The Tax Court has finally issued a long-awaited opinion in O’Donnabhain v. Commissioner (here). The majority concluded that O’Donnabhain’s hormone therapy and sex reassignment surgery constituted deductible medical expenses, but denied a deduction for the her breast augmentation surgery due to a failure to show that it was performed as a result of applying the treatment protocol for gender identity disorder.
The opinion is quite long, but does have its entertaining moments. One concurring judge chided the majority for dragging the court into the culture wars by going further than it absolutely needed to in order to decide the case. Another concurring judge accused the dissenters of lacking basic knowledge of grammar and the English language (and he’s got the better of the argument and is right to take them to task). This is not the kind of stuff you see everyday in judicial opinions, especially tax opinions!
Dealing with the deduction for medical expenses, this case ineluctably contributes to the medicalization and pathologization of gender identity. I would be very interested in getting a trans take on this case and its broader implications. Please post comments and let us know what you think.