30 September 2012

A "Fraudulent" Request

According to Bill Graves, I made a fraudulent request on 18 June 2003.  

Thankfully (for me, anyway), he is a District Judge in Oklahoma. I filed my request in the Civil Court in Manhattan.

But the fact that Judge Graves presides over the court in Oklahoma County is not so felicitious for James Dean Ingram.  My petition for my name change was granted within a month.  A couple of weeks later, as per the law, I'd published it in the Legal Notices section of the Village Voice (the newspaper chosen by the judge), had the change notarized, and I have been Justine ever since.

On the other hand, Ingram, who has been living as a woman, was not allowed to change "James Dean" to "Angela Renee."  The esteemed judge's decision was based on his extensive research:  "If you're born male, you stay male, according to the study I've done on  DNA.  If you're born female, you stay female."  

However, the honorable jurist revealed another motive for his denial of Ingram's petition:  "You'll give me publicity I don't want."

And I thought the standards for scholarship in gender studies were low!  According to Judge Graves, one can reach valid scientific conclusions based upon one's desire, or lack thereof, for attention.

I suppose Ms. Ingram is not aware of that.  Had she known, perhaps she wouldn't have been so crushed that she "just wanted to die."  

Last year, in a similar case, Graves cited the Bible and "expert testimony" in concluding that "the DNA code shows that God meant for them to stay male and female."

So let's see...His credentials in jurisprudence qualify him as an expert on the Bible and genetics. Hmm...Maybe I should have gone to law school. But, if I had, I somehow think I might have ruled differently.  After all, two erudite and reasonable people can come to different conclusions on the same subject, right?

By any chance is this Graves fellow related to someone named Lysenko?  Or Shockley?

29 September 2012

Homophobia, "If It Really Existed"

I guess I shouldn't be surprised that Conservapedia exists.  After all, there are people who will accuse you of being brainwashed by the "liberal" media if you merely contradict their claim that Obama is a Muslim.  And, believe it or not, there are others who cite Wikipedia's policy of allowing British spellings as evidence of its anti-American bias.

So, I suppose it should cause me no consternation to learn that there is a Conservapedia "article" that denies the existence of homophobia. "Homophobia would be an irrational fear or hatred of homosexuals, if it really existed."  So reads the very first sentence of that entry.

If it really existed:  Try telling that to Matthew Shepard. Or Rebecca Wight.  Or Julio Rivera.  Or Gwen Araujo.  Or John Lauber.  Or...

28 September 2012

Tracking Homophobia On Twitter

In July, the Institute for Sexual Minority Studies and Services (iSMSS) at the University of Alberta launched www.nohomophobes.com to track the use of anti-gay language on Twitter.

Since then, it has detected over 2.5 million uses of the word "faggot."  That translates to about 10 million times a year, or over 800,000 times a month.  The site also tracks the use of such terms as "dyke", "so gay" and "no homo". I didn't see any tallies for "tranny" or any other terms that could be slurs against gender-variant people.  Perhaps they'll get around to including them.

Still, I am glad this service exists.  If nothing else, it shows the degree to which casual homophobia still exists and, in the words of iSMSS director Dr. Kristopher Wells, "remains one of the few socially acceptable forms of discrimination".  As Dr. Wells says, it "leads to isolation, bullying, beatings and, tragically, youth suicide."

In spite of the one criticism I've made, I applaud Dr. Wells and iSMSS for launching this service.  The "casual homophobia" to which he refers is pernicious enough.  But what's even worse, now, is the degree to which it can be spread through social media. People who use such terms, as often as not, don't think of themselves as homophobes, and perhaps they're not.  But they--especially the young--are, in using such language, helping to perpetrate hatred that imperils the health, safety and lives of their siblings and other family members, friends and classmates.  

27 September 2012

Proof That We're Not Just XX Or XY?

I'll admit:  It's been a long time since I've studied biology.  So, my knowledge is probably rusty, to put it mildly.

So I wouldn't be surprised if something I learned as one of the most basic tenets of genetics has been overturned.  Said notion is that males and females are determined and identified at the chromosomal level, and that there is "male" and "female" DNA.  The former has, of course, XY chromosomes and the latter, XX.

Well, like many ideas based on binaries, it seems as though that one might be overturned, or at least may need to be modified.  At least, that's what new research seems to indicate.

According to the study's lead author, Dr. J. Lee Nelson of the University of Alberta, the findings "point to the need for a new paradigm of what the self is, biologically".  

