Transsexuals Face Blatant Discrimination
by Government and DMVs
by Laura Amato
It is no secret that discrimination exists against Transsexuals. Most of us know someone that has either lost housing a job, or even a life for daring to be ourselves. Only a handful of states have laws forbidding this. What is horrifying though is that in some cases the discrimination is actually carried out intentionally by government agencies like your local (DMV) Department of Motor Vehicles. Worse yet they mark us much like the Nazi's did in World War II so everyone you do business with will know you are a Transsexual. They accomplish this by stamping your gender marker either (M) Male or (F) Female with the opposite Gender of what you are presenting as. This can make our lives hell.
According to the HBIGDA Standards of Care the medical treatment for Transsexuals is to live up to 2 years living and working as the opposite Gender before surgery. Transition then is a medical necessity. MTF Male to Females must live as women, and FTM's Female to Males must live as men. This also requires you to get a legal name change in your new gender. However if you call yourself "Dolores" most DMV's will still stamp your "M" for male. Since your driver's license is your valid ID this means that everyone you do business with that checks it will know your secret. It is like being "outed" by your own government. This can be dangerous and could potentially even cause loss of life or injury. Its like having a pink triangle painted on your forehead. The mismatch between your ID and your appearance immediatly makes you out to be dishonest. Potential employers would indeed notice that. The Standards also support those who will live permanently as members of the opposite sex, as medical treatment, who cannot have surgery.
Since 9/11 Identifications have been tightened in an effort to thwart terrorists. Since then the odds of a Transsexual in transition being pulled out of line at an airport are nearly 100%, even if you pass. The marker gives you away. In some cases letters from a therapists or doctors are not always accepted. Transsexuals are often forced to change their attire to match their gender marker. If you are in transition it is unlikley that you have that attire with you. Government workers have gone out of their way to publically embarrass and point out Transsexuals. Catcalls from other passengers are common.
DMV's point out that after a Transsexual has (SRS) Sexual Reassignment Surgery, (
Recently New York City has proposed changes to the way they "brand" Transsexuals. To change their markers they simply change their birth Certificates to reflect the gender they live in. A letter from two doctor's is required to prove you have been living in your gender. No longer will you be required to provide proof of surgery. This though is only if you were born in New York. It is ironic that the very city attacked by Terrorists and rightly caused our security to tighten is the only city reaching out to us to end discrimination against us. Let's hope that New York City's vision will catch on with the states.
This is a far cry from other states like Illinois who not only still discriminate with their gender markers but have also made it worse. Now they will only change your marker if the surgery was done in the United States, which limits your choices. So much for Free Enterprise. Other states are set to follow Illinois' example.
Most US Government agencies do not have Transgender or Transsexual Statistics. Although many hate crimes are committed against us the FBI turns a blind eye in our directions. One need only look at our "List of Transgendered Dead" to see that we are indeed a statistic.
There is a bill before the Senate that would protect Gay and Transgendered persons from discrimination and hate crimes. While it has overwhelmingly passed the House of Representatives. It has stopped in the Senate. Senator Edward Kennedy has come out against this bill as long as the bill includes Transgender persons. Is it any wonder that the FBI looks the other way while we get murdered, raped, beaten discriminated aginst and become the victims of numerous hate crimes? Such Government atrocities relegate us to non-person status. No wonder we have a 31% suicide rate with 50% having had at least one attempt before their 20th birthday.
We get over a thousand visitors a day here along with over 500 emails and numerous instant messages. About a third are medical, therapy, transition or acceptance problems. A third are suicidal or severly depressed and a third that are hate crimes and Identification problems that include employment and housing. I have received many thousands of horror stories. The amount of problems caused directly by government or their agencies is staggering. It is time our government stopped discriminating against Transgender persons. Some downright ignore that we exist and others seem hell bent on trying to make us miserable as possible. Transsexualism is a medically accepted condition with medically accepted treatment. Its time for the government to stop overiding our treatment with rules they make up as they go along.
Transition is as much part of our medical treatment as corrective surgery is. It is important not only as a step in building our non-existant self esteem but is also a bridge to finally becoming a complete person. If done properly it is a path to lower suicide rates for us. There is a lot of growing learning and self change packed into those first two years. It is difficult enough without the Government making our treatment harder. We have enough hoops, and obstacles to jump through and over. Trying to also have to jump through an unecessary spider web of red tape as well, just makes our goals tough if not impossible to reach.