• Open letter to Pullman Regional Hospital on offering gender reassignment surgery

    On June 9, Pullman Regional Hospital sent a press release calling for public comment on performing gender reassignment surgery (also known as gender confirmation surgery).

    The Humanists of the Palouse sent the following open letter in response.

    Dear Board of Directors, Pullman Regional Hospital:

    Recently, you released a statement to the press indicating that the hospital board would be initiating discussion on whether or not to offer gender reassignment surgery (GRS) as a service provided by Pullman Regional Hospital (PRH), its staff, and it affiliates. The Board of the Humanists of the Palouse would like to show its support for the availability of this type of procedure in Pullman.

    As stated in the guiding principals of the American Humanist Association of which we are an affiliate group, we are committed to treating each person as having inherent worth and dignity.

    This means all people, regardless of race, creed, color, background, ability ​or gender identity​. We therefore believe that decisions that solely affect the transgender community should be made by​ ​that​ ​community​.

    Humanists of the Palouse feel that our collective opinion is not nearly as valuable as that of those transgender individuals who may wish to seek GRS. While we understand the politically-charged times we live in means that certain decisions are carefully weighed against possible unwanted outcomes, real or imagined, we also know that no single decision will be universally popular. However, the care provided by a doctor for their patients should only be the concern of those directly involved: said doctor and patient. The idea that the citizenry at large should weigh in on the availability of a procedure that most of them will never need to undertake is contrary to the function of a community hospital. These procedures should be treated the same as any other reconstructive surgeries, some of which, like GRS, are considered non-optional. They exist to help individuals express their true selves so they can lead more fulfilling lives.

    According to your mission statement, “Pullman Regional Hospital exists to nurture and facilitate a healthier quality of life for our community”. Nowhere in this statement do you clarify what part of the community is exempt from this undertaking. Pullman and the surrounding region includes many transgender individuals, some of whom may benefit profoundly from the offering of GRS services. By making gender reassignment surgery available locally, PRH would be moving further along the road of fulfilling the needs of local people, as expressed by your mission statement.

    We find that withholding such services, when there is staff trained to perform them, is tantamount to discrimination against a group of individuals who are regularly faced with societal challenges simply for being who they are. Please consider the very real needs of the transgender community members who may be compelled to have GRS and vote to allow gender reassignment surgery to take place in Pullman.

    Thank you for your consideration.

    The Humanists of the Palouse

    We encourage all members of our group to send in their own letters, and to attend the special meeting of the hospital board planned for Thursday, June 29, 2017. The details for both can be found in the PRH press release.

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