Sunday, April 1, 2012


Even in this early stage of our conversation, I am struck again by why I have repeatedly returned to Joyce's books for guidance. She gives me courage. She is honest and open, not afraid to admit her insecurities, and it is evident by her "spiritual success" that she has not been held back by them.
-- Janice Lynn Lundy, Your Truest Self: Embracing the Woman You Are Meant to Be

Somehow, my compassion has been leading me to be an advocate. I follow my heart and act before I can even think whether I should be an advocate or not. It is a maternal instinct to protect the members of my group and my friends. It is deeply seated in compassion. I don't want the suffering.

Just a few days ago, I heard the DJ on a local radio station trying to refer to Jenna Talackova, the Miss Universe contestant who was ejected from the competition because she was a post-operative transsexual woman, in terms bordering on dehumanizing. I couldn't believe I was hearing that in Salt Lake City, where there has been a lot of education. Apparently, not enough. I was calling the radio station before I could think not to, and correcting the DJ. I found out later that the call was live.

A transsexual woman has a lot to overcome to be able to compete in a beauty pageant with cis-gendered women. If she's able to overcome the effects that testosterone unwillingly made to her body and is able to catch up and compete in physically feminine areas, including manners, grace and deportment--if she is able to overcome, let alone compete--it is a massive accomplishment and she should be allowed to compete.

I went to an intersex support group on Friday, and while I was there I encountered an article about mistreatment by the Utah Driver's License Division. When I read the article, I was immediately angered that someone I knew was treated this way. Krystal is a wonderful woman, and when the driver's license division worked to progressively remove her female identity, it was nothing short of abuse, grounded in ill-informed cultural mores. She walked, rather that subject herself to further humiliation, and I am proud of her decision. This tactic by the DLD is not new, as they did the same thing in Draper last year. They seem to not have learned.

The solution is simple, because the problem is readily apparent. The policy about misrepresentation is written in such an ambiguous way that it is applied subjectively instead of objectively. Not to mention, the staff needs to be educated that by forcing a person's identity to match their preconceived ideas of what someone with that gender marker would look like is setting them up for discrimination and abuse at the hands of anyone who reads the ID, especially law enforcement, which is a know occupation of choice for psychopaths. The one thing worse than a jerk is a jerk with a gun and a badge of authority to use it.

Moreover, it makes it more difficult for a person to live full time for a year in their target gender, if their license states the contrary. They will not match their public ID and that will cast more suspicion on them. Living full-time for a year is a requirement to getting surgery, which itself is a requirement to get some birth certificates amended with the new gender marker, which Utah requires before they will change the marker on the driver's license. The only out is via a U.S Passport, because federal ID trumps local and state ID.

The solution is to add a guideline that states that a person's gender expression  shall not be construed as a misrepresentation of gender identity. And then to educate the staff in sensitivity and compassion.

As for me, I am ready to do whatever it takes to get the policy amended.

Hugs and God Bless,

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