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  DRASTIC MEASURES?

Should The Trans Movement Try And Get Gender Removed From All Official Documents?

LAW EXERCISE

– Go through your private papers, you identity cards, your membership cards, insurance forms, all of it. On a separate piece of paper, net down which groups, clubs, parties, organizations, or agencies require your gender as a matter of record…

– Next to each group you listed, write down what possible reasons that group might have to record your gender…

ADVANCED LAW EXERCISE

– Write to each group listed above and ask the reason they want your gender.

– If… you feel they’ve no reason to know or fix you into some gender, then write them back politely requesting they remove your gender from their records as this is an invasion of your privacy…

WAY ADVANCED LAW EXERCISE:

Be or hire a lawyer to organize a class action lawsuit to have your gender removed from the records of all of the groups who currently hold that information about you.

REALLY WAY ADVANCED LAW EXERCISE:

In hire book The Apartheid Of Sex, Martine Rothbaltt maintains that a key initial action in a successful transgender movement would be to make illegal the requirement of the M/F designation on all government and public forms the same way that race has been removed as a required piece of information on public forms, including job applications… the sooner this one is done, the sooner the government won’t be able to enforce the M/F dichotomy.”

– Kate Bornstein author of My Gender Workbook describing a way for citizens to challenge the government’s policies which make trans people illegal and invisible.

By:           Daniel Villarreal
On:           Aug 22, 2011
Tagged: , ,

  • 39 Comments
    • Thomas
      Thomas

      And while we are at it, why do most single occupancy restrooms have gender notification signs?

      Aug 22, 2011 at 3:20 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • inoits2
      inoits2

      Proud MALE here. There are very good reasons that gender should be included on government documents. Identification and census are a few. One is important for security reasons the other is statistical data for issues such as women’s income inequality. Since when is acknowledging your gender an invasion of privacy! This claim is really going too far!! How about: “male”, “male-female”, “female-male”, “female”, “not sure” and “it” on a form. That should work. Just like “gay” is not a dirty word neither is “gender”.

      Aug 22, 2011 at 3:24 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • inoits2
      inoits2

      @Thomas: Maybe men are more likely to piss on the seat.

      Aug 22, 2011 at 3:26 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • EmmaMTF
      EmmaMTF

      ^Oh c’mon. One hostile, idiotic comment already and there hasn’t even been a debate >:/

      I think it’s more a matter of customer service and relations for many agencies, rather than a necessary vital statistic. This does happen to create a rather uncomfortable experience for anyone who doesn’t exactly conform to the gender stereotype, but we’re so low in number that these institutions won’t be changing anytime soon. Either way, if it IS unnecessary, YOU should be fighting for your right to privacy.

      @Thomas gender segregated areas are not the same subject as a useful(or not) statistic. GTFO

      Aug 22, 2011 at 3:28 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • inoits2
      inoits2

      I look forward to the day when we all look like Barbie dolls below the waist.

      Aug 22, 2011 at 3:33 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • christopher di spirito
      christopher di spirito

      Oh, I can’t wait to see the Trans movement try to get this past Janet Napolitano.

      Aug 22, 2011 at 3:35 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • tallest
      tallest

      There is a difference between gender and sex. Gender is unnecessary while sex on most government forms matters, for instance Selective Service. There is a perfectly natural difference between the sexes. Why is it not okay for that to be reflected in legal documents?

      Aug 22, 2011 at 3:57 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • JayKay
      JayKay

      Transgender shmazgender, do we really have to rid ourselves of traditions we hold dear such as checking a box on certain documents that tells the world what we have in our pants? This is an outrage! I bet a cootie infested woman is behind all this hoo ha…

      Aug 22, 2011 at 3:57 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jimmy Fury
      Jimmy Fury

      I agree only to the point that “gender” shouldn’t be what’s asked because it’s grammatically incorrect.
      The questions want to know what sex you are and should be worded accordingly. It’s silly that the word “sex” is considered dirty and is substituted for a word that is not the synonym people try to make it.

