS report), you would have to have asked every adult in North America to participate. Obviously, they are using non-scientific methods (according to the report, most of the replies came from an online survey) as well a much broader definition of "transgender" than just "diagnosed with GID". On top of all that, it's a survey, so all the data is self-reported. This makes it very difficult to compare those results with the results of more targeted studies, like the UK one I mentioned, which was conducted on a different population in a different country.
Second, if higher suicide rates of attempted suicide are an argument for increasing coverage, then there may be other at-risk groups which should be covered first. Substance abusers attempt suicide at about three times the rate of the general populace and make up about a quarter of all successful suicides. The cost of an effective treatment programme runs about $1200-1500 whereas the average cost of SRS is about $13,000-18,000. So, at a rough first approximation, you could save at least ten suicidal substance abusers for the cost of saving one suicidal transgender person.
Third: It's not an all-or-nothing proposal. There may be remedies short of comprehensive SRS (such as counseling and hormone therapy) which produce many of the same benefits at much less cost. We don't have a robust comparison to work from. Optimally, you'd want a series of methodologically sound clinical studies which would compare the results of various remedies. But good luck getting the funding to do that!
Hoogstwaarschijnlijk wrote:Even when your society would totally accept transgenders the way there are (which doesn't happen anywhere, I think), (some) transgenders would still need this procedure. It's not the same as being gay or wanting bigger breasts (john's example...), I think the physological damage can be nearly non-existent when would be totally okay with people who are gay or people who have small breasts, but a transgender would still be in the wrong body.
I think it begs an important question to say that they are in the "wrong body". Such feelings are not unique to transgender people, after all. Western society strongly enforces a strict gender binarism onto the range of realisations which occur in nature. Born intersexuals know how little tolerance there is for non-conforming bodies, and this intolerance constitutes a strong incentive for those born without the dominant form of gender-identification to take an either-or approach when they might actually be more comfortable with something in-between.
"Richmond is a real scholar; Owen just learns languages because he can't bear not to know what other people are saying."--Margaret Lattimore on her two sons