What is causing Dr. Nelson to make such an earth-shattering statement?  His team has found male DNA inside female brains.

The study found male michocherism--"the 'intermingling' of small numbers of cells or portions of DNA in a person from a genetically different individual"--in 63 percent of the brains tested.  

These findings are significant for a number of reasons.  For one, the researchers found that female Alzheimer's patients have lower concentrations of "male" DNA in the portions of the brain most affected by the disease.  This, of course, could have significant implications for those researching Alzheimers, and possibly other conditions.

Also, if a person can have "immigrant" DNA intermingled in his or her cells, the notion that DNA can uniquely identify an individual human being is challenged, to say the least.  That undermines one of the most basic notions of genetic science, not to mention the notion that gender is identifiable and definable by DNA structure.  Some might argue that such a notion might have gone by the wayside in any event, as DNA structure often has very little to do with the way terms such as "male" or "female" actually function in the world, let alone with how people actually live as men, women, boys, girls or in other gender identities.

Perhaps Dr. Nelson summed up the implications of his findings best when he said, "I think we're better off defining it [the biological self] as an ecosystem, rather than as a singular genetic template, with more genetic and cellular diversity than we previously thought."

Could this spell the end of the gender binary after all?

26 September 2012

From Angel To Working Girl

Even if you're not my age, you've heard the song at least 500 times on the radio.  You might have even heard it that many times if you don't listen to the radio anymore.  So, you might be sick of it.  I'm not:  I guess if I'm not by now, I never will be.

I'm talking about Angel of the Morning, a megahit (and just about the only hit) for Merrillee Rush and The Turnabouts.  I've always liked her voice, which was classically trained, and the classical instrumentation.  If Sheryl Crow had been born about fifteen years earlier than she was, she might have been Merrilee, though I'm glad things didn't turn out that way!

You've also probably heard (or read) that some people regard Angel a kind of proto-feminist anthem.  It certainly is a song about a woman who can stand on her own two feet. ("I won't beg you to stay," she says to the guy with whom she has an apparent one-nighter.)  In that sense, it was certainly different from just about any other pop song of that time, and arguably more enlightened than much of what is being sung today.

I'm mentioning all of this because, for the first time in a long time, I listened to the eponymous album on which the song is found.  Some of the other songs are forgettable pop "filler", no better or worse than other things you've heard from that time.  But a couple of other songs are good, or at least interesting.

One of them is called Working Girl.  If you listen to it, remember that the album was released in 1968.  To my knowledge, nobody was using the term "sexual harassment."  But that's exactly what the song's lyrics describe.  ("Mr. Jones--is that a ring on your hand?  A new job?  No, I like it here.  Yes, I read your intentions clear.")  As with Angel, there is nothing else like it from that time, and hardly anything like it since.  

From what I've mentioned so far, it probably isn't surprising that Merrilee would have recorded such a song.  But, the song actually turns into the polar opposite of Angel.  The protagonist of the song doesn't stand up for herself (Then again, how could she have done so in 1968?); instead she wishes that some man would "find this working girl, and give her heart a home".  

What makes those lines all the more jarring is that on the album, only one other track separates Angel of the Morning from Working Girl.  The song in between, That Kind of Woman, is about a woman in an affair with a married man.  It's not bad, but it isn't as beautiful as Angel or as tense and lugubrious as Working.

After Angel, Merrilee Rush and the Turnabouts released, if I'm not mistaken, two more albums, neither of which had the impact of Angel. (How could they, really?)  Now she and her husband, singer/songwriter Billy Mac, live in a farmhouse her grandfather built in the countryside near Seattle, her birthplace.  There, they do a thriving business in raising English sheepdogs.

25 September 2012

Arrest In Slashing At McDonald's

Yesterday, 44-year-old Keith Patron was arrested for the slashing of a gay man who defended his transgendered girlfriend at a McDonald's restaurant in Greenwich Village.

Patron allegedly made anti-gay remarks to the couple, not realizing that one was in fact a transgender.  They left the restaurant, but Patron followed them onto the sidewalk outside. 

As I mentioned in my post the other day, that particular McDonald's restaurant has been the scene of a few violent incidents in recent months, and the nearby streets and subway stations harbor hooligans who, frequently in alcohol-soaked and drug-fueled rages, seek out potential victims who are, or seem to be, LGBT.  If future incidents are to be prevented, people who venture into that part of town, as well as the NYPD, need to be more cognizant of those realities.  

24 September 2012

PFLAG On LGBT Students

In the month of September, we hear and read much about education and young people.

Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG)-New York City has published some remarkable data on both.  In particular, I was struck by the following:  

  • "LGBT students are twice as likely to say that they were not planning on completing high school or going to college."
  • "Gay teens are 8.4 times more likely to report having attempted suicide and 5.9 times more likely to report high levels of depression compared with peers from families that reported no or low levels of family rejection."
  • "Nearly a fifth of students are physically assaulted because of their sexual orientation and a tenth because of their gender identity."
  • "About two thirds of LGBT students report having ever been sexually harassed (e.g., sexual remarks made, being touched inappropriately) in school in the past year."
It's hard not to see that the last two items are causes of the first two.  Why would someone willingly go to a school, or other any place, where he or she has been beaten up or sexually harassed, or faces the prospect of experiencing one or both?

I myself finished high school only because my parents wouldn't allow me not to.  That was one of the rules they had for me and my brothers:  We had to finish high school.  I graduated with a pretty high class ranking, but I can't help but to think about how much better I might have done had I felt safer, and therefore more motivated, in school.  

Now, I didn't announce my gender identity or sexuality in school, mainly because I didn't have the language for either--and, truthfully, almost nobody in that place and time had it, either.  Still, most of the boys in my school knew that somehow I wasn't quite one of them.  They projected their lurid fantasies (which, of course, were not in any way informed by reality) about what it meant to be gay or a "boy/girl" onto me. 

I did the best I could at "laying low" and got through most days without incident.  Even so, I could always feel the hormonal hostility in the air of the school hallways and the field where we had gym classes and soccer practice.  And, of course, the locker room was pure terror and torture.  I don't think I was ever again as afraid--or disgusted--as I was there.

Somehow I graduated.  Then I went onto college.  Living on campus wasn't any better, really.  There was just as much hormone-fueled bullying there.  The difference was that those conflagrations had another, equally potent fuel:  alcohol.   I very nearly flunked out after my freshman year.   

Back in those days, though, most of us didn't talk about such things, except with each other.  That is, if we decided to out ourselves.  More of us just "soldiered onward" or dropped out, saying that the schools we attended "weren't quite right" for us.

And I know of some who committed suicide, whether in the ways we normally think of, or in slow-motion (e.g., with drugs and alcohol).  

Today, there are organizations like PFLAG and people with whom LGBT students can talk.  And more of them talk openly to each other.  However, they still face the same threats we faced in my youth.  I hope that, one day, such will no longer be the case.

23 September 2012

Hate Served Up In Village McDonalds

In my youth, I spent a pretty fair amount of time in and around Washington Square Park and West Fourth Street in Greenwich Village.

Given that, for a brief time, I lived in the East Village, and for long periods before and after that, in New York City and its environs, that shouldn't surprise anyone.  There was--and to some degree, still is--a laissez-faire attitude toward just about everything.  Many of us went there to do or consume things we couldn't in our neighborhoods or workplaces.

What that meant, of course, is that you also had a decent chance of having your pocket picked or purse snatched, or of getting into an altercation, sometimes for no apparent reason.  Unfortunately, I suppose that was inevitable, as the very same atmosphere that attracted people who wanted the freedom to be themselves, even if only for a day or night, also attracted the people who exploited, or simply, hated them.

If you want any evidence of what I mean, just go to the West Fourth Street subway station, which is perennially one of the most crime-ridden in the city's transit system.  The fact that it is a big station that serves as a transfer point between several lines, and has multiple levels and remote areas, makes it an easy place for thugs to lurk, hide or get away.

Just outside the northeasternmost entrance to the station, on West Third Street, is the most squalid and crime-ridden McDonald's restaurant in New York City.  There have been several violent incidents there over the past year.  

The most recent incident took place Wednesday night and involved a 350-pound male being (I refuse to call him a man.) who yelled anti-gay slurs at two transgender women who used the women's room in the restaurant.  He threatened to "fuck" them "up". They left the restaurant, but he followed and tried to take a swing at one of the women.  

One of them returned the punch and kneed him in the groin. He tumbled to the ground. But then he pulled out a razor and slashed her in the elbow, face and neck.

These days, I rarely go to that part of town, in part because I no longer have friends living in the area and most of the places where I used to go to hear music, read or hear poetry or shop are gone now, or have become unrecognizable.  But I also lost much of my attraction to the area in the days before I started my transition, when I was actively "cross-dressing."  I soon realized that the haters went to that part of town simply because they could easily find the people they hated.  And, the fact that public consumption and intoxication were almost de riguer in those environs--cops looked the other way--made it all the more likely that some hater with chemically-lowered inhibitions would take out his hormonal rage on the objects of his hate.  

