idiggory, King of Bards wrote:
As far as I know, most states just match your birth certificate for any laws with gender distinctions. And to the best of my knowledge, the federal government does too. Though, as Joph noted, some do not use that for everything--marriage is the biggest one. Because obviously the gays would reassign their sexes just to get married.
This process is actually one of the biggest political issues for trans peoples, though. Because it doesn't reflect the trans experience. The vast majority of trans peoples don't reassign their genitalia. For many, it's because it's a painful and cost-intensive process, and you lose a LOT of the nerves in the area. Sexual males are more likely to reassign than sexual females, because far more of the nerves are preserved. And few people want to give up sexual pleasure down yonder.
There's also the birth issue. Reassignment surgery renders you infertile, so anyone who wants biological children is unlikely to reassign.
And there are also people who just don't want to. Maybe they don't hold a gender identity that's 100% one or the other, or maybe they're happy to keep the genitals they were born with as long as they're allowed to live as the gender they identify as. Bodily changes to "pass" is often far more important to non-trans peoples than it is to them. Not that this is universal, by any means, I'm talking about statistics not individual feelings on an issue.
Even in states where you don't need to have surgery to reassign your legal gender, it's still generally very expensive to go through the legal process of changing it.
Hence, big political issue.
You know, if you're too lazy to click Joph's link.
Edited, Mar 10th 2013 12:24pm by idiggory
^^^ This reflex the personal stories I've heard from many transgender friends. I've just read 2 pages of the remarks so far and my blood is boiling, while at the same time I cry over the memory of a dear friend who was killed because they were transgender.
What is between your legs should not determine what bathroom you're allowed to use in public. Through the work of a very good LGBT Lawyer and a dear friend who is lo longer with us, transgender persons in Maryland can get the sex change on their Maryland Drivers License with out having to have reassignment surgery or a new Birth Certificate. My Ex husband was the second person in the State to get a drivers license with the Gender they identified with when she got her name changed. Sadly Tracy who was the first transgender person in the state to get their legal ID to agree with their gender identity was killed by a group of young people who didn't like Her appearance. I knew them as both male and through their transition to living full time as female and still cry over the lost of a very good friend who supported me through a bitter divorce.
Still discrimination against Transgender person is legal in Maryland, though there is a law in the state senate right now, which farther then it has gotten in the years since we had to fight to get the Gay and Lesbian community to work with the Transgender community, when I first got involved.
Neither Tracy or my ex had surgery and in my opinion don't need it to be the gender they feel they always have been, though their birth certificate states they were male at birth. You only have to live with one like I did for 15 years to realize the pain they go through trying to be something they aren't.
For me this isn't just personal issues that benefit only transgender individuals, but a family issue. For many of the Transgender community of my ex's generation have wives and children who are affected also. Personally my daughters watched as the police were called to remove a "woman" from the men's room, back when my ex still was not out of female yet, but wearing a unisex blouse. Once they show their drivers license to the police officer the problem was solved since the name and sex were both male at the time. Still though my ex tries to avoid using public rest rooms if she can help it. We lived in fear of what would happen if anyone at their place of employment found out that she was transgender, fear that was justified by the unfriendly treatment she did get. Though a month after our divorce was final, EEOC was willing to back her up, in a filed complaint, she allowed them to harass her into quitting the job and .guaranteeing that her daughter would send the rest of their childhood in poverty. (Note at this time I had already filed for disability and wouldn't win my case until 2 of them had left home and were on their own.) For no job meant no child support payments, which I had to force through the courts system, to take out of their paycheck.
While part of my anger is at how my ex gave in to the discrimination, seeing that so many people still can't see the injustice transgender face daily gets to me. Then it is an issue my adult children still deal with every time they spend time in public with their father. Part of me still fears the violence that my ex may face every time they go outside their apartment. A fear I know has made them avoid a lot of activities, most of us take for granted.