      Aug 22, 2011 at 4:09 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • JayKay
      JayKay [Different person #1 using similar name]

      @JayKay:

      Quiet you handsome devil.

      Aug 22, 2011 at 4:31 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Dave
      Dave

      It’s a good point.

      Even in the few cases where there’s a legitimate reason for them to ask, it’s usually the case that the legitimate reason is fucking sexist. Selective service should apply to everybody. If we tried to base health or car insurance rates on race the way we do on sex, people would riot in the streets. If my picture is on my ID, what would a sex or gender designation possibly add? Are they going to examine my genitals? Why not put my sexual orientation on there while we’re at it?

      I don’t even see this as a trans issue, even though it’s a solution that would definitely benefit transpeople. It’s nobody’s business what gender I am, even ihough I’m cisgendered.

      Aug 22, 2011 at 4:44 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brad
      Brad

      It’s important for the government to know someone’s sex for many reason. One of the obvious reasons is to discern discrimination in hiring practices.

      Aug 22, 2011 at 5:08 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jimmy Fury
      Jimmy Fury

      @Brad: Technically speaking that data could be gathered from the same voluntary survey’s currently used to verify racially diversity in hiring.

      However I do think there are other reasons why ones sex should be a matter of, at the very least, government record. If, for example, there’s a serial rapist on the loose and someone sees him, the police need to be able to search some sort of record for men fitting his description.
      Or ya know… if your severed limbs are found in a dumpster it’s helpful in searching missing persons reports…

      Jesus I need to cut back on the Law & Order reruns…

      Aug 22, 2011 at 5:26 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Sara
      Sara

      Queerty got it right this time, referring to the “transgender movement”. Because that is what it is. It is not an “LGBT” movement.

      Gays are not at war with the concepts of male and female. Gay men are men. Lesbians are women. The only people who have a problem with that are homophobes and the “queer” activists who gave us the ridiculous concept of LGBT.

      LGBs have little to nothing to do with Ts. We are not in conflict with our gender. We don’t need or want hormones, surgery, or bathroom accommodations. Although we have occasionally fought for the elimination of heterosexist language in govt. docs and forms, we have no reason to join a crusade to eradicate the mention of gender in govt. documents.

      The trans movement should do whatever it thinks is best for trans people. But they should not expect, let alone demand, that gay people will depart from their civil rights struggle in order to focus on these bizarre issues.

      Aug 22, 2011 at 6:02 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • gc
      gc

      @inoits2:
      The pronoun “it” refers to inanimate objects. Unless you think trans people aren’t humans, that is an inappropriate way to refer to them. Similarly “male-female”/”female-male” relegates us to third gender status. Trans people are not “it” “he-she” or anything like that.

      The problem here is that, even if (and that’s a big if) a trans person is able to change their legal gender, there is often a paper trail revealing that they’re trans. For example, many documents ask you to specify whether you’re registered for selective service. When an employer, lender, insurance company, college admissions board, etc. sees a check mark next to Yes but a check mark next F, or a check mark next to no but an M, or a check mark next to M but an F standing in front of them, this immediately raises questions and arouses suspicion about your legal identity (people who don’t want to be classified as either M or F face a whole different set of issues which I couldn’t hope to address, because unlike some people here I don’t like spouting ignorance about things I don’t understand). We are not talking about data mining or any of the few areas where there might be a legitimate reason to specify your sex/gender. We’re talking about access to basic services and legal integrity that most cis people take for granted.

      Aug 22, 2011 at 6:12 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Ginasf
      Ginasf

      I’d like to take this discussion seriously but, unfortunately, Daniel@Queerty has been making posts with exploitative headlines which are clearly intended to attract non-trans GL trolls. And that’s a shame, because for a brief moment, Mr. Villarreal seemed as if he really cared about trans issues as something other than an excuse to get the gheys coming here to click your advertising banners.

