When the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) and the Indiana Transgender Advocacy Alliance (INTRAA) put out a joint press release about the "no match" policy of the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV), I knew that there would be a backlash from the religious right here in Indiana. I didn't have to wait very long to find it. Micah Clark, of the Indiana chapter of the American Family Association double dips in transphobia and xenophobia.
A small segment of the gay-rights movement in Indiana is claiming victory following discussions with the Commissioner of the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles that resulted in a change in BMV policy concerning security checks. In an apparent effort not to offend, the BMV has agreed not to "red flag" social security numbers that point to a person's gender if it doesn't match the gender on their driver's license.
According to a December 5th alert hailing this change, the Indiana Transgender Rights Advocacy Alliance (INTRAA) and the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) is praising the department for no longer invalidating driver's licenses or even sending out a computer generated letter to investigate a social security number and driver's license gender mismatch. According to these groups, "gender mismatches will be ignored by the BMV".
In other words, in a day of rampant identity theft and a war with terrorists, the Indiana BMV believes that not offending a person who is a cross-dresser or someone who has had a sex change overrides any security risk that could happen through a gender and SSI number mismatch.
Because, ya know, there have been a rash of crossdressing terrorists with Social Security Cards that go to their doctors or to a judge to get a letters for a gender marker change.
I am going to sound crass, but there was a time when people who wanted to cut off their sex organs were recommended for psychiatric counseling. Today, they wield enough political power to enact statewide policy changes that appear to place tolerance above basic security concerns.
I don't find his comments crass, rather I find them very ignorant of history, transsexualism, or gender transition. Transsexualism isn't a new phenomenon. The first recorded "sex change" surgery was done in 1931. While psychological counseling has always been part of the process, the counseling wasn't done to stop the patient from having the surgery, but as a pathway to surgery.
I don't think it is overreacting to envision a hypothetical scenario in which "Achmed the Terrorist" comes to America after crossing our practically open borders. He probably needs an Indiana driver's license to achieve his final goal of disrupting a Colts game in the RCA Dome. He finds a criminal who sells him a stolen or made up Social Security number and Achmed goes to the BMV to get an Indiana driver's license to establish his new identity as "John the Hoosier Colts fan" who lives in Noblesville. But the SSI number says he's Jane from Evansville. No problem, he gets a license anyway, because we don't investigate such mismatches out of fear of offending the gay rights groups. After ignoring the mismatched number at the BMV, the worst happens one Sunday, and police, victims families and the media wonder how it could have happened and why he wasn't stopped somewhere along the way. Aren't these the types of things people in high office are supposed to regularly consider in a post 9/11 world?
Achmed the Terrorist? Because, you know, all terrorists are Arabs.
Secondly, why would "Achmed" need a state drivers license to get into a football game? Why would he need to change his gender to get the new drivers license? Why would Achmed go through a court ordered name and gender change to use forged or stolen documents? How does the gender marker change on any documents make it easier to initiate a terrorist attack?
As I recall, most if not all, of the 911 terrorists had state driver's licenses. Do we really want to remove certain "red flags" and discrepancies in background checks in an effort not to offend a handful of gay activists who have rearranged their sexual identity and are demanding their right not to encounter the inconvenience that such a drastic step might logically produce at a state agency? The societal embrace of homosexuality has already cast aside a lot of public health concerns surrounding such behaviors, should we now also begin to cast aside security concerns under the mantra of tolerance?
American Family Association of Indiana
As I recall, all of the terrorists had penises too. Is that a red flag?
Having a gender marker that actually matches your gender identity is a good idea for law enforcement, as well as for the safety of the transgender person. Unless the perpetrator of the crime is naked, you needn't know their genital configuration to describe a suspect. If a transgender person's gender identity doesn't match their gender marker on their drivers license, it will make apprehending a transgender criminal more difficult if they are described by their anatomy, rather than their gender identity.
One of the biggest reasons that transgender people get their gender marker changed is personal safety. Transgender people are often the target of violence, and many times that violence happens when they are outed.
In the end, the policy change is a win for law enforcement and a win for transgender people. Those who want to restrict gender markers from being changed, are doing so because of their hatred of transgender people. It would seem that Mr. Clark is one of those people. Like many evangelicals, he tries to claim that transsexualism/transgenderism is somehow unhealthy, but one only need look to the Standards of Care to know differently:
"...Sex Reassignment is effective and medically indicated in severe GID. In persons diagnosed with transsexualism or profound GID, sex reassignment surgery, along with hormone therapy and real-life experience, is a treatment that has proven to be effective. Such a therapeutic regimen, when prescribed or recommended by qualified practitioners, is medically indicated and medically necessary. Sex reassignment is not "experimental," "investigational," "elective,""cosmetic," or optional in any meaningful sense. It constitutes very effective and appropriate treatment for transsexualism or profound GID GID...."
Fighting against gender marker changes for transgender people is not about safety, or security, but about intolerance... even if it's to the point of impairing law enforcement and increasing the risks of a violent crime being committed.
To that I only have one thing to say....
"Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." Matthew 22:36-40
cross posted from Transadvocate.com