Friday, May 27, 2011

Earned it.

It's Friday again.  Sheesh.  It's amazing how much you look forward to Fridays when you actually have a work week.  Even though I'm very much enjoying what I'm doing the vision of the "weekend" is something to look forward to.  I'd go so far as to say it's one of the things that makes NOT having a regular schedule a bit unbalancing because every day is pretty much the same except that there's less traffic on the weekends.

More than just being a weekend, this is a long Holiday weekend.  Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of summer for many although here in Charleston temperatures have been in the high 80's and low 90's since I arrived.  It has been wonderful.

E and I are planning to take the boat to a nearby island and go camping there for the entire weekend.  Fishing, crabbing, shrimping, kayaking, relaxing, walking on the beach, photography, more relaxing - needless to say, I'm very much looking forward to it.

I wanted to follow-up on something from my last post.  Specifically, the situation in IL where the ACLU is suing the state for its Birth Certificate change policy that requires proof of surgery.  Several people left comments indicating that they support the requirement, and so do I.  That's why I indicated that it's a good thing nobody is asking me to support the lawsuit, because it's not something I can support.  I find it unfortunate that we're punishing those who have more supportive policies while other states who have stricter, less supportive ones (or downright prohibitive ones) aren't receiving that same kind of challenge. 

Perhaps it's a generational thing - I can't say - but as politically incorrect as it might be I admit that I can't wrap my mind around being able to change a birth certificate without that kind of disciplined structure.  I'd argue that that's what makes it legitimate.  I know as well as anyone reading this that anybody can get a letter from a psychologist saying pretty much anything so using that as the standard not only removes the discipline, it removes much of the validity.

The big news this week was a verdict in the Nikki Araguz trial in Texas.  Her husband was killed in a fire last year and she has been blocked from receiving widow benefits by his ex-wife because of Nikki's history.  More than that, they're looking to invalidate the entire marriage.  The case and the underlying questions have received national attention (NY Times article here).

I have to admit that I wasn't surprised by the outcome.  This is Texas, after all, and we've been down this path there before.  And I also have to admit that the entire thing is a mess.  There are a number of complications (like Nikki not having changed her birth certificate until after the marriage) that cloud the simpler question of whether or not a trans person can have a legal marriage there and, if so, to who.  To make things even messier shortly after the verdict was announced Nikki was arrested and charged with a felony for allegedly drugging a woman and stealing her Rolex watch a few months ago (details here). Whether that's true or not remains to be seen.  But the fact that it happened at all is indicative of the circus this has become.

Some are saying that this case will be appealed and may up in the Supreme Court.  Until someone can convince me that it has a reasonable chance of being overturned, all I can say is that I hope not. Whether or not you agree with the verdict, it's just to messy to use it to establish that kind of legal precedent.  Nikki is also hawking a Reality TV show featuring herself.  All I can say to that, too, is that I hope not.  That won't be good for anyone.  Including Nikki.

On another note I was chatting with Jamison Green yesterday catching up on things.  He recently earned his PhD so now I suppose I should refer to him as Dr. Green.  He will be running unopposed as the next Director for WPATH (formerly HBIGDA) which may not seem like much right now but I expect to become a big deal.  WPATH is currently in the process of revising the Standards of Care and doing other things to increase their relevancy and I can't think of anyone better to lead in that effort than Jamison. 

As for me - I'll be unreachable this weekend.  I'm unplugging, kicking back, and just relaxing.  Whether anyone else agrees or not - I feel I've earned it.


sweetbrandigirl2004 said...

Donna While I see Nikki as a women from the Judges point of view he's correct she technical was still male when they married. she by her own omission said she didn't have surgery until two months AFTER they were married and same sex marriage isn't allowed in Texas...... Now had they gotten remarried after her surgery I feel she might have stood a better chance and would have had a solid grounds for an appeal.

while I agree that we have our female gender identities from birth....I'm not so sure it is possible to get people to fully understand that or to believe that we are female from birth when our dna is xy and we were born with male
genitals......There are TS marriages being voided but its been in conservative narrow minded states like Texas likewise there are other more progressive states were TS marriages are still honored. I feel that the strongest argument is the equal rights with this issue is going to be by using the 14th amendments equal protection clause....its the same argument used to bring
down prop 8 in California ....In states were we are recognized as female we can argue that
we are due equal protection under the law granted to us by the constitution.

sweetbrandigirl2004 said...

