The Cutting Edge-August 2014
Barbara F. Anderson, Ph.D., LCSW
From the Transgender Law Center (TLC) comes an announcement of the implementation of AB1121. It is a CA bill signed into law in Oct. 2013 and refers to obtaining an accurate birth certificate without the need for a court-ordered gender change in order to amend a gender marker on a birth certificate. Instead, one can submit a form with a doctor’s letter to the state Department of Health accompanied by a $23.00 fee. Additionally, those seeking a name change consistent with their gender identity are no longer required to publish their intention in a local newspaper. Only if another person challenges the requested name change is the applicant required to attend an in-person court hearing.
The TLC has updated their comprehensive publication, ID Please! It is a guide for “navigating processes of updating California and federal identity documents to reflect accurate gender markers.” For more info, firstname.lastname@example.org.
More from the TLC: Chelsea Manning will get “rudimentary treatment” for her transition, according to Chuck Hagel, US Secretary of Defense. It is not clear what treatment will consist of, but TLC will urge that all medically necessary health care be provided the soldier convicted of leaking classified material to WikiLeaks. For background on this case, see the June 2014 edition of Devil Woman.
And more: Since 2011, Meggan Sommerville, transwoman, has been suing her employer, Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., for the right to use the women’s restroom. HLS will only grant permission upon seeing proof of gender confirmation surgery despite the fact that her identity documents and her employer’s health plan acknowledge her as female. In a more recent and widely publicized case, her employer has received a favorable ruling from the Supreme Court allowing them to deny health coverage of contraceptives pleading conflict with religious beliefs.
On a happier note, TLC reports that San Francisco has named a street after “transgender icon, Vicki Marlane.” At the end of the Trans March of the Pride Parade, a new street sign was unveiled. Turk St., between Jones and Taylor in the Tenderloin, has been renamed in honor of the late transgender performer and community activist. Marlane died in 2011 of complications of AIDS. She started her career as a traveling circus performer, did drag throughout the country, and moved to San Francisco in 1966. Her show, “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” at Aunt Charlie’s, evolved into a weekly event, “The Hot Boxx Girls.”
Two interesting notices from WPATH (World Professional Association for Transgender Health) arrived in June. “This month, the American Medical Association joined the World Health organization in adopting a policy declaring that transgender individuals should not be required to undergo genital surgery or forced sterilization in order to change legal identification documents….” The goal is “to ensure that transgender patients always receive appropriate preventive care regardless of whether or not it matches with the gender on the birth certificate.” For more info, www.amaassn.org/ama/pub/news/2014
Also from WPATH, “Wall Street Journal Editorial Critiques Transgender Health, July 2, 2014” A spokesperson from the organization commented on an op-ed article by conservative psychiatrist, Paul McHugh, who described trans identity as “disordered” (whatever that means) and, ignoring generally accepted medical opinion, argued that patients should be denied medically necessary treatment such as hormonal and surgical interventions. He believes that the growing support of transgender rights illustrate a troubling trend toward affirmation rather than treating such individuals as ill and confused.
A freebee: Free trans and queer yoga is available at CounterPULSE, 80 Turk St.@ Taylor. For times and dates, <CounterPulse.org>