Monday, May 7, 2007

REAL ID and Transgenders

There's a new group protesting the REAL ID Act.

DAVIS, California -- Department of Homeland Security officials got an earful Tuesday during a webcast town-hall-style meeting on the controversial Real ID initiative -- a federal government plan to standardize state-issued ID cards and link identification databases nationwide....

DHS Assistant Secretary Richard Barth, along with other federal officials sitting on the stage in Freeborn Hall at the University of California at Davis, heard personally from transgender activists....

Joanne Herman's article explains the opposition. Remember that REAL ID covers driver's licenses and depends upon Social Security records.

I started work with a new employer right after transitioning to live as a female in 2002....

It was also the start of my one-year “real life experience” of living in my true gender. RLE, as it's called, is one step in the guidelines for gender transition set by medical professionals. It's intended to serve as a sort of trial one must pass before receiving the medical letter of approval required for sex reassignment surgery....

Employers have the option of verifying not only the Social Security number that employees provide, but also the date of birth and gender against the Social Security Administration database. The SSA has gender in their database? Who knew? It doesn't show on the card. Again I was lucky that management knew of my transition.

Around that time, a trans friend who was not out received a call from her employer’s human resources department. "Ms. Smith, there’s a discrepancy on your employment application that we'd like to discuss." Fortunately, after outing herself she was allowed her to keep her job. Other less-aware employers might have fired her—quite legally, if not ethically—for deception.

I hustled off to the Social Security office with my name-change order in hand. Social Security could change my name, they said, but could not change my gender until I had had “genital surgery.” Sigh.

My experience at the Department of Motors Vehicles was no better. "I’m sorry, Ms. Herman, we can change your name and your picture, but we cannot change your gender marker without both proof of surgery and a birth certificate showing your new gender. Things have gotten a lot more stringent since 9/11, you know.” Me, a potential terrorist? Unbelievable!

Wonder how this will affect Christine Daniels? Sportswriter as terrorist - the mind reels.


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