      In reference to the subject, I would hope, at some point in the near future, people could check a “declines to state” or “other” option under their gender for those who would be more comfortable with that, but most people in the trans community don’t, in fact, wish to see the concept of gender legally eradicated. Any assumption of such, just because Kate Bornstein says so, is rooted in ignorance.

      Aug 22, 2011 at 6:24 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • gc
      gc

      @Sara:
      “LGBs have little to nothing to do with Ts. We are not in conflict with our gender. We don’t need or want hormones, surgery, or bathroom accommodations.”
      Except the trans gays and lesbians right? They’re just “bizarre” though. Icky icky icky!

      But yeah, that’s what alliance means, that everyone in the alliance is exactly the same. So all Gs are also Ls and Ts. Letters!

      Aug 22, 2011 at 6:28 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • No One
      No One

      @Sara:

      Hey Sara, could you do me a huge favor and broadcast your opinions to every LGBT group in the United States? None of them think you people exist. Better yet, please make youtube videos of your opinions on trans people and share them everywhere. As it is, I’m really tired of seeing my letter tacked on to your bizarre “struggle” in self-importance.

      Never mind that eliminating sex recognition on legal documents would give you all marriage…

      Aug 22, 2011 at 7:06 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • gc
      gc

      @Ginasf:
      Yeah Kate’s position is a bit extreme, totally removing gender as a legal category. It should be stated that most people aren’t demanding that. The main thing people should realize here is that trans folk shouldn’t be outed every time they fill out a document, and that as things stand this a reality for many people.

      Aug 22, 2011 at 7:46 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • pc
      pc

      i thought that photo was brett sommers. then i thought it was mary matalin.

      Aug 22, 2011 at 8:47 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Daniel Villarreal
      Daniel Villarreal

      @Ginasf: Oh Gina. I’m always happy to see you on our comment boards. I remain one of the only mainstream, non-trans LGBT bloggers who regularly covers trans issues because I do really care about them. We write exploitative headlines about every topic as a way to incite response in conversation and thought. All are welcome to comment including the “non-trans GL trolls” that sound off in almost every article thread here at Queerty.

      Aug 22, 2011 at 10:35 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Ian
      Ian

      As a gay male and lawyer, gotta say I’m (mostly) with Sara on this. The Trans movement should take approaches that serve trans folks best. But I can’t put energy/time/money behind the notion of obliterating the idea of gender and removing it from check-boxes on forms. Gays and lesbians have larger civil rights issues to focus on.

      Aug 22, 2011 at 11:57 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • AFruit4Thought
      AFruit4Thought

      @Sara: Gender totally has everything to do with the queer rights movement. Do you think flamboyant boys are bullied because they’re gay? No. They’re bullied because they don’t fit the masculine stereotype. When anti-equality bigots are “okay” with gays but just don’t want to see them “flaunt it,” isn’t it possible that they talking about gender presentation and not about gays doing it in public?

      How about calling tom-boyish women dykes? Is it because society has seen them having sex with another woman or because the women aren’t acting stereotypically feminine?

      To say that homophobia and gender identity discrimination are two dichotomous categories is not only ignorant, but it’s harmful to the fight for equality. Have you read any of the news about Lawrence King? Teachers, students, etc. talk about his femininity A LOT. Should give you a hint as to why he was brutally murdered.

      Aug 23, 2011 at 1:42 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Diego_Rivera_II
      Diego_Rivera_II

      Those are some good points, AFruit4Thought. Especially about Lawrence King. Unfortunately, the classmates also got their jollies at his femininity and enjoyed encouraging him to go after the kid who eventually shot him, so….they’re guilty of a kind of bullying as well.

