Sunday, June 16, 2013

One step closer in the right direction


By Sabrina Samone, TMP

A landmark change in a our sometimes confusing government just got a little easier for the Trans*. This past week and an important change in one of our most necessary forms of ID in this country has made a huge step in the right direction to recognize gender identity.

The Social Security Administration will now allow a person to change their gender listing if they provide either a state-issued document like a court order, passport or birth certificate reflecting their accurate gender, or a letter from a physician certifying that the person has undergone appropriate clinical treatment for gender transition. Previously, changes to gender identity records required applicants to provide proof of reassignment surgery. With the new changes all that is being asked you are currently under the care of a physician.

"This is a tremendous victory for our community," said the Transgender Law Center legal director Ilona Turner. The Trans Law Center website site provides more info and links to assist those in need to understand the new changes. Much of the success of these new changes is part by the tireless efforts of Trans organizations like the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, who just two weeks ago participated in a groundbreaking meeting with the Social Security administration, also the National Center for Transgender Law and the Transgender Law Center.

The SSA policy now permits a transgender person to change their gender marker upon submission of one of the following documents that are still required:

  • A letter from the person’s doctor confirming that the person has undergone “appropriate clinical treatment for gender transition”;
  • A full-validity, 10-year U.S. passport that includes the person’s correct gender;
  • A state-issued birth certificate that shows the correct gender; or
  • A court order recognizing the person’s gender.

  • Some have already expressed unfavorable views within the Trans Community as to the fact this may not be enough. Granted it is not the end and be all in full acknowledgement or equality, and our social security cards does not reflect gender other than in your name, but we can't overlook the huge step in the right direction that our bureaucratic government has taken.

    This is huge for thousands of Trans people who have not received SRS surgeries or can't afford them, yet are denied work and are forced into the sex industry to survive in life. I realize there is so much more needed as well, but those with pessimistic outlooks need to learn to make some lemonade out of lemons and realize this is a huge step forward taken by our government to recognizing our gender dysphoria as a hindrance to having a fulfilled life. I'd hope that when political leaders see that the world did not collapse over this decision, more steps will be taken to ensure that protection and equality must continue to be granted for the Trans*.

    One of those next steps seems to already started being discussed and that's to do away with the outdated M and F on state issued ID's.

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