CommunityPam's House Blend

What Is My Sex? What Is My Gender? Diary 2.0

Call this a follow up to my diary What’s My Sex? What’s My Gender? — Call this new What Is My Sex? What Is My Gender? diary my 2.0 diary on the subject.

Flying for me may be troublesome for me — as well as many other of my trans peers — very, very soon. From the Homeland Security and Emergency Management Newsroom (emphasis added):

May 19, 2009

Transportation Security Administration Requires Name on Airline Ticket to Match Identification

The US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced last week that beginning May 15, all passengers will be asked  to enter their full name – as it appears on the government issued identification they will be traveling with – when making airline reservations.  For instance, if a person’s first, middle and last name are on their driver’s license and their driver’s license is what they will be traveling with, their first, middle and last name must be used when purchasing their airline ticket.  TSA officers at airports across the country will check to make sure they match when passengers pass through security.

The requirement is the first phase of TSA’s Secure Flight passenger vetting program which shifts pre-departure watch list matching responsibilities from individual aircraft operators to TSA.  

The second phase of Secure Flight begins August 15, 2009, when passengers will be required to enter their date of birth and gender when booking airline flights.  TSA said the additional data will help prevent the misidentification of passengers who have similar names to individuals on the watch list, and better identify individuals that may pose a known or suspected threat.

Once Secure Flight’s advanced technology is fully implemented in early 2010, enhanced watch list matching will be done by the government.  Airlines will gather a passenger’s full name, date of birth and gender when making an airline reservation to determine if the passenger is a match to the “No Fly” or “Selectee” lists.

For more information about the Secure Flight passenger vetting program, visit

This gender ID/travel issue is directly related to the Real ID Act. So again, some of my documentation says I’m male, and some says I’m female — This is the case with many transsexuals, whether or not they are pre-operative, non-operative, or post-operative transsexuals.

And, of course, much as being trans identifies individuals as potential bathroom predators, being trans (according to an unrescinded Homeland Security memo) identifies the same individuals as potential terrorists:

Terrorists will employ novel methods to artfully conceal suicide devices. Male bombers may dress as females in order to discourage scrutiny.

Obviously, if you didn’t know, gender matters when you fly. Beyond terrorists crossdressing on airplanes to “discourage scrutiny,” (that works?), the beverages, snacks, seating, and restrooms on commercial aircraft are all segregated by gender, correct? *eyes roll*

So, getting back to the point, if a TSA agent decides my sex and gender doesn’t match, what happens? Will I, as a trans person, be subjected to extra scrutiny specifically because I’m trans? It sure sounds like it.

Candidate Barack Obama was quoted in Political Affairs Magazine:

Sen. Barack Obama co-sponsored the Matthew Shepard Act (federal anti-hate crimes law) and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. When asked if he supports transgender inclusion, Obama said, “Absolutely. The transgendered community has to be protected. I just don’t have any tolerance for that sort of intolerance. And I think we need to legislate aggressively to protect them.”

But if repealing the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) aren’t priorities for the Obama Administration, how much of a priority do you think it will be for the Obama Administration to deal with the identification card issues for trans people like me?

When it comes to my current expectations of the Obama Administration to work on issues that directly impact lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people — especially issues that only deal with transgender people — well, I’m not holding my breath on the Obama Administration championing LGBT community issues.

If you’d have asked me about my expectations between November of last year and January of this year, the audacious hope I felt for the incoming administration would have resulted in me giving a more positive assessment of President Obama and his governing team. Who knew that my hope would turn out to be so much more recklessly audacious than I thought it ever could or would be.

[Below the fold, a joint media release from Equality California and the Transgender Law Center on a “Bill to Make Identification Change More Accessible for Transgender Persons.”]From Equality California/The Transgender Law Center:

Sacramento — The California Assembly passed the Equal ID Act today by a vote of 41-26. The bill, sponsored by Equality California (EQCA) and introduced by Assemblymember Ted Lieu (D — Torrance), increases the legal rights and recognition enjoyed by transgender people by clarifying that qualified transgender people born in California can return to the county of their birth to obtain a court order reflecting their correct gender and accompanying name change. The court order is then used to obtain a corrected California birth certificate.

Equality California/Transgender Law Center joint press release - Bill to Make Identification Change More Accessible for Transgender Persons“All Californians deserve legal documentation that accurately reflects who they are,” EQCA Executive Director Geoff Kors said. “Thanks to the work of Assemblymember Lieu and the Transgender Law Center, transgender people both in California and beyond will have a greater ability to obtain accurate identification, apply for jobs, and live their lives as full and equal members of society.”

Until recently, California law only allowed transgender persons to petition the court for an order recognizing a change of gender in the county in which they presently reside. Last month, the Transgender Law Center successfully challenged the residency requirement in the California Court of Appeals. In Somers v. Superior Court, the court held that the residency requirement violated the equal protection rights of California-born transgender people residing out of state. The Equal ID Act is the next step in ensuring that all Californians are able to obtain accurate birth certificates.

“The Equal ID Act would bring the Health and Safety Code up to date with case law,” said Kristina Wertz, Legal Director of the Transgender Law Center. “It would alleviate any confusion and ensure that California-born people residing in other states know that they, too, can be afforded the dignity of a birth certificate that reflects who they truly are.”

The new bill ensures that transgender people born in California know that they can return to the county of their birth to obtain a corrected birth certificate. It also provides greater access to transgender persons living in the state, allowing them for first time to petition the court in their home counties.

“The rights of Californians should not end at our state’s borders,” Assemblymember Leiu said. “The Equal ID Act makes certain every Californian has the freedom and liberty to be true to his or herself.”

Birth certificates are used as primary source of identification and are often necessary to secure other forms of identification, including social security cards and passports. The bill was first heard by the Assembly Judiciary Committee last month, where it passed by a 7-3 vote.

The bill now moves to the Senate.

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Autumn Sandeen

Autumn Sandeen