Although I haven't had any harrowing experiences in a long time (knock wood!), I suppose the memory still lingers.  Plus, I don't go anyplace to "be myself" anymore; I simply live my life as the person I am.  I suppose I am lucky to have come to a point in my life where I can do that.  For others--including many young trans people--there are the risks of having to share their spaces with the haters.  

22 September 2012

"The Matrix" Director Comes Out

Is 2012 the "coming-out" year for transgender celebrities?

First we had Chaz (ne Chastity) Bono, the child of Sonny and Cher.  A few months later, Against Me! lead singer Tom Gabel became Laura Jane Grace.  In the meantime, Warren Beatty and Annette Benning's eldest child Kathleen came to be known as Steven Ira.

Now Larry Wachowski--the Director of The Matrix--now goes by the name Lana.  She came out in a promotional video, in which she appears with Tom Hanks, for Cloud Atlas, her next film.

21 September 2012

Michelle Kosilek: A Dilemma Of The Eighth Amendment

On one hand, we have the Eighth Amendment of the United States Constitution, which forbids "cruel and unusual punishment."  This is interpreted to mean, among other things, that prisoners cannot be denied necessary medical care.

On the other hand, we have someone who brutally murdered a spouse nearly two decades ago.  This person has a condition that was not diagnosed until after the murder conviction, and is listed as a psychiatric disorder in DSM-V.

It just happens that treatment for this person's condition is very expensive.  Only two insurance plans in the United States cover the cost of it.  It's one of the reasons why the vast majority of people with the condition don't get, or get very minimal, treatment.

Since you're reading this blog, you've probably guessed where this is going:  What if the prisoner is transgendered, and the condition was diagnosed after the murder?  

The prisoner in question is Michelle (nee Robert) Kosilek.  As a Boston Phoenix editorial points out, she's "an unsympathetic poster child for prisoner or transgender rights.   And those two issues are central to this case."

Kosilek has been receiving hormone treatments since she was diagnosed nine years ago.  Recently, Chief US District Court Judge Mark Wolf ruled that the State of Massachusetts has to provide Kosilek with gender-reassignment surgery.  Wolf, who has the reputation of being a tough "law and order" judge, recognizes that GRS isn't cosmetic surgery and that under the law, he really couldn't make any other ruling.  Still, he noted--perhaps with irony or sarcasm--that, "It may seem strange that in the United States, citizens do not have a constitutional right to adequate medical care, but the Eighth Amendment promises prisoners such care."  

On one hand, I can see how some people would think it unfair that Kosilek is getting a surgery most people can't afford and almost no insurance plan covers.  The ire of some such people is no doubt fueled by their misconceptions or hatred of trans people.  Others may simply object to so much money being spent on someone who committed a brutal murder. On the other hand, I understand that Judge Wolf--who, I suspect, has a pretty high level of integrity--knew that he was bound by the Constitution of this country.  He would have made the same ruling if Kosilek were still living as Robert and, instead of gender dysphoria, he was suffering from some form of cancer or some rare disease.  Yes, it's unfair that many people die because they can't afford, or their insurance doesn't cover, the treatments.  However, denying care to someone else for whom it is available doesn't right the situation of someone who does not have access to the necessary care.  

Judge Wolf made, I think, the correct decision, given the circumstances.  Now, if we really think it's unfair that prisoners have access to medical care that perhaps one out of every four Americans don't (and most prisoners wouldn't, were they not in prison), we have to figure out a way to make access to health care more equitable.  Denying care to someone, or some group of people, is not the way to do it.

20 September 2012

Video Night

Thank you, Eva-Genevieve!, for linking How To Make Love To A Trans Person on your site:

I would love to have been there to see Gabe Moses performing.  Watching the video, I laughed and cried--and felt so much more.  

It's heartening to see there were no "dislikes" on the page.

On the other hand, 3274 viewers disliked this old homosexual warning video:

I can actually remember being similarly warned about gay men--by people who, like most others, conflated gay men with pedophiles.  (I was indeed victimized by the latter in my childhood.)

Watching that video made me think, in a way, of Reefer MadnessIt's as uninformed and, therefore, deals in stereotypes in much the same way as the "public service announcement" about homosexuals.

