Drew Cordes

Modern Medicine Now Able to Bestow Constitutional Rights

Filed By Drew Cordes | March 21, 2011 7:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Politics, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: LGBT civil rights, sex reassignment surgery, straight, transgender

If there's anything that illustrates the inanity of our nation's policies on queer rights, it's what I'm about to go through. In two months, I'll be trekking up to Canada for sex reassignment surgery. scalpel.jpg (Yes, Canada. That's what I think of your health care system, America.) When I eventually return to the Land of the Lost and the Home of the Whopper, I'll have more rights than I do now.

Who knew? If you want more Constitutional rights in this country, all you need is a little surgery. The advances of modern medicine really are amazing, aren't they?

That social conservatives and devotees to the patriarchy had to concede this loophole is a delicious piece of irony. Try as they might to disenfranchise everyone outside the heteronormative circle, the naïve black-and-white rules they so harshly impose turn against them in this case. Penis = Man. Vagina = Woman. No exceptions. Everyone must reside within the gender binary. No one can be in the middle, and no one can choose where they want to be.

Even though my driver's license says F, everyone calls me "she" and "her," and I subscribe to Vogue, the federal government still considers me a man. If I had a boyfriend, our relationship would be a gay male relationship in the eyes of the feds, and subject to all the restrictions thereof. Unfortunately, the feds won't go on to explain why gay men don't give me a second look in the bars. Hmm, it couldn't be my long hair, makeup, tits, dresses, soft skin and overall feminine manner. C'mon gay guys, what am I doing wrong?

After my two weeks in Canada, however, I will be free to marry Hypothetical Boyfriend (I do love him so) and enjoy all the rights straight people enjoy. Because we'll be straight! Both of us! The procedure is so effective that Hypothetical Boyfriend will become straight merely by association. It's surprising that the ex-gay movement hasn't caught on to this surefire cure yet. We're gay right now, but in two months we'll be straight! Yay! Gay to straight, all while continuing to date the same person! Now, that's a miracle!

I'll have a vagina, so I'll be a woman. That's that. Nothing else I've done in my years of transition matters. As we all know, gender is only about genitals. That's why when we're first introduced to someone, those of us in civilized society grab each other's crotches before settling on using "he" or "she."

The truth is I'll be just as queer two months from now as I am today. But the methods the federal government uses to discriminate against queers most effectively result in a small blind spot, where I will reside. I am the exhaust shaft in the Death Star of discrimination. Hopefully, one day the utter ridiculousness of all this will blow the fucker to smithereens.


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Oh, cheer up. Just look at it this way, you will have had a religious conversion. You'll be a "protected class that people opt in or out of." Just explain to those government honchos you were born with the gay gene. I'll bet you'll garner more support than you'll ever imagine.

I'm stuck, though, I've been married to the same woman for thirty-six years. What does that make me? A lesbian? But, how do I explain the "gay" gene?

"That's why when we're first introduced to someone, those of us in civilized society grab each other's crotches before settling on using "he" or "she."" This made the image of sniffing each other's crotches, like dogs, pop into my head.

Brad Bailey | March 21, 2011 8:41 PM

I wish you all the best in your sexual reassignment surgery. Have a safe journey. Let us know how it goes.

Brassard's good. In the top half-dozen in the world. You could not be in better hands.

I don't know what jurisdiction you were born in, so don't know what the situation is regarding your BC.

Because I'm IS not TS, I can't take advantage of the UK's Gender Recognition Act, and pending a change in legislation (actually 2 changes), my Birth Certificate will always say "boy". But it also says "WARNING: A CERTIFICATE IS NOT EVIDENCE OF IDENTITY". at the bottom, in bold capitals.

My Australian and UK passports both say "F".

Anyway, in the UK I could only marry another woman, and in Australia, I could only marry a man. Because same-sex marriage is forbidden in both places.

I think in Texas my legal sex would depend on which county I'm in.

Actually, now that you mention it, Zoe, Tennessee, that's where I was born. No, it isn't simply a matter of having surgery for some of us. I still don't know what that would mean if I wanted to re-marry, male or female. I wonder if I could marry, male or female? I know that in almost half the states in this country I couldn't marry a woman if I did have my birth certificate changed but considering my current situation, I really don't know!

My first reply to Drew was meant to be sarcastic. I assume she has carefully considered her situation and is making the correct choice for her.

'Vene", I don't know what your background is. I will only speak for myself but I find this comment of yours . . .

Merry depenising.

. . . very rude and ignorant. I assume Drew is having a vaginoplasty performed. When a vaginoplasty is performed and homologous erectile tissue available, it is used to reconstruct the genitals to form a vagina. The tissue of the vagina eventually becomes indistinguishable from that of a natal vagina. Estrogen, alone, will suppress testosterone production but an orchiectomy nearly completely suppresses testosterone production. Removal of the testicles is the significant removal that takes place in vaginoplasty. The holistic effect of the vaginoplasty and estrogen hormone replacement therapy effects a sex change, regardless of whether all sex characteristics are changed or not.

