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Monday, January 26, 2009

Who Makes The Rules?

Lori just had this great idea: Periodically, she and I will post reflections on things we're reading here at T-Central, and in doing so shine a spotlight of sorts on the many contributors to our diverse (and growing) community.

And not to start with a too obvious one, but I'm going to pick on en/Gender right off the bat. In yesterday's blog, Helen Boyd raises an interesting point regarding legal identification. Currently, SRS is required to change the gender marker on your birth certificate (and therefore, on your driver's license in many states, including my own). Well, who made that rule? And why haven't I seen more conversation about getting it changed? We talk about change and progress and legalizing this and legalizing that, but we almost never talk about going back and fixing this one foundational thing that hurts so many of us. No rule is carved in could be done.

So how do we do it?

Comments are on...feel free to sound off. (from Lori: But please be civil.)

Edited: Turns out Lori and I can see her reading recommendations Right Here. Take a look!


  1. In British Columbia, with a letter from your therapist, you can get the correct gender marker on your driver's licence. I think that's rather enlightened. The provinces considers it a matter of our personal safety.

    For all my other documents, however, I'll have to wait until after GRS. It will be even more involved for me to get my New Hampshire birth certificate changed -- it takes not only the surgeon's letter but also some kind of court document.

    It seems to me that any of us who have been on hormone therapy for some period of time and are living full time ought to have the correct gender marker. I wonder, though, if it's all about the Dreaded Penis. We verify that we've had surgery, and it's final. There is no way to verify that anyone is taking hormones. And that leads to bathroom fears.

    I look forward to ideas on this.

  2. I think one of the problems with this issue really does come down to the penis. The biggest part of this problem, really, is that it discriminates against poor people. We who don't make a lot of money, don't have the resources to have full GRS done, leaving us in legal limbo. If orchiectomy was sufficient for the legal gender marker change, it would be much more attainable, financially. That's less than 5000 dollars, much more attainable than the 20 to 25 thousand needed for GRS. The orchie is just as permanent, but much less complicated.

  3. Something just occurred to me... Why IS this such a complicated process whether there has to be "proof" or not? The bottom line is who in their right mind is going to want to ARBITRARILY seek to change their gender marker? I would guess the statistics would be extremely few people would decide to complicate their lives further by doing such a thing.

    A simple proof that the person in question received some sort of mental health evaluation and was "diagnosed" as being trans should be all that is required.

    Then again, some could even argue "It's my life and my body, no one has to tell me who I am based on a stupid marker on my identification. I define ME.

  4. Lori, agree completely.

    And yes, the whole thing about needing SRS is obviously about the penis...or at least, the concept of "the penis". Because honestly, I don't know when the last time was that you saw someone's genitals in general day-to-day activity (including using a restroom), but I can't remember mine. In 99% of anyone's interactions, the state of one's genitals means absolutely nothing; for an obviously cisgendered person, it never enters into the equation, but for whatever reason, we have to offer proof.

    Yeah, this one's kind of personal for me.

  5. I have a feeling that legislators care less about our rights and dignity and more about the fears of cissexual people. The fact that those fears are irrational isn't really considered. They just know that cissexuals, cis women especially, have them.

    I hope this can change. I know that not everyone can afford GRS. Some can't have it for medical reasons. And some choose not to have it. And they are all women!


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