Leave it to the Brits to see the humor (or bathos) of such things:


18 September 2012

Transgender In Iran

In a previous post, I mentioned that Argentina--which had one of the most repressive military regimes, supported by the Catholic Church, less than a generation ago--now has some of the most liberal laws about gender identity and expression in the world.  In essence, it allows all people over the age of 18 to live in the gender of their choice.  It also legalized same-sex marriage in 2005.  The only American states to have done so before Argentina were Massachusetts and California, where the law was later repealed.

For decades, South Africa was ruled by apartheid, which rigidly enforced separation of the races in employment, habitation and other areas.  Not only have those laws been repealed, but that nation also has same-sex marriage, which it legalized the year after Argentina did so.

And, interestingly, one of the European countries in which same-sex marriage is legal is Spain.  Of course, there is still much opposition to it.  That is not surprising when one considers that it was long one of the most conservative Catholic countries and bore the weight of Generalissimo Franco's dictatorship for more than four decades, until his death in 1975.

Perhaps the most seemingly incongruous situation--at first glance, anyway--is found in Iran.  As in many other Muslim countries, same-sex relationships are punishable by death.  And it's hardly considered a bellwether when it comes to equality of the sexes.

Yet more gender-reassignment surgeries are performed there than in any other country except Thailand.  People come from other Middle Eastern countries, and even from Eastern Europe, for the procedures.  Furthermore, Iranian law says that employers must pay for the cost of the surgery, which runs about $3000--a fraction of what it costs in the US.

According to at least one cleric, crimes are acts forbidden by the Qu'ran.  Homosexuality, according to such authorities, is one of them.  However, since there is no mention of transgenderism or gender-reassignment, they cannot be considered as transgressions, according to that line of reasoning.

But there is one downside of this situation:  Gay men and, to a lesser extent, lesbians, undergo the procedure, often under pressure.  As gay men and lesbians, they are considered criminals, but as transgenders, they are not.

Now, I don't have exact statistics, but I know that many male-to-female transgenders are attracted only to women.  Some, including a few of my acquaintance, even remain married after their surgeries--which, of course, do not change their orientations.  I wonder whether Iranian authorities have ever considered that, or how such hetero men who become, in essence, lesbians cope or are treated.  Do they go into the same closet in which many lesbians live in that country, and others?  

And I can't help but to wonder what will happen after Ahmoud Ahmadinejad's term as President ends in 2013.  As he has already served two terms, he cannot run for re-election.  Although he has backed religious conservatives, and even extremists, he has taken a more moderate tone (at least in terms of religion) in the past year or two.  What will happen if a more hard-core fundamentalist is elected to office?  Would such a person appoint a cleric to help him or her decree that gender-reassignment surgery is a crime?  Would Iran lose one the few ways in which the nation can claim leadership in any area of human rights?

17 September 2012

Advice To Someone Undergoing A Gender Transition

The other day, I was talking with a friend who is transitioning and works in an academic institution.  (It's not one in which I've ever worked.).  The environment in that school is noticeably more hostile, in all sorts of ways, than the one in which I started my journey.  This professor, though, is of a higher rank and in a specialty in which there are fewer qualified people than in my field.  Plus, that professor is, in a lot of ways, a cannier fighter and more savvy in dealing with administrative people than I was when I started. In part, those advantages come with being a few years older than I am and having other circumstances that differed from mine.  That prof also works in a field that is noticeably more male-dominated, and where there may be more people who are phobic to gender-variant people, than mine.

Still, I found myself helping this prof devise strategies for navigating various aspects of the school and its administration.  For one thing, we were trying to define acts of true discrimination.  As an example, when you're not notified of meetings, but other people in your department are, did the person who sent out the e-mails or notices simply "forget" about you?  Or, when someone attributes some manner of wrongdoing to you, is that a mistake?  Or is that person acting on some unconscious (or conscious) hatred and harassing you? Or what about a supervisor who has time to answer your colleague's questions but suddenly starts to dismiss you rudely when you are looking for his or her advice?  

What are you supposed to think when someone "loses" your file or application for some program?

Although I got guidance, from various sources, about how family members and friends might react, and some of the legal aspects of my transition (By the time I had my surgery, I thought I could become a lawyer!), I really didn't have any guidance for the issues the other prof and I discussed.  

There are times I wish I'd been more militant--or, at least, as ready to do battle as my friend.  I tried hard to appease people and to be a palatable trans woman.  I suppose I succeeded at those things, to some extent.  Some might say that "taking the Martin Luther King rather than the Malcolm X approach," as someone else described it, gained me some respect with some people, and perhaps made me "likeable" to others.  But, I realized, that supposedly educated and civilized people don't always play by the rules they make or live by the ideals their educations are supposed to represent.  And, of course, there are those who say the politically correct thing to your face, but say other things entirely to other people when you're out of earshot.  

