Tag Archives: NCTE

Trans People, Marriage, and Social Security

social security cardAfter sustained lobbying by the National Center for Transgender Equality and others and after Robina Asti’s public statement (see http://www.grayprideparade.com/2014/01/29/i-was-shocked-i-was-shamed/), the Social Security Administration has finally issued guidance telling staff to automatically assume that most marriages involving transgender people are valid.

Of course, given the mish-mash we currently have with some states refusing to recognize other states’ “same-sex” marriages and some states’ bad decisions concerning the legal gender of transgender people, the guidance is complicated.  The guidance now requires Social Security staff to determine where the marriage was performed and if the sex change took place before or after the marriage.  If the sex change took place before the marriage and the transgender person currently lives in (or died in) American Samoa, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Ohio, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, Tennessee, Texas, or the Virgin Islands, a legal opinion about the validity of the marriage is still required.  Otherwise, marriages involving transgender people are to be treated under existing rules for opposite-sex and same-sex marriages, bypassing the current procedure of referring all marriages involving transgender people to legal counsel.

The actual bureaucratic memo is available at https://secure.ssa.gov/apps10/public/reference.nsf/links/03252014040307PM  (Trigger warning: in discussing sample cases, the memo uses typical bureaucratizee about applicants “alleging” personal facts.)

Social Security Gender Change Changes

social security cardThe Social Security Administration (SSA) recently issued new guidelines that make it far easier for transpeople to change their gender marker.

Previously, changing the gender marker on your Social Security account generally required proof of having undergone sex reassignment surgery; no more!  Now people can update their gender marker using any of four documents:

  • A U.S. passport showing the correct gender;
  • A birth certificate showing the correct gender;
  • A court order recognizing the correct gender; or
  • A signed letter from a physician stating the person “has had appropriate clinical treatment for gender transition to (the new male or female) gender.”

The physician letter does not have to specify what clinical treatment has been done, and what is “appropriate” can remain private between the patient and their doctor.  The physician letter needs to be on the physician’s letterhead, include their medical license or certificate number and the jurisdiction that issued it, and the statement, “I declare under penalty of perjury under the laws of the United States that the foregoing is true and correct.”

The National Center for Transgender Equality has written a plain-English fact sheet that includes additional details and links for those who are interested.  It’s available at http://www.transequality.org/Resources/SSAResource_June2013.pdf

Daily Kos Does Long Article on Transgender Aging

As noted in this blog on June 1, Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE) and the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) recently released a groundbreaking report, “Improving the Lives of Transgender Older Adults: Recommendations for Policy and Practice.” 

Two weeks later the Daily Kos ran a long article on the report, still available with a long list of reader comments.  The article is available at http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/06/16/1100577/-Aging-Transgenders-Quality-of-Life .  The publication itself is at http://transequality.org/Resources/TransAgingPolicyReportFull.pdf

Improving the Lives of Transgender Older Adults…

…Recommendations for Policy and Practice” is the title of an important new document from SAGE (Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders) and the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE), released today at the Philadelphia Transgender Health Conference.

The 54-page document is a compilation of several important documents, including:

  • A literature review;
  • A very readable, 1-page discussion of intersex conditions;
  • Profiles of several transgender older adults;
  • Detailed policy recommendations; and
  • “Practical Guidance for Aging Providers”

A downloadable version of the report is available at http://sageusa.org/specialevents/home.cfm?ID=106

Federal Government Reprints Transgender Discrimination Data

In an unusual development, transgender people not only get much more attention than the rest of the LGB population in a new federal report, but the feds essentially republish four pages of findings from a 2011 transgender research and advocacy report written by the National Center on Transgender Equality and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Injustice as Every Turn: A Report of the National Transgender Discrimination Study.

The new federal publication, the National Healthcare Disparities Report 2011, is the latest in a series of annual reports that the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality at the Department of Health and Human Services publishes “to help policymakers understand and address the impact of racial, socioeconomic, and other differences on various populations.”

The 2011, 256-page report for the first time addresses LGBT health disparities.  In a refreshing but somewhat troubling turn-around, the new section (and one graph) is entitled “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Populations,” but actually only addressees transgender data.  All of the section’s content is taken from the NCTE/NGLTF report, with “minor edits…to conform to Government style conventions and make the text consistent with the rest of the report.”  It’s nice to have the “T” lead for once – and wonderful to have the federal government take notice of our health disparities — but I wish it hadn’t been done in a way that can promote continued confusion about who, exactly, LGBT people are.

Trans Rights Advances in 2011

Transgender people have never seen a year like 2011 – nearly every month brought news of a major advance. 