      Aug 23, 2011 at 2:33 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • jeff4justice
      jeff4justice

      For a great interview about trans youth check out:
      TransYouth Family Allies Kim Pearson Conversations For Connecting Full Interview

      Aug 23, 2011 at 2:33 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Sara
      Sara [Different person #1 using similar name]

      @AFruit4Thought:

      You are right. Some bullies and homophobes believe the stereotype that gays are “girly men” and that lesbians are “tomboys”. So do you know what the proper response to that is? A clear message to educate people that those stereotypes are untrue and that gay people, just like straight people, do not all act in any one way.

      Do you know what the worst possible response would be? Telling the world that gay kids are “queer” (to use your word), i.e., marginal and disruptive by their very nature and existence. And telling the world that gays are actually linked in some fundamental, defining way with transsexuals, hermaphrodites, and transvestites. LGBT doesn’t combat the stereotypes. It promotes them.

      Aug 23, 2011 at 3:52 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • JAW
      JAW

      “Kate Bornstein author of My Gender Workbook describing a way for citizens to challenge the government’s policies which make trans people illegal and invisible.”

      Kate is toooo funny… nothing that she lists makes trans people illegal… and i thought that we all just wanted to fit in with the rest of society. I want to be invisible, I do not want to stand out.

      The transsexual men that I know, do not stand out, they fit in. I was not aware that they were trans for a year or so.

      The transgender group are the ones with the big issues… they are the ones that have told me that I am no longer male… I am a cismale… They have told the Transvestites that they can’t use that word after over one hundred years… they are now cross dressers

      The transgenders want to feel comfortable… but they do not give a shit about how they make everyone else feel…

      The odd thing is that it is the transgender mtf who are the biggest issue… they are the ones that need to stop all of this bull crap and let me live my lif as I was BORN to do.

      Aug 23, 2011 at 9:33 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Vince
      Vince

      @Sara: You are seriously one backwards, uneducated, fuck. YOU’RE the reason the queer community is so fractured. If you wonder why transgender individuals feel so isolated from the rest of this “community,” you need only to look into a mirror.

      Aug 23, 2011 at 10:26 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Daez
      Daez

      @Vince: Maybe its because they ARE NOT part of the community. The closest the transgendered individuals get to the LGB community is to perform on stage all dressed up and in make up. In short, the T is the clown of the LGB population.

      Aug 23, 2011 at 10:52 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • AFruit4Thought
      AFruit4Thought

      @Sara: Maybe you’re confusing gender and sex.

      “Gays are not at war with the concepts of male and female. Gay men are men. Lesbians are women. … LGBs have little to nothing to do with Ts. We are not in conflict with our gender.”

      I can understand that you don’t want to eradicate all mention of gender from government documents. However, it is naive to believe that gays and lesbians are not in “conflict with our gender.” Sure, many gay men and many lesbians feel male and female, respectively. That does not mean that the LGB fight shouldn’t include gender presentation as a main tenant of the fight against homophobia.

      I use “queer” to reclaim a derogatory term as inclusive of the LGBTQQISA etc. etc. community. I understand that you don’t like the term. That’s cool. But don’t forget that our opponents don’t like that homosexual men are called “gay” because that can be deemed a “redefinition of a word,” too.

      @JAW: Many gay men, lesbians, and bisexuals don’t fit in either. You don’t have to embrace “cismale” – no one is forcing the label on you. If you don’t want to redefine gender, that’s your right. Just like it’s my right to “redefine” marriage to include same-gender couples.

      Semantics and word choice play both ways.

      Aug 23, 2011 at 10:54 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • JAW
      JAW

      @AFruit4Thought:

      and many straights do not fit in either. You will not find many, if any, mainline straight people embracing, donating, and raising money for groups like Punks, skins, Goth etc. Why is it that the LGB people are required to support tqqaisap etc?
      The transsexual men that I know, live as men. They hate being lumped in with the transgender mtf.

      I wish that the tqqaisap etc. would do their own thing. That way the money that I donate will go to help me and those like me.

