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AP: 207da777-af08-49aa-bd09-168535a2b8cb
Two transgenders stand in the Plaza de Mayo waiting for the start of Argentina's annual gay pride parade in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2012. Argentina has improved rights for sexual minorities over the last years, becoming the first country in Latin America to legalize same-sex marriage, and this year, the Congress approved Argentina's gender identity law, granting people the right to change their legal and physical gender identity simply because they want to, without having to undergo judicial, psychiatric and medical procedures beforehand. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)

The City of San Francisco Health System announced that it will pay all of the expenses incurred by men and women who elect to undergo sex reassignment surgeries.

I am appalled!

I fully understand the mental anguish that transgender men and women have, wishing to live life as another sex.

So why am I appalled? First, to the best of my knowledge, there are federal dollars in the San Francisco health program. I admit ignorance of the details associated with the terms of how those dollars are utilized by local agencies, but a dollar for elective, non-life threatening, cosmetic procedures is one taken away from cancer care, newborn intensive care, vaccinations, palliative care of the dying and those in chronic pain.

There is only a finite amount of resources and this is unjustifiable! Americans should be outraged of where federal dollars are being directed locally in this regard!

Since Los Angeles is the home of false boobs, face lifts and derriere repair, perhaps LA should pay for cosmetic work for men and women who truly feel trapped emotionally by their age and appearance. If you are transgender, do you think that miserable women with sagging breasts who want them lifted are any less justified in getting government support for cosmetic work?

Shame on the selfishness of the transgender community! In a shrinking economy, survival, freedom from pain, nutrition and prevention come first.

What about HIV? There are millions without health care, millions without food. Not one dollar of money that either directly or indirectly comes from the pockets of Americans should go to gender reassignment surgeries and its complications until the other priorities are met.

The line of priorities is very long and transgenders need to get to the back of the line.

I should point out that transgenders never, despite hormonal replacement, etc., truly live life as the other sex because they remain -- genetically -- the original sex and there are many biochemical differences between sexes that we cannot replicate or change. They instead live in a twilight world that approximates what they dream of being.

For the transgendered, I am sorry for this reality which at least now, and in the foreseeable future, is unalterable. I have no problem with people changing professions, homes, social situations, even sexes, although, as a society, we need to set the boundaries, the rules of engagement with drastic change.

We have done so with marriage. It is called divorce.

Dr. Sam Benjamin, M.D. - Integrative Medicine, weekend show host

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