Well this is incredibly ridiculous, really upsetting . . . and wholly unsurprising.
Why won’t the state change them? Karissa Rothkopf and Victoria Kirk haven’t met the state’s standards for gender reaffirmation surgery, which apparently include having the surgery performed by a doctor licensed in the United States. Their surgeries were both performed in Thailand.
Their lawsuit, filed by attorneys for the American Civil Liberties Union, called the denials a violation of state law and asked a judge to order that their birth certificates be changed.
“It could create significant problems for me in the future,” Kirk said Tuesday at a news conference. “A document that says I am male puts me at risk of embarrassment, harassment and possibly even physical violence.”
The two women said they chose to undergo procedures in Thailand because they felt the one-step surgery offered there would be medically safer. Both women have been able to change the gender on their driver’s licenses, passports and Social Security cards.
In addition to the apparent concern over safety, for many trans individuals seeking surgery there’s the additional issue of cost. Most health insurance plans to not cover gender reaffirmation surgery (or other medical costs, such as hormones). And with U.S. health care costs so high, many other countries can offer the surgery (or surgeries) at a significantly lower price, even with travel expenses tacked on top. Because, you know, we don’t all have tens of thousands of dollars sitting in the bank.
But personally, I’m even more concerned that there are laws in place stating that one has to have invasive surgery, which not all trans people even want, in order to be legally considered the gender that you live, present and identify as. What a ridiculous, pointless, expensive and discriminatory exercise in cis-privilege. Clearly, the law needs to be changed in more way than one.
Good luck, Karissa and Victoria. We’re pulling for you.
- Why I Hate Filling Out Forms by Queen Emily July 1, 2009
- What’s in a name? by Holly December 4, 2008
- Define/perpetuate by piny March 21, 2008
- NY Governor Extends Protections to Transgender State Employees by Cara December 16, 2009
- New Report Shows Trans* People Experience Huge Gaps in Health Care Access by Cara October 25, 2010