Thursday, February 2, 2023

Gender Affirming Care and Charitable Tax Exemption

The Boogeyman” Trailer Released – What's On Disney Plus


The Williams Institute at UCLA Law "conducts independent research on sexual orientation and gender identity law and public policy. We ensure that facts—not stereotypes—inform laws, policies, and judicial decisions that affect the LGBT community."  It reports that as of March 2022 "15 states have restricted access to gender-affirming care or are currently considering laws that would do so. The bills carry severe penalties for health care providers, and sometimes families, who provide or seek out gender-affirming care for minors."   

Elsewhere on Planet Earth, but in the same country and indicative of a reactionary trend portraying LGBTQ and African Americans as the Boogeymen, a local property tax assessor argues that charities like Vanderbilt University that provide gender affirming care for minors should not be tax exempt.  Stephen King would be proud.  In a letter to the Governor and state legislators, The Rutherford County (Tennessee), property tax assessor said "I don’t want to subsidize it necessarily with my taxpayer dollars being used there, I’d rather my tax dollars go into a school."  Vanderbilt is headquartered in a neighboring county, but it has health care facilities in Rutherford County that provides gender affirming care to minors, though the state is apparently poised to pass a bill outlawing or penalizing such care for minors.  The Property Tax Assessor wants the Governor and state to deny property tax exemptions for charities providing that care at the same time it finally outlaws the care.  

"It can be argued that by way of their tax-exempt status they are forcing taxpayers to pay for a type of medical care which is contrary to their moral/religious convictions," Mitchell said. "In Tennessee for instance, 'gender affirming' surgeries are found to be offered primarily through tax-exempt hospitals. This is a revelation which most lawmakers would find concerning if not an objectionable practice altogether."

How do I know this is a boogeyman distraction?  Because the property tax assessor' "letter to state officials comes one year before he's up for election in 2024. He won his seat in 2012 as a Democrat before becoming a Republican in a GOP dominated county to win reelections in 2016 and 2020. "I’m absolutely going to run again, but this is not an election issue," Mitchell said. Why, you old Blue Dog Democrat, you!  Anyway, when people say it ain't about the money, trust me, its about the money.

Here is how Vanderbilt responded to state legislator's demand that Vanderbilt permanently halt one form of gender affirming care for minors:

VUMC approaches its responsibility to care for patients by following the most widely recognized national and international standards of care, while at all times doing so in accordance with state and federal laws.  Our clinical teams provide transgender care that is informed by the professional practice standards and guidance established by leading medical specialty societies, such as the Endocrine Society and the World Professional Association of Transgender Health (WPATH) . . . 

You have asked that VUMC halt permanent gender affirmation surgeries being performed on minor children.  On September 6, 2022 WPATH published a new version of its recommendations to health care professionals for treatment of transgender persons, known as SOC-8 guidance.  In light of these new recommendations, and as part of completing our internal clinical review of the SOC-8 guidance in patients under 18, we will be seeking advice from local and national clinical experts.  We are pausing gender affirmation surgeries on patients under age 18 while we complete this review, which may take several months.   

darryll jones

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