(By the way, the person who made the "King rather than Malcolm X" comment has only comic-book knowledge about both men.  And he spouts all of the liberal shibboleths, naturally.)

In brief, one of the things I told my friend was that you need to make allies but to trust very, very few people in an academic (or, for that matter, most other work) environments.  Your friends, you make elsewhere.

04 September 2012

Let's Forget Romney's Past

If I only I'd known then what I know now...

When I've applied for jobs, I mentioned my previous experience, to the degree that it was relevant.  I discussed my accomplishments and the skills I acquired on those jobs, and what I learned from my mistakes as well as what I did right.

Turns out, that was the wrong way to apply for a job.  That's not what Mitt Romney is doing.  And, because he's made so much money, he must be doing something right.  Right?

You see, when he was running for the Governorship of Massachusetts, he opposed an amendment to that state's constitution which would have banned, not only same-sex marriages, but same-sex civil unions.  Although he said he opposed same-sex marriages and civil unions, he wanted domestic partners to have the same benefits, in the state of Massachusetts, married couples enjoy.  And he also supported hate-crime legislation.

After he became governor, the State Supreme Court ruled that the state's constitution requires same-sex marriage to be allowed under law.  In response, Romney supported a state constitutional amendment to forbid such marriages.  

By the time he ran for President in 2008, Romney said he had done everything he could to block gay marriage in his state and in this country.  Now he states his belief that "marriage is between a man and a woman" but soft-pedals his previously-stated belief that same-sex couples should enjoy the same benefits that married couples have.

As long as we forget all of that, I guess we shouldn't feel too betrayed if Romney is elected to the White Hose!

03 September 2012

Voter ID: A Transgender Issue

You know it's election season when the issue of voter IDs comes up.

As you've probably heard by now, a federal court has struck down a Texas law that would have required voters to present government-issued photo IDs before casting their ballots.

In its ruling, the court cited the "strict, unforgiving burdens on the poor" that would be imposed by the law.  The fees for obtaining such documents can be a deterrent to the poor.  Also, for some, the logistics--such as transportation and, in the case of those with disabilities (who make up a disproportionate number of the poor), facilities--can keep people from getting passports, drivers' licenses or other such photo IDs.

Critics of the law saw it--rightly, I believe--as a very thinly-disguised attempt to suppress the turnout of "minority", particularly African-American, voters.  Another minority in particular would have been greatly affected by such a law.

I am talking, of course, about transgenders.  We all know how difficult it can be for us to obtain documents that allow us to go about our lives.  In most places, a person is identified by which he or she was identified at birth until he or she undergoes gender reassignment surgery.  (In some places, even that is not enough to gain legal recognition of one's true gender.)  As you can imagine, this is quite a problem for those who are living in their psychological and spiritual (i.e., true) genders in anticipation of their surgeries.  It's an even bigger problem for those who are living in their true genders but, for whatever reasons, can't or won't have the surgery or take hormones.

It's even more of a problem, I think, for someone who's changed his or her name, is living as his or her true gender but still has identification that identifies him or her by the sex assigned at birth.  Many trans people are in such a position because, while they are living for all intents and purposes in their true gender, it is not recognized as such because they have not had surgery.

I am not describing a hypothetical situation:  It was mine during the 2008 Presidential election.  And it is the current situation of a few people I know.  Fortunately for me, I wasn't required to show ID; I merely had to sign the roll book.  But others are not in such fortunate circumstances.

Now, I'll admit there are not nearly as many trans people as there are, say, African-Americans, Latino(a)s or even lesbians or gay men.  So some political strategists and everyday citizens may not believe that this is a "big" problem. Anyone who thinks that way should ponder these questions:  What if my right to vote were taken away?  Or, what if I still had that right but other conditions made it all but impossible to exercise?

Last time I looked, even minorities of one were entitled to the same rights and protections as everyone else.  Anyone who believes in fairness would want it for every one, every individual.

Then again, as small a minority as we may be, perhaps the folks who come up with voter ID laws want to suppress our votes as much as they may want to keep African-Americans away from the polling booths.  After all, we're probably just as likely as they are to vote for the President, even with the ways some of us have been disappointed with him.  I'm no political scientist and therefore have no numbers to back up what I've said, but I don't recall seeing any "Trans Folk for Romney" ads.