      Aug 23, 2011 at 11:27 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • missanthrope
      missanthrope

      @JAW:

      “The transsexual men that I know, live as men. They hate being lumped in with the transgender mtf. ”

      That’s wonderful for the couple of trans guys you know. Knowing a couple of trans dudes isn’t really conclusive proof of what all trans people think.

      “You will not find many, if any, mainline straight people embracing, donating, and raising money for groups like Punks, skins, Goth etc. Why is it that the LGB people are required to support tqqaisap etc?”

      lol identity =/= music subculture.

      “That way the money that I donate will go to help me and those like me.”

      So wait, since your going to reduce your empathy down to the lowest common denominator, wwho is it going to apply too? Just gay men? Just gay men of certain race the same as yours? Just Bears or Twinks? Or just gay men who are in your income bracket? How much does a person have to conform to your personal standards of acceptability for you to give at least a little understanding.

      This bizarre propensity of people to support people “just like me” is tribalistic, divisive and small-minded. I has no place in a community that was founded on openness, broad-mindedness and diversity.

      Aug 23, 2011 at 1:33 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • No Idea
      No Idea

      If LGBT is too offensive and @Sara:
      “Do you know what the worst possible response would be? Telling the world that gay kids are “queer” (to use your word), i.e., marginal and disruptive by their very nature and existence.” But clearly you think it’s okay to present trans people as marginal and disruptive. So everyone has to be accepting and understanding of your sexuality, even though it’s pretty foreign to a lot of people (like the idea that someone’s gender identity could conflict with their external phenotype) but our gender is off limits. I find it hard to take people seriously when they whine about trans people being selfish and demanding of LGB and then turn around and display this level of narcissism and hypocrisy.

      And I’m not even sure what you people are talking about to that point, that is, “LGBT” politics weighing you down. I mean in terms of Gay, inc. politics trans inclusion is mostly a form of tokenism with extremely limited political benefits for trans people, but calculated advantages for the gay rights orgs and Democratic politicians that they are definitely aware of and shrewdly exploit. They know how the game works and how to build up a positive image while stepping on people to get what they want (they wouldn’t have gotten so far in politics if they weren’t cynical and manipulative). And they have been doing just that for 20 years. Anybody who isn’t living under a rock, willfully ignorant, or just looking for an excuse to whine about trans people is aware of this.

      Aug 23, 2011 at 6:51 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • gc
      gc

      If LGBT is too offensive and @Sara:
      “Do you know what the worst possible response would be? Telling the world that gay kids are “queer” (to use your word), i.e., marginal and disruptive by their very nature and existence.” But clearly you think it’s okay to present trans people as marginal and disruptive. So everyone has to be accepting and understanding of your sexuality, even though it’s pretty foreign to a lot of people (like the idea that someone’s gender identity could conflict with their external phenotype) but our gender is off limits. I find it hard to take people seriously when they whine about trans people being selfish and demanding of LGB and then turn around and display this level of narcissism and hypocrisy.

      And I’m not even sure what you people are talking about to that point, that is, LGB(t) politics weighing you down. I mean in terms of Gay, inc. politics trans “inclusion” is mostly a form of tokenism with extremely limited political benefits for trans people, but calculated advantages for the gay rights orgs and Democratic politicians that they are definitely aware of and shrewdly exploit. They know how the game works and how to build up a positive image while stepping on people to get what they want (they wouldn’t have gotten so far in politics if they weren’t cynical and manipulative). And they have been doing just that for 20 years. Anybody who isn’t living under a rock, willfully ignorant, or just looking for an excuse to whine about trans people is aware of this.

      Aug 23, 2011 at 7:24 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Sara
      Sara [Different person #2 using similar name]

      @FruitforThought:

      I appreciate your last comment. It was well argued and civil.

