As if life wasn’t already difficult enough for transgender people, the Alaskan government has heaped yet another obstacle in their way of living a normal life. For transgender women, proving you are a good driver is less of a criteria for receiving a license than proving you have breasts.
Shocking, I know. But then again, this is the state that brought us Sarah Palin. Can we really be surprised that they are still in the Stone Age when it comes to transgender human rights issues?
Recently, a male-to-female (MTF) transgender individual tried to get her gender changed to “female” on her driver’s license. To her surprise, the Alaska DMV denied the request, despite the fact that she possessed a valid U.S. passport and work documents identifying her as a female. The reason for this denial? She didn’t provide them with proof of breast augmentation.
Yes, it appears that having large breasts has now become criteria for MTF candidates to be considered officially female. Without proof of breast implants, the state of Alaska will continue to view these people as “male” even though the rest of their anatomy would bluntly scream “Bullshit!”
According to this Alaskan MTF person, who has lived as a woman for more than two years, “Having a driver’s license that doesn’t match my appearance and identity would place me at risk of discrimination and physical harm.” I can’t say that I can argue with her logic on this point. I would imagine possessing a driver’s license denoting her as a male would make her life excessively difficult on many levels, especially living in a hardcore red state like Alaska.
ACLU Steps In
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has taken up her cause, filing a brief against the Alaska DMV for their discriminatory practices. The ACLU claims, “It is unfair and unnecessary to require that transgender people undergo prohibitively expensive and drastic surgery in order to have accurate identity documents. No one should…be forced to make major medical decisions in order to get a driver’s license.”
Once again, I can’t say I disagree with this argument. A full MTF sex change operation is already pretty pricey, costing upwards of $75,000. This includes fees to cover:
- Psychiatric assessment
- Hormone prescriptions
- Speech therapy
- Hair removal treatments for facial and body hair
- Genital surgery
- Any necessary facial plastic surgery procedures
I can’t exactly blame this woman if she didn’t have an extra $5,000-10,000 lying around for a boob job. Nor could I argue with her decision to want to avoid any additional unnecessary major surgery. I’m sure the genital procedure was intense enough.
Luckily, it appears that not all the hicks living a stone’s throw from Russia have lost their marbles. The Alaska Supreme Court has sided with the transgender woman on this issue, ruling that the Alaska Constitution’s privacy clause protects her right to self-expression and limits the government’s ability to dictate her personal health care decisions. Hopefully, that means she’ll be back on the road pretty soon, thumbing her nose at the bigoted bureaucrats that tried to keep her down.
Following in France’s Footsteps
The Alaskan government isn’t the first example of a government running amok and denying equal rights to transgenders. Could you believe that similar buffoonery was on display in France just a few years ago? Shocking, I know. The self-righteous French actually had the gall to try and make breast size the ultimate criteria for being considered female. Forget the equipment in between the legs. That doesn’t really verify your womanhood. But a couple of silicone jugs in your chest, now that’s the measure of a woman. At least according to the French.
Back in 2007, the French government tried to deny Delphine Ravise-Giard an official change in her gender status because her breasts were too small. Before her sex change operation, Ms. Ravise-Giard served in the French Air Force for many years. The French military had no problem acknowledging her identity change and updated all of her official records to indicate that she was now a woman. However, this wasn’t enough for the French government. In order for Ms. Ravise-Giard to officially finalize her change of gender status, the courts wanted her to produce written documentation that she had undergone sexual reassignment.
The court went as far as to force the French military to reverse the alterations to her records. As a result, she was once again officially male. Ms. Ravise-Giard fought the court’s ruling, and earlier this year the French Ministry of Justice ruled in her favor, saying sex reassignment was not a prerequisite for recognition of change in gender status when she is undergoing other treatments intended to alter her gender.
But the crazy French bureaucrats would not take their lumps like adults. Instead, they pushed back. The Chief Prosecutor stated that in the eyes of the court, Ms. Ravise-Giard needed breasts to be considered a woman. Furthermore, these breasts needed to be of sufficient size and permanence to satisfy the French government. In other words, hormone therapy isn’t enough. You need breast augmentation to be a real woman. Otherwise, you’re not truly serious about your gender change.
I suppose that by these standards, all women with small breasts would have their womanhood questioned by the French government. I wonder what cup size you need in order to be considered a real woman. Are B cups enough? Do you need a C cup? Where does the madness end? And for small-breasted women who do not undergo breast augmentation, how would the French classify them? Would they just place an asterisk next to the “female” designation on their driver’s license? I’m sure that would help all of the French women with body image issues feel better about themselves.
Perhaps this is all a grand scheme by French plastic surgeons to boost their profits. After all, what could possibly be a more compelling argument for breast augmentation than to tell a woman she won’t be officially considered female if her breasts are too small?
I guess there’s just no hope for our society. Human rights issues haven’t advanced nearly as far as people would like you to believe. We have ironclad proof of that in Alaska and France.