One More Reason We Don’t Go to Brown

Just in time for Brown University’s class of 2017, Brown students will now be required to pay for the sexual reassignment surgeries of their peers. Last Wednesday, the Brown Daily Herald reported that sex change operations will be added to the Brown Student Health Insurance Plan this August.

Kelly Garrett, Coordinator of Brown’s LGBTQ Center, along with various student groups such as GenderAction (part of the Queer Alliance), has been lobbying for this “important benefit.” According to the Director of Insurance and Purchasing Services at Brown, Jeanne Hebert, Brown’s mandatory insurance program will now include 14 different, “very comprehensive” sexual reassessment surgeries: “mastectomy, hysterectomy, salpingo-oophorectomy, vaginectomy, metoidioplasty, scrotoplasty, urethroplasty, placement of testicular prostheses (and) phalioplasty, …. orchiectomy, penectomy, vaginoplasty, clitoroplasty (and) labiaplasty.” These surgeries, along with hormone therapy and other “treatments” that generally accompany the procedures, can cost as much as $50,000.

It is not clear how many students will take advantage of the subsidized genitalia replacement: according to Garrett, there are no statistics for how many transgender students attend Brown. This is likely due to “self-reporting” problems and the fact that some students are currently in the process of redefining their genders.

However wild it may sound, a free sex change is a dream-come-true for some Brown students. According to a freshman, quoted in the Herald, requiring the student body to pay for sex change operations is essential: “The fact that Brown is now offering these surgeries is life-saving for [students who desire a sex change].” Most insurance companies do not cover sex change surgeries because of their “cosmetic” nature.

Activists such as Garrett are not content to simply require Brown students to pay for sex changes. She is currently working with Brown’s administration to create and improve accessibility to gender-neutral bathrooms and gender-neutral housing on the campus. She is also “in the discussion” to provide these benefits to faculty, who are on completely separate insurance plans.

The justification for this policy, according to Garrett, is to stop discrimination against transgender people. (Apparently, too many Brown students think a man’s desire to chop off his genitalia or dress in women’s clothing is unbecoming). Why stop with gender reassessment surgery, though? Many people (yes, even Brown students) find obesity unattractive, and good-looking people tend to earn higher salaries than those who are not as aesthetically gifted. If Brown REALLY wants to stop discrimination and promote fairness and inclusiveness, its medical insurance should also cover all forms of beauty enhancing plastic surgeries, including nose-jobs, breast augmentations, and liposuctions. Only then can Brown University truly claim to be inclusive, nondiscriminatory, and politically correct.

Of course, this logic is absurd. The point is that the road to political correctness and toleration will never reach its conclusion, no matter what ridiculous policy the liberal establishment wants to enforce. The victims of this ill-guided decision are the Brown students who are morally, religiously, or otherwise opposed to paying for the sex change surgeries of their classmates. But because Brown University is a private institution, it has the freedom to charge its students for whatever medical treatment it desires, however outrageous that treatment may be. However, extreme political correctness and a desire to be seen as inclusive does not justify a $50,000 (per procedure) price tag.

Currently, Harvard, Cornell, Stanford, and the University of Pennsylvania pay for some type of sex change surgery, and it is only a matter of time before this mindset of extreme political correctness infects Dartmouth enough to change our school policy. Let’s pray it doesn’t happen soon.


— Brandon Gill