Think you known Nikki Araguz Well she's not the victim she lets on to be, in fact her latest arrest isn't her first brush with the law. She got a long record. Take a look She is a felon,

1992 – Misdemeanor Theft $200-$750 – Harris County, TX
1994 – DWI – one year probation

1995 – Misdemeanor Theft $20-$500 – one year probation
2000 – Felony Theft $1,500-$20,000 – three years probation

2005 – DWI – three days jail

2008 – Felony Cocaine Possession – Two year deferred adjudication

*deferred adjudication is technically not a felony “conviction” even though it’s a guilty plea, but her 2000 felony theft charge IS.

She also went on Jerry Springer, blindsided some guy she dated as a woman by announcing she was a man. And has self professed to having lived a sexually promiscuous life while being HIV pos, before marrying her deceased husband.

She’s an unsympathetic figure in terms of public relations, I’d say, regardless of how sympathetic people may feel about her gender situation. She's not someone anyone would want representing the Transsexual community. It's a good thing the news is reporting she transgender.

Diana said...

Dear Donna,

Seems as if I'm a minority in the "T" community--almost a pariah at times--because:

1.) I don't think "T" has any real belonging to GLB…

2.) I can't support changing gender markers on birth certificates for those who are pre/non-op.

Sometimes, though, the birth certificate issue gives me pause. What about individuals who cannot afford the significant expenses that accompany GRS, how much weight does this carry? Should there be an accommodation for someone whose physical health contraindicates undergoing this surgical procedure?

What are your thoughts on these questions?

Sincerely yours,


sweetbrandigirl2004 said...

Diana While I agree with you that Birth ?Certificates shouldn't be change for non-ops or pre-ops. I don't think that Individuals whop can't have surgery because of health Issues should be considered either, here's why . The total numbers of diagnosis Transsexuals is small. The number of Transsexuals who can't have surgery due to health even smaller, if y ou start making allowances for Transsexuals to have surgery because of health it's going to have the transgender community try to ride that gravy train and bitching saying not fair nat fair making exception for transsexuals but not for the transgender.

I also don't think cost of surgery should be considered at all. WE all knew transition was going to be expensive from the beginning it's not like these cost caught someone off guard they knew just like we knew what it took to get throughout transition, besides surgery is an important step in transition maybe the MOST important steep as it is the surgery that removes the dysphoria, it is the cure. The whole point of gender Dysphoria is that one is dysphoric about ones body and part of ones body in particular the genitals, so how can anyone who claims to be transsexual say that anything short of surgery is truly going to remove their dysphoria ? They can True transsexuals are driven to get surgery some how some way. Diana I also agree with you that the T should be removed from LGB, it has nothing in common with orientation and has lost its true meaning haven been co-oped by the Transgender Inc. The "T" originally stood for Transsexual but just like they co-oped the gender Identity diagnosis they co-oped the T all for their own political gain, so yes Remove it.

Anne said...

Brandi, you are SOOOO RIGHT. I could not agree MORE!

It is time for a divorce. It really IS up to the TG, how messey and costly it will be.

Having NEVER been married to the TG, there will NEVER be any love lost on my part.

Battybattybats said...

Why shouldn't Transgender people make use of their human right to self identify and their human right to have that identity recognised by the state?

It seems pretty rough to me to discriminate against plenty of poor transsexuals and, depending on whether the surgical requirement is lower-surgery as it is in many places, to discriminate against many trans guys, all to ensure that the genderqueers and bigenders dont get equal rights.

But lets remember also that in many places surgical requirement laws discriminate against Anatomical Intersex too. Kids butchered by doctors on a coin toss often will not have good surgical outcomes if it's done over again and many Anatomically Intersex people have told me they don't want any/more surgery, yet laws written for operative transsexuals mean that they can't get their birth certificate fixed without further surgery. And what of the anatomically intersex people who don't want to be labelled either M or F?

Just one example where making/changing laws for just one group significantly harms the lives of people also effected by the law. And is denying equal rights to bi-gender folk even if it could be justified on it's own really worth the cost to anatomically intersex people?

Jenny Howard said...

Donna and Brandi,
Would you say you're more hard-hearted, or more closed-minded? I'm having trouble figuring out which it is.

Donna said...

@Jenny: Just who the hell do you think you are coming here and judging others with whom you may disagree? I can't think of what describes you more: ignorant or just plain stupid. You don't know me so don't think your holier-than-thou judgements here will pass unchallenged.

Janna said...

Jenny, would you say you're a bad writer or just an uninteresting person generally? I can't decide. For one thing, determining which insult, "close-minded" or "hard-hearted," is more trite is tough.

If you're going to insult someone, at least say something interesting. :-)

Tina said...

I cannot in good conscience agree with the thought that only those who have surgery get the privilege of changing their birth certificate. Take Pauline Park, for example. There's a woman who has worked tirelessly for transgender rights (as well as others). As best I read her situation she has never had surgery. Is she less a woman than anyone else?

Frankly, I never what to have to go to a court and publicly discuss the state of my genitalia - I find that humiliating and demeaning.

Basically, I'm not inclined to let my definition of who gets "full woman rights" be decided by the medical establishment (whose interests do not coincide with ours). I find this surgical argument to be more divisive than constructive. I'm not saying that there shouldn't be some guidelines, just that requiring surgery seems to ceding more control over our lives and our bodies than makes sense.

Anonymous said...

Asking psychologists for letters to prove people are trans is backwards beyond belief because those psychologists are cissexuals, and DO NOT KNOW WHAT THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT. THEY ARE NOT TRANS. God, the ENTIRE FIELD of psychology is sexist and misogynist and transphobic .

Someone wanting to change the sex role they were assigned in society...IS trans. Someone trans wants to change their assigned sex role in society. I could repeat this paragraph 10 billion times, but you STILL probably wouldn't get it, and you'd want someone cissexual to break it down for you.

You think only a broken MORON would want to be a trans woman, and maybe the intelligent cissexual doctor might talk that moron out of their dumb decision. That's misogynistic to think only a moron would seek femininity. Well done you self-hater.

Who elected a cissexual as transsexual gatekeeper? You did, when you inferred he could protect us from our own stupidity. Thanks a lot.

Why are you PROTECTING "not really a trans" people from making the mistake of transitioning into a social hellhole, instead of helping all your trans brothers and sisters by changing society so that transitioning DOESN'T put you in a social hellhole?

"Well, we all knew surgery would be expensive, so I think all trans people everywhere should be poor! On top of that, they should share the status of their genitals not with their lovers, but with government officials who fill out paperwork!" You sellout. SELLOUT.

Here's a couple reasons why people might not get SRS: they enjoy having their birth genitals, they and their partner are happy, they don't have the money, they're unemployed because we're in a recession and trans people have difficulty finding jobs, they don't have white skin, they weren't born in a rich family, or they just don't want to.

Oh, and in case you're too close minded to possibly FATHOM why someone wouldn't get bottom surgery, have you tried talking to a single trans man? Ever?

Oh, and Jenny Howard, you are bad ass and take no prisoners. The trans community needs janitors like you and me to clean out this intellectual bullshit. And by intellectual bullshit, I mean any insecure, predatory, prick who would use the phrase "true transsexual" in an attempt to smear the other half of the trans community by labeling them as fake...all the time not knowing that the term "true transsexual" was abandoned as wildly inaccurate in the 1960's when it was discovered that no patients act like that, and the ones that did admitted to lying about their pasts so they could seem more "womanly" and convince psychologists who didn't believe them. Psychologists who, just like in the present, know NOTHING about trans issues.

Donna, Janna, and Brandi, I did two things: tore apart your arguments and called you stupid. Hopefully you can perform the former as well as the latter.