Imagine, married folks, how it would feel if you got a cheery email from your university or from the state you live in telling you that due to some clerical reorganization, you and your spouse, and all married people in the state, had been re-set in their files to SINGLE and that, in order to be reclassified again as married, you had to provide documentation of your marriage as well as scientific evidence, say DNA, to prove you aren’t related.
That’s exactly what the state of Wisconsin is currently doing to trans state employees: reverting their gender markers to the gender they were assigned at birth and asking for “additional documentation” to change the gender marker back.
Cary Gabriel Costello, who works at UW Milwaukee, just got that email. You can read Costello’s description of this event on his blog TransFusion.
This is happening to people who have ALREADY transitioned, who have legally been their gender for years, and who had been entirely accepted as that gender legally, professionally, and medically. ETF is requiring them to do three things:
1 – The employee must notify ETF (Employee Trust Fund, the state’s administrative board) directly, providing their old and new names, old and new gender markers, ETF ID number, and a declaration that they are gender transitioning. (Previously, employees notified HR at their place of employment, and employer HR staff changed the gender marker directly in the benefits system. But now ETF will centralize control over implementing transitions, and maintain a database of gender transitioners. In essence, we are being required to register with the state.)
2 – Trans people are required to provide “proof of identity,” such as a driver’s license or military ID showing the new name and gender marker. (This is the easiest one for people who have already transitioned.)
3 – Trans people must produce “proof of gender.” These options include (a) a correctly gendered passport, (b) a court order – often requiring proof of genital surgery, such as in WI, or (c) a birth certificate which is correctly gendered.
THIS IS NUTS, folks. It’s creepy, it’s the worst governmental intrusion, and it’s turning the clock back on trans rights and identity a decade.
Please stay informed. As I know more, you will too.