In some women, natal women, it should be noted, orchiectomy has a negative affect. I assume you wouldn't understand any of this. Regardless, some women rely on the testosterone their testicles produce to aromatize to estrogen to maintain their feminine characteristics - breast and skin tone, bone strength, etc.

All of this is complicated. Some people may have vaginoplasty for cosmetic reasons but the effects amount to a lot more than just cosmetics. There is an incredible amount of overlap between male and female and, yes, it is possible to change sex characteristics, even primary ones. There is a good reason why they're called primary characteristics, too. A penis does not make a man a man. It's the testosterone produced by the testicles, adrenal glands, or cysts on ovaries that causes people to masculinize, only if they are receptive to it on a cellular level. Even in such cases, masculinization does not always = "man". The penis? It's just spongy tissue, just like the tissue in some of the bushkins of the bombastic.

So what is your point? Are you really that jealous of heterosexual transsexuals that you'd throw us to the wolves because your having a pity party about being lesbian or bisexual also. Your being transsexual is a different issue from your sexual orientation. Yes you have a right to be pissed off because you can't choose to marry who you wish but what you don't have a right to do is to drag other TS women into your fight for that right. You want to fight for lesbian or gay marriage fight for it as a lesbian or as a gay man. I support gay marriage and I also support TS rights but I keep those two issues separate because not all T's are gay. If you think all T's are LG or B you are supporting the very stereotypes you are claiming to fight. If you believe that you have a choice to have that surgery or not you are supporting the stereotypes because you are choosing to fit in one of them. If you think all T's should fit under a neatly packaged word called transgender you are supporting those stereotypes. If you believe from the first breath you took you should have been born a girl and that is the only reason your having it good luck with your surgery sister.

Great comment, amym440. You make some very interesting points... all of which are true. I think your last sentence sums it all up perfectly.

I think you're projecting a lot of different issues on to this essay that aren't there: I'm well-aware sexuality and gender are different; How exactly am I throwing people to the wolves?; How am I dragging people into "my fight?"; Why do I have to be gay to fight for gay marriage?; Where did I say all T's were gay?; Where did I say I believe all T's are "LG or B?"; How is my personal need for surgery supporting a stereotype?; Who said I think all T's should fit neatly in a package?

I don't know where you're getting all this from. You did understand this post was sarcastic, right? I mean, I laid it on pretty thick.

You asked my point? The only point I was making is outlined pretty clearly in the first sentence: "If there's anything that illustrates the inanity of our nation's policies on queer rights, it's what I'm about to go through." That's it.

Drew, that was how I took it, over the top sarcastic, overall whimsical about all the absurd contradictions built into biological essentialism.

So, you seem to have the impression that once you have a vagina, all of your civil rights will be taken care of. How naive.

In the Midwest, there have been several trans folk who got married post-SRS to their opposite gender partner. Unfortunately, many of them have been nullified when the court found out.

really? you mean what would be str8 marriages?

I have not heard about this, do you have some links? I thought that as long as the birth certificates aligned as opposite sex, all was ok? How would the clerk know the history? Or were these challenged by someone outside the marriage for some reason?

Personally, I am still with the woman I married was before my sex change, and I am have been told that we are still legally married, though I have never found a lawyer who can say that for sure. Seems to be a gray area. But I thought ppl could get str8 married with no problem?

Yes, straight marriages between a cis guy and a trans girl. Bitterly, the disposition of such cases primarily depends on who gets hauled into court first: a straight trans couple or a gay/lesbian trans couple.

Marriages can be challenged after the fact for several reasons. The most well known case involved the State of Texas successfully seeking the retroactive annulment of a trans woman's marriage so that she could not sue for wrongful death over the death of her husband due to medical negligence. The most common reason, however, is biological family seeking to annul a marriage so that they can cut a trans widow out of her husband's inheritance and take it all for themselves.

I am very familiar with the Littleton case. In general, I very strongly believe that any of us, even trans women who have had SRS, can rely on being allowed to be 'female' only until it suits someone else's purpose for us to be declared men (speaking mostly to ppl with simple XY genotype, don't know much about the legalities of IS).

It's just that I have done a lot of searches in the past for invalidation of gender/sex in court cases, and can't remember any in Indiana. And I have lived here for over 20 years, I wonder how I missed those, so I'd like to learn more about them if possible.

