Tuesday, June 16, 2009


(warning: any links from the New York Post should automatically be considered triggery.)

I was married once.

It was a rather ordinary marriage, except that we both got unnecessary blood tests; our information about New Jersey law was out of date.

In case you're wondering, I was the groom. As if you needed to.

That was the easy one. If I ever get married again--to a man or a woman--things will be likely more difficult, depending on whether the state I'm in recognizes a) legal sex change and b) gay marriage (just in case, either way.) It's one of those nebulous things about being trans--for example, as Jenny Boylan notes, had I stayed married and gotten all my paperwork done, my (ex-)wife and I would have had a legal, lesbian marriage. Except that it didn't start that way.

Now, most progressive places don't have any trouble sorting this out, while a few (Ohio! I'm looking at you! Let people change their birth certificate gender, for pete's sake) have more--difficulty. But even in the heart of the most progressive regions, you can get something like this, from the New York Post:

Wedding Crashers

I dupe, I dupe!

While political arguments rage, New York City has certified its first gay marriage -- of two men who fooled the City Clerk's Office into letting them tie the knot.

Hakim Nelson and Jason Stenson married on May 26 with nary a raised eyebrow among the oblivious city bureaucrats who not only OK'd the marriage license, but conducted the ceremony, despite gay marriage being illegal in the state.

The plucky couple filled out their marriage application online at the Apple Store on 14th Street in May. A few days later, they went to the City Clerk's Office on Worth Street to complete the form and get their marriage license.

Nelson -- who goes by the name "Kimah" and hopes to one day have surgery to become a "full female" -- wore an orange dress and white leggings, his straight, brown hair falling to his shoulders.

The gullible clerk didn't seem to notice that both Nelson, 18, and Stenson, 21, have male first names.

They both had to present identification to obtain the license. Stenson used his state ID card, and Nelson gave a state Benefit Card, which he uses to collect food stamps.

By a fluke, Nelson's ID card has an "F" for female on it, because the official who issued it in April assumed from his appearance that he was a woman.

Good morning, transphobia, how are you going to fuck up peoples' lives today?

It's almost pointless where to start here--that it wasn't a same-sex marriage because trans women aren't men, that "duping" is an insanely insensitive thing to say to trans people (it's what the people who commit violence against us use as their defense), that it's not a "fluke" that Kimah's ID had an F on it--you only need a letter from a therapist to change your gender on your driver's license in New York State--and for fuck's sake, enough with the Pronoun Fail.

I won't quote further from the Post--I feel all icky inside already--but here are the headlines of their follow-up stories; that should give you a feel for things:

Unwed Dudes A Happy Couple

Marriage License Of 2 Nyc Men Revoked

N.Y. Unwittingly Marries "Same-Sex" Couple

Oh wait! That last one isn't from the Post, it's from The Advocate.

I can't say I'm surprised.

The erasure of the "T" from LGBT is not exactly a new phenomenon. Whether it's ignoring Sylvia Rivera (who was one of the instigators of the Stonewall riots but was later given the cold shoulder by the gay movement) or deciding trans people don't deserve equal rights yet, there has been a long history within the gay rights movement of ignoring or denigrating trans issues.

And while I understand that often there are very different issues involved--for example, the marriage issue is more or less resolved for heterosexual trans people in most of the country--that still doesn't mean there isn't a convergance of issues. Removing the gender-identity provisions in ENDA didn't just throw trans people under the bus--it said to the femmy gay guys and butch lesbians that they didn't deserve rights either; that the protections that ENDA promised--most of all, the right to live your life the way you want to live it without worrying about losing your job or not finding a home--only applied to "normal"-looking queers.

That eraser gets a pretty good workout.

But hey, if the Advocate wants to be on the same page as the Post, who am I to complain?

After all, I'm naturally deceptive, don't you know.


  1. My brother is in the same boat as this couple -- caught in the middle of a legal grey area if he wants to marry his partner. I'm very disappointed in The Advocate on this issue.

    I don't comment often, but, you are one of my favorite trans & feminist reads on the internet. Many trans people I've known have provided the best commentary on feminist issues because they've had the rare view of both sides (though with its own twists and complications). Keep writing -- I'll keep reading. :)

  2. You know, dulcinbradbury, for some reason I keep getting a copy of The Advocate--I don't recall ever asking for a subscription, I've assumed someone got it for me as a gift. Heaven knows I don't actually read the bloody thing.

    But after I wrote that post, I realized something: the Advocate ships in an opaque plastic wrapper. Now, maybe it's because they have semi-nude guys on the cover a lot, but I wonder...is it because it's the magazine for respectable, oh-no-we're-not-queer gays? I dunno.

    Thank you for the nice compliment...and please tell your friends (this is only the second month of the blog, so I don't feel shameless in asking for folks to shop it around ;) )