One of the most understated barriers to equality for trans people isn't animus - it's ambiguity. Some of our biggest steps of progress come from the clarification of rules regarding gendered institutions like marriage. Take TLDEF's latest victory regarding policies for transgender marriage applicants in New York:
Jane and John are both transgender. They are an opposite-sex couple who have been in a relationship for over a decade. In Dec. 2009, they attempted to marry in the Bronx. They fulfilled all of the requirements for receiving a marriage license in New York City and presented their government-issued photo identification - the only identification required by the City Clerk's office. Rather than issuing the marriage license, the City Clerk refused and instead demanded that Jane and John produce their birth certificates before they could be married - something not required of other marriage license applicants.
Under the terms of the new policy, issued on Feb. 7, 2011, once a marriage license applicant produces the required photo ID, the City Clerk may not request additional proof of sex. Moreover, City Clerk employees are forbidden from considering the applicant's appearance or preconceived notions related to gender expression when deciding whether to issue a marriage license.