      I do understand why you and others use the term queer and I do get that you are not using it with the same intent as the schoolyard bully or gaybasher who uses it. I object to it for 2 reasons. First, this “reclaiming” effort doesn’t work. After 20+ years of attempted reclamation, “queer” is still a horrible epithet that alienates and wounds gay people and which is often the last thing a gay person hears before experiencing an assault. Unfortunately, bullies and bashers don’t do irony and they don’t hang out in Gender Studies departments and so are unperturbed by the queer reclamation project. So despite your good intentions, by using “queer,” you are not sparing gays from the epithet and, if anything, you are muddying the waters and making more difficult to educate the public that the term is out of bounds.

      Second, the term is often used not to refer to gays, but to refer to a class of persons who are outsiders – people who are transgressive or who undermine existing norms. Now, the gay movement does challenge certain norms, such as societal homophobia. But that does not mean that we are a movement of all outsiders and all people who threaten any societal norm. And as we make progress in ending institutional homophobia, the old notion of the gay as permanent outsider, living on the fringes of society, fades. It isn’t fair to tell a gay kid in 2011 that he is “queer.” In this century, he isn’t.

      @Missanthrope:

      “How much does a person have to conform to your personal standards of acceptability for you to give at least a little understanding. [sic]”

      You would do well to ask yourself the same question, albeit with correct punctuation. You prattle on endlessly about “trans” issues. You work for “trans” organizations. You write a blog devoted almost entirely to “trans” issues. Clearly, you have your priorities and the number one priority is the welfare of people like you. I can tell you that the people starving in Somalia and Ethiopia are in dire straits and have much more serious issues than combating “heteronormativity” and “privilege”. Yet you keep on working on your issues. Selfish.

      @No Idea/gc:

      I did not say, and do not believe, that trans people are marginal or disruptive by their very existence. And I would not use the term “queer” to apply to them any more than I would use it to apply to gay people. In fact, I support the vast majority of what the trans movement wants. And I think that gays can be allies with the trans movement on specific issues, like hate crimes and anti-bullying codes. What I object to is the attempt to fundamentally alter the gay community and the gay rights movement. Changing “gay” to “LGBT” or “queer” is more than semantics.

      It changes our community into one consisting of a vast array of groups, most of whose members are heterosexual, and whose issues have little or nothing to do with gay people. And it tells gay, lesbians, and bi kids that they are fundamentally linked in some way to a variety of groups when that is not true. If a gay kid wants to identify himself as “queer” or identify with cross-dressers, then he should do so. But it is outrageous to tell every gay kid that he is so definitionally linked, whether he wants to be or not. And just to be clear, it also is atrocious to tell a transsexual girl or boy that they are, by virtue of being trans, somehow “gay”. It’s wrong to tell lies to kids.

      Aug 24, 2011 at 3:16 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Sadie M.
      Sadie M.

      Why would females want to drop the only thing that provides documentation of sex discrimination against women?
      Seriously Trans folks I wish you well, but your goals are in direct opposition to those of women, lesbians, and gays.
      We aren’t fighting for the “right” to be closeted, or the “right” to be surgically “corrected”. We’re fighting for the opposite. To be accepted as we are.

      Aug 24, 2011 at 7:32 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • missanthrope
      missanthrope [Different person #1 using similar name]

      @Sadie M.:

      lol, you have no who I am or what kind of activism I do or what kind of blog I maintain, if one at all. Total fail troll.

      Aug 24, 2011 at 1:07 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Reality
      Reality

      But they don’t record gender on government documents. They record SEX. There are many legitimate reasons to ask, people have listed several of them above. Since we still don’t even have a constitutional amendment requiring women to be treated as people, I think its jumping the gun a bit to say we’re past the need to pay attention to birth sex at all.

      Aug 24, 2011 at 2:23 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Anne E.
      Anne E.

      The reality is, the mainstream of society is never going to go for this. It betrays common sense. There ARE anatomical differences between the sexes and female-bodied people have a thousands of years of history to back us up in our justified fear of the male sex.

      Aug 24, 2011 at 8:15 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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