Paula Keiser transitioned in 1987 and is President of TransYouth of Kansas. She also maintains the imatyfa.org website. She lives in Topeka with her partner of 13 years, their cat and their two cocker spaniels.
Last week I received a form from the local Federal District Court office. It was designed to determine my qualifications for jury duty. I have no problems with serving on a jury. I consider it my civic duty, and I would be proud to serve. I did have a problem with one of the questions asked on the form, though.
Sex? As long as the word, "gender," coexists with the word, "sex," in the English dictionary, that question can't be possibly be answered accurately using the choices provided.
But being transgender, I am neither - and I am both. If I chose "Female," which most closely matches my self-identity, and the government defines me as "male" because of my birth certificate, and then I sign the certification "under penalty of perjury," I am lying, according to them.
If I choose "Male," then I am denying my own self-identity and I will be supplying an answer that I, myself, know to be dishonest. I will be lying, according to ME.
I suppose they ask that question so they can select juries that are balanced according to gender. If so, would placing me on a jury to achieve a certain proportion of male jurors achieve their objective? Could an attorney object to my presence as a male based upon my appearance? Could they assume that I will "think like a man" because of something a doctor said almost 66 years ago?
And, by the way, just what are the common attributes of a woman (or man) that the court is trying to balance? Couldn't I fit into either category?
I completed the form, leaving that question blank. I am neither. I am both. I'll leave it to them to figure it out.