It began with a clarification that any physician can certify that a passport applicant has had appropriate treatment for a gender transition, all that is now needed for a transgender person to obtain a passport in their correct name and gender.   Since passports are one of the few “gatekeeper” documents that can be used to change other forms of identification like driver’s licenses, this change has huge implications for lowering the rate at which trans people are involuntarily outed and thereby exposed to prejudice.

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Black Transgender People

“Intersectionality” is a big term that means something simple:  if you belong to more than one minority group, you’re likely to have even more problems than peers who belong to just one of those minority groups.  There’s no better example of the results of intersectionality than a new publication issued by the National Black Justice Coalition, the National Center for Transgender Equality, and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.

 “Injustice at Every Turn: A Look at Black Respondents in the National Transgender Discrimination Survey,” is a four-page fact sheet that highlights findings from the 381 NTDS respondents who said they were both Black or Black multiracial and transgender.  While these respondents were of every age, it is critical to remember that the economic, health, and social problems people have as young and middle-aged adults lay the groundwork for even more economic, health, and social problems in old age. Continue reading

The End of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

There are both practical and symbolic aspects to today’s end of the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy requiring lesbian, gay, and bisexual people to not come out in the military, or face discharge. 

From an aging standpoint, the most important reason to applaud the policy change is that LGBT people are far more likely to be veterans than are heterosexual, non-transgender people.  Although about 13% of adult Americans served in the military, unpublished data from the Caring and Aging with Pride national LGBT aging survey indicate that more than one-quarter of LGBT older adults are veterans.  Although LGBT veterans are not denied Veterans Administration (VA) benefits, the existence of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell surely made it more difficult for them to push for benefits, services, or respect.  The change should make their lives easier.

It is absolutely critical to note, however, that transgender service members are still not protected.  Transgender people in the military who disclose their gender identity can still be discharged.  Lest you think this can’t affect very many people, surveys are showing that high numbers of transgender people are military veterans.  For instance, the Caring and Aging with Pride survey mentioned above found that 41% of transgender respondents were veterans, a rate 61% higher than the LGB respondents.  The National Center on Transgender Equality and National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Injustice as Every Turn survey found that 54% of transgender respondents age 65 and up were veterans.  Luckily, transgender veterans recently received a major assist from the Obama Administration, which issued new guidance requiring the VA to treat such veterans with respect.  (To learn more, see the GrayPrideParade post of June 14, “New Transgender Veterans’ Health Care Guidelines.”)

Taking It on the Chin: New Fast Facts about Violence Against Transgender People

In February 2011, the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF) released the largest-ever survey of transgender and gender non-conforming people, Injustice at Every Turn: A Report of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey (available at http://transequality.org/PDFs/NTDS_Report.pdf).  Nearly 6,500 responded to this wide-ranging questionnaire.  Here are some highlights relating to the violence faced by transgender and gender non-conforming people.

Abuse at home and at school

  • 19%  have experienced domestic violence at the hands of a family member because of their transgender identity or gender non-conformity
    • MTFs are more likely to experience family violence than FTMs (22% to 15%)
  • Of those who expressed a transgender identity or gender non-conformity while in grades K-12…
    • 78%  experienced harassment 
      • 31% experienced harassment from teachers or staff
  • 35%  experienced physical assault 
    • 5% were physically assaulted by teachers or staff
  • 12%  experienced sexual violence 
    • 3% were sexually assaulted by teachers or staff
    • MTFs were more often sexually assaulted (15%), compared to FTMs (10%)
  • 6%  were expelled for their gender identity/expression
  • 50%  have experienced harassment by someone at work
  • 7%  have been physically assaulted on the job
  • 6%  have been sexually assaulted at work

Family Matters: Trans People and SOFFA Relationships

In February 2011, the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF) released the largest-ever survey of transgender and gender non-conforming people, Injustice at Every Turn: A Report of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey (available at http://transequality.org/PDFs/NTDS_Report.pdf).  Nearly 6,500 responded to this wide-ranging questionnaire.  Here are some highlights relating to transgender and gender non-conforming people and their family members

You win some and you lose some

  • 70%  of children still speak to and spend time with their transgender/gender non-conforming parent
  • 61%  say their family relationships have slowly improved after coming out and/or transitioning
  • 57%  experienced some level of family rejection
  •  55% of intimate relationships survive the transgender person’s coming out and/or transition (or ended for a reason other than gender)
    • 55%  of those who transition lose their intimate partnership
    • 45%  say their family is as strong now as it was before they came out
    • 43%  maintained most of their family bonds
    • 40%  said one or more relatives “chose not to speak or spend time with me” due to their gender identity/expression

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