Carol I'm sure you know many women choose to live stealth. Here's something to ponder your a married heterosexual identified transsexual who likes to keep it a secret.Unfortunately your marriage and is on the rocks and your husband wants a divorce and says he'll blame your being TS on it. Other than wanting to maintain your privacy from other people you never witheld your past from him. You can fight him on it knowing full well that it will become a blown out of proportion national news story and that you'll most likely lose or you can cave into his demands and end it quietly. What would you do and can you blame the woman who caved into his demands? All of us need to do a better job of representing ourselves in the public eye and in making them realize we really are women. Doesn't matter Lesbian or straight the message has to be an unwavering we are women and should be afforded the same rights as any woman.

Carol I forgot to add if you come to the conclusion you can't blame them now imagine how many cases you've never heard of or ever will.

I have absolutely no idea how this comment applies to anything I said.

I am talking about having someone legally declared male to prevent them from benefiting in some way from being considered female, generally as a spouse of a man. Even if they *do* fight it in court, not just give up when threatened with having to defend themselves as female in court.

Thank you for pointing that out Bil. Drew here is a link to the Iowa Republican Party Platform read 6.03 http://iowagop.org/rpi-platform/ .I would recomend reading the entire platform then look for the one for your state and read it. I support marriage for all LGB's which in turn means I support marriage for pre-op, post-op and non-op TS that would also be LGB. Heterosexual T's haven't had a voice in the LGB eveybody has just assumed it is okay to label us transgender or even to include us in the community whether we wish to be or not or they simply tell us to shut up. I'm here by choice for now but my intention is to follow in the path of others and just disappear when the time comes. But before I do I want to make sure my voice is heard loud and clear and that nobody takes my rights for granted in the quest for recognotion of theirs. Drew while you may have meant your post to be full of sarcasm I still see it as very damaging and pointing to the attitude I find most troubling of other T's.

Amy,

I have a whole new way of looking the social scheme of trans and gay, and in my opinion, the GLBs or the GLB(TG)s don't much even think of str8 TS women even existing, or TS women like me as belonging.

I don't think they are trying to coop you or your terminology; gay culture seem to have used 'transsexual' to mean their own things for a long time, and lesbian culture has used 'trans' for their own thing, too.

It seems to me that the problem you have is that you want to trademark certain words and keep everyone else from using them so noone confuses the terms and meanings (and ppl who fit them) from the G and L communities with what you are. It isn't that they are speaking for you or about you, it is that their messages are overriding what you want out there.

I know this has been said before, and you and the other ppl who feel the same way as you are extremely resistant to it, but when you have a few tens of thousands and a a few millions using the same terms, and the tens of thousands want to keep the millions messages from polluting their message, someone has to change their terms.

You can do what you want, of course, but since there are millions of GLB(TS) ppl who use these terms the way they want, and who don't really give a shit what you think, the most practical thing is for the small group to get some new terms and own those.

This may not satisfy your sense of justice, or fairness, or what you feel are the god-given, implicit meanings of these terms, but it is about the only way you can move forward, other than trying to work with the bigger groups in a cooperative way to try to get them to make more distinction, which you don't seemd inclined to do, more preferring an aggressive approach.

Since you and your like-minded folks seem to like some other terms better anyhow, why not lobby with the mental health and medical professions to use those terms, and just let those condescending gay ppl use transsexual and all that?

There is just one problem with your scenario Carol the word Transsexual has existed longer than its gay community usage.Why should I accept their usage and their attempted co-oping and replacement of it with a word that even spellchecker doesn't recognize.No Carol I'd rather take it out into the public domain where the general population can decide who is the bully and who isn't. Who's agenda is one worth recognizing and who's is one that isn't.I think it will do the LGB(?) community a lot of good to get this type of exposure. Being put in a position where they have to seriously look at their policies and what they are pushing and the externalization they are causing. The general public might even enjoy it and support the transgender pushers after all they did enjoy Jerry Springer long enough to give him a good run. Heck I think I might just go on a talk show and discuss some of these issues. Don't worry to much though unlike some people I won't claim to represent everyone I'll simply voice my opinion on it.Hopefully they'll have someone like you on that will accuse me of being a bully just for expressing an opinion you don't agree with.

PS Carol and generally speaking the one who is the Bully is usually the one that says i'm bigger than you give me your lunch money. Kinda sounds like what you said come to think of it.

Once again, your reading comprehension seems to be inversely proportional to your defensiveness.

I am not trying to defend the message of the GLB(TG) community, and I don't see myself as part of that community (I don't see myself as part of yours, either, which is the real problem for you, I think, and I find your approach very anti-social, while I see theirs as more cluelessness and apathy).

I definitely am not trying to bully you into knuckling under to your oppressors. Knock yourself out, make as much noise as you like, though I doubt anyone beyond the little WBT/HBS/WOH/whatever online groups are going to pay any attention to you.

