Title: Hidden agender? Credit: Craig Young Comment Saturday 27th August 2005 - 12:00pm1125100800 Article: 878 Rights
On reproductive rights, National's Paul Hutchison is a good, reliable social liberal. However, he has much to learn about transgender health issues. On 20 August, National's health spokesperson cut up rough after the Ministry of Health announced that it would subsidise reassignment surgery for a seventy-three year old, Vicki Harvey of Opunake, Taranaki. Vicki can't afford the cost of the surgery for herself, as she has a chronic gambling problem. Presumably, she has been evaluated for gender identity disorder (GID) under DSM IV's clinical guidelines, and corrective reassignment surgery is advisable. It's odd that Paul Hutchison doesn't take this into account, as he did when he stood firm against Judith Collins' attack on reproductive rights of pregnant adolescent incest survivors within the Care of Children Bill debate last year. It is also unfortunate that Destiny New Zealand agrees with him, which should give him cause for concern. I would ask Dr Hutchison to carefully consider that, as with reproductive and sexual health, most opponents of reassignment surgery rely on prescientific, non-evidence-based religious viewpoints, whose authoritarian claptrap he ignores when it comes to women's reproductive rights. Is this any different? No. It could also be asked why reassignment surgery is criticised while other, costly medical procedures are ignored. I am not begrudging money spent on maintaining cases of renal failure, but no-one is advocating that individuals should be yanked off kidney dialysis machines for non-clinical grounds. Ah, one might respond, but kidney dialysis is a life-maintaining medical procedure which should be subsidised, it's different. Really? What about suicide or self-harm risks if reassignment surgery is denied? Is it really the case that it is so different? One hopes that Dr Hutchison re-evaluates his perspective over this issue and recognises the inhumanity of his stance. Recommended: New Zealand's transgender lobby group Paul Hutchison "More Health Dollars Spent on Sex Change" [Media Release, 20.08.05] George Levinsky (ed) Ethics and the Kidney: Oxford: Oxford University Press: 2001. Not recommended:  
This page displays a version of the article with all formatting and images removed. It was harvested automatically and some text content may not have been fully captured correctly. A copy of the full article is available (off-line) at the Lesbian and Gay Archives of New Zealand. This online version is provided for personal research and review and does not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of If you have queries or concerns about this article please email us