Thursday, January 29, 2009

Bigotry Of The Ignorant

There are some things that just make me angry - and bigotry that is founded squarely in ignorance is one of them. In this case, one of my netbots dug up an article from "Touchstone" magazine's blog "Mere Comments" talking about some of the legal hoops that transsexuals have to jump through in order to be able to live their lives authentically and in peace.

However, these unfortunate "women" have been able to designate themselves as females on their drivers licenses, passports, and Social Security cards. This has some logic to it, as a patrolman stopping one of them on the road would be confused by M for male on the drivers license, possibly, though the photo would set him straight, perhaps.

I'll ignore the sniping use of quotes here, and the way that he's snidely talking about changing the gender marker on key documents. He's missing the point completely - there is an essential need to be able to make those changes. Most transsexuals do not want to 'out themselves' every time that they apply for a driver's license, passport or whatever.

I can't remember the last time I had to produce my birth certificate, so it is not likely that a change will really protect them from harassment--it's not like a transsexual will show his birth certificate to the guy sitting on the barstool next him.

I can only imagine that the author of this screed has never applied for a passport in either Canada or the United States. For the majority of the population, the birth certificate is one of the key documents for their application. There are two reasons for a transsexual to request an amended birth certificate. First of all, it reduces the issues and complications in applying for other civil and legal documents. Second, why should a transsexual be subjected to additional scrutiny every time they apply for legal documents such as passports? You have to expect that seeing a birth certificate with an old name and gender designation will raise all sorts of questions for someone processing a passport application, or replacing a lost driver's license.

The birth certificate is a historical document. At such and such a time in such and such a place so and so was born--and he was born with male equipment..... Now perhaps these two plaintiffs, who have altered their bodies, now feel entitled to alter history as well. The right to rewrite documented history is apparently now a Civil Right, denied because the surgery was done in Thailand.

The civil right being infringed upon here is the right to live one's life in relative peace, with a degree of privacy about one's past. If you have to 'out' yourself every five years to replace a passport, that just creates additional stress on the individual that is unnecessary. Remember, a transsexual is not a criminal for being transsexual.

The silly bit about this clown's rant is that he doesn't seem to recognize that the issuance of an amended birth certificate doesn't mean that the government destroys the original, rather, it means that there are two in the same file, one with a newer date. From a vital statistics perspective, there is no issue here - all that has happened is that the government has issued an amended document which enables someone to blend into the fabric of society with minimal disruption.

One of the commenters makes the following snide comment:

I think they should be allowed to change the sex on the birth certificate ... if they pass a blood test showing that they have changed their chromosomes.

This is the kind of ignorance that just makes me furious. This kind of ignorant attitude presupposes that gender is embedded entirely in the chromosomes. It isn't, and there's much more to gender than that, and it's beyond rude to make such a broad assertion. There are all sorts of psychosocial aspects to gender, as well as some aspects of identity which "just are" - and sometimes that 'just is' identity doesn't align with the body someone was born with.


Eva-Genevieve! said...

Well Said!

Being referred to as an "unfortunate woman" sure rubs me the wrong way. The only unfortunate thing about me being a woman now is the incredible amount of willful ignorance about what it means to gender-cross (and maybe the large pricetag).

Anonymous said...

Yeah, boy. . .I mean God obviously doesn't know what he's doing when he makes boys and girls. He must have accidentally made that boy a girl, so let's fix that little mistake for him. Oops. . .

Get a grip--boy parts = boy; girl parts = girl. What part's difficult?

MgS said...

Get a grip--boy parts = boy; girl parts = girl. What part's difficult?

Gender exists between the ears as well as between the legs.

People don't transition across genders for fun. They do it because they must, and the alternatives are worse than transition itself.

Do not dismiss that which you do not understand.

Eva-Genevieve! said...

It is sad so many people are willfully ignorant and unwilling to allow that God's creation can hold a humanity that is far more diverse than they are willing to see with their limited physical vision. God makes no mistakes - he did not when he made me a woman with the outward form of a male. Jesus himself told people not to look on outward appearances alone, but to look to the Spirit and to the results that one brings forth oput of their life. Something that is beyond Anonymous' ability to grasp apparently.

What I am doing to change my boy-parts into girl-parts is necessary for me and God has given me the clarity to understand that it is God's will that I learn to live my life according to the path He has set out for me - in this case being a transgendered woman of faith. Much like the paths He set out for someone born, lets say, as a Siamese twin. Obviously to live a somewaht "normal" life this person needs to be altered to live, as do people with birth defects and other things treated with body altering procedures so that they can live more normally.

There is no sin or shame in altering ones body if it helps one to live healthy and sane and have a good self-image and an increased awareness of the goodness God has given her or him. I Thank God I don't have to live anonymous' path of shallow, harsh absolutes. I tried to live that way as a Fundamentalist Christian for many years and could not. I lived a horrible and troubled life up until I transitioned. I thank God that He called me to something much more blessed - a life where I can can be free to be me and embrace myself as created on the inside. I am not living by just the outward form of what I was given, but by the spirit of who I am.

Besides, why is it anonymous' business anyway what is between our legs - I think He/she is the one that needs to "get a grip".

Amber's Transition said...

Eva, I think anonymous is just afraid that he might date a good looking woman and end up getting a grip on the wrong body part. They really have no way of telling a lot of us apart from the fortunate ones who were born with the right parts.
For most men, life revolves around sex in one way or another, most of their decisions are based on sex in one way or another, and of course, men have to be in control, so this issue of transsexualism strikes really deep into their fear and homophobia. They have no idea how many childern are born intersexed in some way, most people are unaware of the true numbers unless they have a child like that, and even then, many of them stick their heads in the sand and pretend it didn't really happen. They just don't know how to deal with the reality of the diversity of human life, and many of them choose not to learn about it, preferring not to know.