Personally, I don't much give a shit either way anymore. I just thought I would make one last attempt at trying to suggest another path besides righteous outrage and a wasted crusade against perceived injustice on your part. But go have fun with it, and if it please you to add me to your enemy list, that's fine with me.

As some have pointed out, that may depend on which country, state or even city/county you are in. Because regardless of what is or isn't a social construction, until there is wider awareness and more consistent legislation to this, one's gender certainly is a legal construction.

Civil rights and citizenship should not depend on the state of one's genitals. Nor should one have to pursue surgery solely for the sake of achieving rights and citizenship. (Not that I'm saying this is your motive).

If you do settle into that blind spot, then good for you, but never take it for granted that it'll always be there.

I don't think she's asserting that it should; I think she's pointing out the sheer absurdity of the fact that the law says it does.

In Florida, SRS does not change one's marital status because of the Kantaris Case. An appeal court ruled that Michael Kantaris (who had lived as a man for years,had a full beard,and worked as a meat-cutter) was still a women for the purpose of marriage and his marriage to a woman was annulled.

This is an interesting topic, one that should be considered more often in the LBGT community and the marriage rights issue.

I will say that in the midwest, I have learned not to use sarcasm because it it rarely understood. You will always be read literally first.

Dr.Harry Benjamin came up with a scale (HBS) that is very misunderstood regarding degrees of Transgender. Modeled off of Kinsey's scale, Benjamin defined 6 blended levels of what we call "transgender" now.

It varied from Transgender one through transsexual 6 as TV1, TV2, TV3, TS4, TS5, TS6. The medical industry has settled on TS4 as where hormone treatment is appropriate and TS5 as the dividing line for sexual reasignment surgery.

The science of medicine has convinced some law makers to accept this understanding in law, amazingly.

I am TS4. I am happy having a body that puts me in the middle. I wish I could have the legal designation as T as opposed to M or F, because that is the only thing honest. If I where to be thrown in a jail cell, I would want to be F, if I where to marry again, I would want to be M to be allowed my F partner. If I want health insurance, I had better be one or the other!

Drew here goes it.
How exactly am I throwing people to the wolves?
If there's anything that illustrates the inanity of our nation's policies on queer rights, it's what I'm about to go through.The truth is I'll be just as queer two months from now as I am today.
Then why go through it? Why associate being T to being queer unless your a queer T and then you should state it solely from that angle instead of saying it in a blanket way that entraps all T's.Also by simply bringing this up in the format you did I see it as drawing negative attention to heterosexual T women also what statement are you making about the need for surgery for some? Is it only so they can slip through a loophole in the law? I have always thought of myself as a woman who just happened to be born TS. I'm not trying to slip through a loophole in the law nor am I trying to totally change the gender binary although I do agree it needs some attention as do the views about sexual orientation.

How am I dragging people into "my fight?"; Why do I have to be gay to fight for gay marriage?; Where did I say all T's were gay?; Where did I say I believe all T's are "LG or B?"; How is my personal need for surgery supporting a stereotype?; Who said I think all T's should fit neatly in a package?
Read my last post and what I said in this one already. Also in my last post I feel that I need to clarify what I meant by other T's. There are certain T's that hold the belief because they aren't at the level they require surgery that it is okay to project that feeling onto other T's by stating surgery is a choice.In fairness there are also post-op T's that believe surgery is a requirement to be TS. The Benjamin standards disagree with both groups. It is a choice for some but it is also a matter of life and death for others. There are also T men and women that feel that they are entitled to drag all T's under the transgender umbrella and to label them queer for what ever reason. Again your first statement and the last two paragraphs play up to that line of thinking.

OK all you freaks go to your respective corners. I'm going to set you straight. Just kidding.

The real problem is that oil closed above $105 per barrel and about 15 million people in this country are unemployed. Rights? That sounds like Nero diddling while Rome burned around him (or was that fiddling).

If we can all agree on anything it would probably be that not much will be resolved to not many people's satisfaction in the next few years.

Oil a $105 a barrel.... heck it has been three times what we pay for it at the pump in the rest of the non oil producing nations for ever. That is no reason to forget about human rights.

Heck the Republicans are using something called disaster politics. It says that any disaster is an excuse to attack what you don't like.

Kill unions and public broadcasting to weaken the opposing party in the name of economic hardship.

Start a trillion dollar privatized military action in reaction to an attack by a small terrorist army armed with 20 one way airline tickets. Then claim that the social security administration is breaking this once rich nation.

Fire workers in the name of job creation.

These are unusual times... exactly when to go on the offensive to gain our rights. We just need more absurd reasons.

I was going to say something similar to Bil and Zoe, that I hope that this is an end to discrimination for you Drew but not every straight person who goes through GRS experiences such a simple resolution, but they already said it.

Good luck, Drew.