In August, the Department of Transportation for the state of Pennsylvania has changed their policy on driver’s license identification. The previous policy stated that an individual had to claim the gender that they were born with on their driver’s license, unless they had gone through gender-reassignment surgery. The new policy states that an individual must have a medical or psychological professional state that they are living full-time as one specific gender in order for them to claim that gender on their license. According to one article, 26 other states have already adopted this policy.
- I have included various articles that relate to this topic. One of these articles represents the opposing viewpoint of Michigan State Representative Paul Scott, whose main problem with the law passing is with bathroom usage. His fear is of men dressing as women and using women’s restrooms. I realize that this article is about a different state, but I included it because it is in the same Northeast region of the U.S. I think that it is good to see an opposing viewpoint, even though the article has many flaws. I want to point out that this is a critique of the Michigan State representative, not a factorial article about his beliefs, so the perspective might be skewed or biased. Read with a skeptical eye.
- The next article that I have included is written by a Gay Rights website. It gives many of the logistics of the new policy and also raises concerns as to the invasiveness of it. The aspect of the article that I would like to draw your attention to is the line that states: “And now, a new policy will allow them to mark their actual gender.” It took me multiple reads to figure out why this line stood out to me. Notice the use of the word “actual” instead of “chosen.” This is a rarity when discussing Trans variant people. As a mass culture, even if a large spectrum of the population recognizes and accepts transgendered individuals, they most often refer to it as a choice. I find that this progression of acceptance in terminology parallels quite well with the newly instated policy. To some extent, the usage in adjectives might be due to the fact that this is written on a Gay Rights website. However, it might be due to the fact that mass culture is becoming less centered on the belief system that any Trans variance as a choice, instead of simply focusing on Trans variant people as individuals.
- The final article that I am posting is about a transgender woman who was denied access to a female changing room in a Philadelphia Kmart, even though her driver’s license listed her gender as “female.” Police were called and she was permitted to try on the clothes, which she subsequently bought. However, she later returned with her lawyer in hopes of obtaining an apology from the store’s manager and a promise that the incident would not be repeated with future patrons. The store manager denied her request and her desire for an apology. Though state and federal policies will continue to progress, this is a prime example that there will consistently be those who oppose those policies and refuse to recognize individualism that varies from their own.