January 21, 2012
O'Donnabhain: Tax Policy and Gender Identity Disorder
Alesdair H. Ittelson (J.D. 2011, UC-Berkeley), Recent Development, Trapped in the Wrong Phraseology: O'Donnabhain v. Commissioner--Consequences for Federal Tax Policy and the Transgender Community, 26 Berkeley J. Gender L. & Just. 356 (2011):
The U.S. Tax Court's 2010 decision in O'Donnabhain v. Commissioner reinterprets the scope of the medical expense deduction by authorizing the deduction of surgical treatment for Gender Identity Disorder (GID). After explaining the tax framework upon which the O'Donnabhain decision rests, this Recent Developments piece describes the decision and examines its consequences for the U.S. federal budget and the medicalization of the transgender community. The author concludes that O'Donnabhain will not significantly widen the pool of deductible medical care outside of sexual reassignment surgery and hormone therapy. The author applauds O'Donnabhain as a victory for those seeking to deduct expenses incurred in the treatment of GID but cautions that the decision may enforce a homogenous, medicalized model of the “ideal” transgender body.
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