LGBT Taxpayers: A Collision of 'Others'
46 Pages Posted: 5 Apr 2011 Last revised: 9 Jun 2021
Date Written: April 4, 2011
In this essay prepared for a symposium on the intersection of tax law with gender and sexuality, I explore the violent collision of these two concepts - or, more appropriately, these two “others.” I begin my exploration of this collision of “others” by first explaining how the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community is a marginalized “other” in American society while, in contrast, tax is a privileged “other” in the realm of American law. Then, I turn to a close examination of a recent case, O’Donnabhain v. Commissioner, to illustrate the collision of the otherness of LGBT individuals with the otherness of tax. This case, which concerns the propriety of a transgender person's medical expense deduction for costs related to sex reassignment surgery, exemplifies the originary violence that is, as we speak, hewing the concepts of tax and sexual and gender identity to create a point of intersection at which these concepts can, in the future, again and again violently collide with each other.
Keywords: tax, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, sex reassignment, gender, medical expense, intersectionality, otherness
JEL Classification: K34
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation