Dignity and proper respect

Your view: Transgender bill is about dignity, not child safety is a heart-warming letter to the editor of SouthCoast Today by Albert Hess of New Bedford.  I most whole-heartedly ask you to read it.

If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and talks like a duck where should the duck go to the bathroom?

The outrage and injustice here is the imposition of outdated sexual mores being impressed on our young children in the guise of “good “education. House 502 is not a “potty bill,” it is an effort to try to bring dignity and proper respect to everyone regardless of the sexual orientation that God has given them. We need to teach children to respect themselves and others. If there is inappropriate behavior, and Lord knows we have more than enough of that, then it must be dealt with on its own merit, not tied to the clothing and mannerisms of the perpetrator.

Where should the duck go to the bathroom?

Dignity and proper respect?  Someone really thinks we deserve that?

Comment attached to the piece by Z. Brain, about the problems encountered by intersex people:

We do have problems though if our ID documentation is inconsistent – which it sometimes is. The doctor guesses wrong when given an ambiguous situation, and there are some Intersex conditions that cause a natural sex change between birth and later life too. People like me aren’t technically transsexual – an Intersex condition precludes that – but we are for all intents and purposes. Born looking female, changing to look male – or rarely, going the other way, like me.

This response was to someone who thinks that sorting people by genitalia is the way to go.

Meanwhile in Illinois:

Illinois Issues New Birth Certificates to Three Transgendered ACLU Clients.  

After years of promises and inaction, three ACLU of Illinois clients soon will receive new birth certificates from the Division of Vital Records of the Illinois Department of Public Health that reflect their correct gender. The development follows an order by a Cook County Circuit Court Judge last week in a case that challenges the State’s practice of refusing to correct the gender on birth certificates of transgender individuals who have had gender confirmation surgery but not the specific forms of genital surgery demanded by the department. The ACLU of Illinois filed a lawsuit in May 2011 to allow transgender individuals who have not had gender confirmation surgery to correct the gender marker on their birth certificates.

Lauren Grey, Victor Williams and Nicholas Guarino have won.  In a larger context, we all have won.

Meanwhile in Alaska a pilot identified in court records as K. L., who has spent the past two years living as a woman and is identified as female on her passport and other documents, has enlisted the ACLU to help her in her fight to obtain a driver’s license listing her gender to be congruent with her appearance.

We’re asking that the DMV follow the same rules that the federal government and state department follows, which is to allow her to have a driver’s license, an identity document that accurately reflects her gender.

Jeffrey Mittman, ACLU of Alaska

To us a man is what nature, or his dreams, makes him.  we accept him for what he wants to be.  That’s up to him.

–Lame Deer, Lakota Shaman

Is this not the timely universal message, emanating deeply from within our collective consciousness?  Are we not connected by our continuous common humanity, in exploring what it is to be ourselves–infinitely unique, yet united by the undeniable commonality of our human experience?  This is the very bridge of transgender:  connecting the myth of polarity into a whole, healing the illusions of separateness, and celebrating the diversity of what it is to be human.

–Holly Boswell, The Transgender Paradigm Shift toward Free Expression

Transgender people can serve as a bridge to help others find their own way.  As avid students make the best teachers, we are living advocates for the profound experience of exploring our true humanity–nothing less.  And as we are each in need of healing ourselves on this essential level, we may then be able to hope for a world that reflects the dazzling rainbow of our immense wholeness, along with our long-sought harmony, and the true beauty of our natural grace as fully human beings.


There is a bit more about Boswell here and here.

Even here at Daily Kos, someone posted a comment with title bar I know that this comment will anger trans people but didn’t let that stop her from posting the comment anyway.

What I don’t understand is a request to change a gender (which is defined by a person’s physical reproductive organs) category, on official identification, based on a person’s personal gender self-identification.

If a pre-surgical trans person wants to self-identify as the opposite physical gender, dress accordingly both in private and public, that’s one thing.

But shouldn’t official identification documentation represent the person’s actual physical state?

1.  Gender is not defined by the state of one’s physical reproductive organs.  For one thing, although I have a vagina, I will never have a uterus, which is the actual reproductive organ.  Are you saying that no transwoman can ever be listed as a woman on her identification?

2.  Gender in law is defined by what is entered on a person’s birth certificate, not their actual genitals.  It is decided by what a doctor thinks is right at the time of birth.  That doctor can be in error.

3.  Gender is located between a person’s ears, not their legs.  Sex and gender are different criteria.  While many people think they should be in alignment…and for the vast majority of people they are…for transpeople they are mostly not.  That’s the whole point about being trans.  If you refuse the grasp this point, you will fail forever to understand us, let alone be our friend.

And while you may think that some folks may try to use our identity in order to hide their gender for nefarious reasons, that’s not our fault and we should not be denied equal rights because of it.

Having the correct identification papers is vital to a person’s existence in this day and age.  Without the proper identifiers, we become targets of all sorts of mistreatment.  Witness what happened this past week to Lashai Mclean.  After being shot to death in Northeast Washington, DC

police identified the victim as “23-year-old Myles Mclean of N.E. Washington, D.C.” The release made no mention that “Myles” is the legal birth name given to a transgender woman who had been using the name Lashai Mclean following her gender transition over the past several years.

Washington Blade

So the police identify her as a man.  How do you think the person who reads that and then encounters another transwoman is going to react?

The police claimed they were preserving the victim’s privacy by not identifying her as transgender.  Then why didn’t they identify her as a woman if privacy is the issue?


Skip to comment form

    • Robyn on July 23, 2011 at 00:08

    …for transpeople.  A little history might be in order.  Perhaps the story of Beth Elliott might be enlightening.

    More currently is this.

    • Robyn on July 23, 2011 at 04:55

    …playing Solitair, since I seem to be posting here only for my own amusement anyway.

Comments have been disabled.