I suppose this was inevitable. A group has arisen since the election with a stated goal of… okay. I’m not entirely sure what the heck these people are up to, but they’re going by the name of the Trans Relief Project. Rather than attempting to translate what they’re doing into some sort of coherent summary at the top, let’s just have a look at part of their mission statement and perhaps we can work it out together. (Emphasis in original)
Given the results of the election here in the US, we are aiming to help as many US-based trans people get their paperwork / legal documents (especially passports) in order in the time they have to do so before the rules surrounding those documents change. We’re primarily focused on giving financial aid to people who need it as soon as possible so they can accomplish what they need to in the time they have. We view this as the most direct way we can help people. Passports are the most important because we have the most certainty that the rules surrounding those will change. Name changes are a state to state issue, so those are less urgent (but we still want to help if we can)…
This group has been collecting donations, but say they have suspended that process while they attempt to merge with a 501(c)3 group so they can operate as a nonprofit. But operate at what?
Before I hazard a guess here, allow me to say that this is largely the fault of the media. We should have expected reactions like this after all the fearmongering that was going on throughout the campaign. While absolutely no indication of this was coming from Trump himself, cable news constantly created an atmosphere of, “OMG! TRUMP IS COMING TO LOCK UP ALL THE GAY AND TRANS PEOPLE IN GITMO!!” So of course the more gullible liberal groups were going to go into full survival shelter mode after he won.
In reality, Trump’s positions on LGBT issues were rather thin and nothing that people should have been alarmed about to begin with. In a quick text search on his speeches I can’t find an instance of him even saying “transgender” except when referring to the LGBT community as a whole and highlighting some of the support he’d been receiving. As for their signature issue, during his first post-election interview on 60 Minutes Trump as asked where he stood on gay marriage. I’m sure a lot of social conservatives were disappointed when he responded by saying that the mater had already been decided by the Supreme Court and it was a non-issue.
And even if it wasn’t, here’s a lifeline to throw to those in a panic: The president can’t change the law to make gay marriage illegal. And even if he worked with Congress to try, the law would just be challenged and shot down in court again. You really don’t need to start rending your clothing over this.
Now, returning to the purpose of the Trans Relief Project, their poorly worded mission statement seems to imply that once Trump is sworn in transgender individuals will have trouble changing their names or changing their documents (particularly passports) to reflect their new name, different gender, etc. For evidence of this they provide a link to a graphic image which has already been deleted and the link is dead.
Where did this come from? First of all, anyone (including transgender individuals) can change their name if they like by following a few simple rules which vary from state to state. If you’re a guy who wants to be named Sally or girl who wishes to be named Max, feel free. You can change your name to Moon Unit if you like. There are very few restrictions and none of them relate to your “transgender status.” Pretty much the same thing applies to the name on your passport if you have proper identification to apply for one. As for changing your gender on your passport, the State Department already has guidelines in place for doing just that if you are transgender. I have not heard nor can I find on a search a single instance where Trump (or anyone else for that matter) is talking about editing those.
As for changing your gender on your birth certificate, I honestly had no idea. It sounds like document fraud to me since it’s a record of what happened the day you were born, not any decisions about which gender you feel like years later. But it’s completely possible, at least in most places. This website has a state by state breakdown of the rules. For example, in New York you can fill out a form to receive a new birth certificate with the gender switched from what you actually are by having your doctor submit a letter on their letterhead. I tried the opposite end of the social conservative scale and checked Alabama, Mississippi and South Carolina. You can either get a new certificate or an amendment to the existing one in all of them, though you may have to complete your “transition surgery” first. And again, I can’t find a single reference to Trump planning to change these rules at the federal level even if that’s possible. (Which sounds highly unlikely.)
Now here’s what I *do* expect to change once Trump is in office. I expect that federal policy will be altered reversing Obama’s preposterous reinterpretation of Title IX so schools can’t have all their funding cut if they refuse to allow boys in the girls’ showers. I imagine that federal office buildings will still have to have separate, single user bathrooms and other facilities for those who fall into the “other” category, but they won’t force women to allow men in the ladies room. Other than that? Not much. Perhaps we can all go about our business now and wait to see what President Trump actually does rather than inventing horrors of the future out of our imaginations.
In the meantime, here’s a comforting image to take with you as you prepare for the transgender apocalypse.