Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Transgender Blog Challenge Day 18: Local Laws

Today's question is "How do you feel about the trans laws where you live?"

And the answer is "in many respects they're pretty damn shitty."

So first off, I live in Wisconsin.  There are some advantages to that in a trans context.  If you're in a gender reassignment program you are entitled to go to the DMV with a carry letter from a therapist asking to get your name and gender marker changed on your license even if neither has actually been legally changed through a court decision.  You don't need hormones or surgery for this, although unfortunately a lot of DMVs aren't aware of that (mine treated me very coldly about it until they found the legislation requiring them to do it).  The premise is that you probably will be getting on hormones sometime in the future, although to be honest I doubt that they'd make you change it if you never do.

However, changing your birth certificate does require a court decision, and I believe it says "AMENDED" on it, so it looks weird to onlookers.

As far as really local laws, I live around Fond du Lac, which recently became a very unsafe-feeling place for me and a lot of other trans people who live there or near there (and for anybody in Fond du Lac reading this... there are lots of us).  A well-meaning councilman introduced legislation protecting people in housing on the basis of gender identity.  It created a shitstorm of bigoted assholes handing out bathroom-panic fliers.  I emailed the representatives, and the only respectful response I got was from the guy who wrote the legislation (I can tell the others were trying to be respectful, but they abso-fucking-lutely weren't. One of them made a comment about me "using the bathroom of the opposite sex."  Shitbag.)

Of course, the only one who voted in favor of it was the guy who wrote the legislation, with the rest of them going on their merry-bigoted-way.

Anyway, I'm often pretty shielded by this sort of thing, being a hormonally-transitioned trans man and not, for instance, a non-binary person, a poorly-passing trans man, or a trans woman, which would make things a lot more difficult.  And it's certainly better than living places that want me to have fucking surgery before I can even get an accurate driver license.