Today Phyllis Frye (America’s first out trans judge) and I met up with Nikki Araguz at the 13th District Court of Appeals for the hearing on how Texas will view the transitioned status of trans folk. For the uninitiated, here’s how we got here and why this case will likely affect YOU.
Court began at 2:00 in the afternoon. The court was made up of a 3 judges and since this is an appeal of the case Judge Randy Clapp (R) ruled on, no new evidence could be added. The court was made up of Chief Justice Valdez (D) and Justices Rodriguez (D) and Longoria (D). The panel consisted of 2 women and 1 man. The ex-wife had brought in a ringer to argue for them (presumably) since her last lawyer was recently barred from practicing law due to ethics violations. The ex brought in Lawrence P. Wilson of Christian College who actually quoted the Christian Bible (chapter & verse) in court today.
Things went about like I thought it would.
The Justices grilled each side fairly well. Marriage was mentioned a few times, but the majority of this proceeding focused on whether Texas will recognize the transitioned status of trans people.
Here’s a basic recap of what the ex-wife’s lawyer had to say:
God created man and woman; it says so in the Bible. Matthew 19:12 isn’t real (yeah, I added that last bit, but he did assert that god made only man and woman).
For as long as there have been humans, we’ve never had difficulty in knowing what is a man and what is a woman.
Yes, intersex people are real and they have no bearing on anything I’m saying.
These new-fangled questions of sex and sex changing have never come up before in America and I’m saying this because I’m completely ignorant of Peipho v. Peipho, 88 Ill. 438 (1878) and I don’t know anything about the 1879 Lawrence & Lelia Payne marriage (yeah, I added that last little bit because he actually did make the assertion that these trans issues are new to America)
You can’t turn a man into a woman anymore that one could turn a table into a chair (Yup. He really said that.).
“Sex changes” aren’t real because we can’t legislatively point to the exact moment when a man becomes a woman.
It ain’t natural.
Also, the chapter of Genesis in the Bible.
DOMA applies… or maybe not. Yeah, it does, but not really… Just in a small way… Or not. Basically whatever Scalia said is what I think.
Here’s a basic recap of what the good guys had to say:
Our expert witness – the witness the other side raised no issue with – is on record saying that Nikki is female
The other side offered no expert witness testimony
Back in 1999, none of the justices in the Littleton v. Prange case agreed with each other, except that they all agreed that the Texas Legislature needed issue guidance on the issue of “sex changes.”
In 2009, the Texas Legislature passed a law (Texas Family Code § 2.005(b)(8)) which states that if you can show proof of a “sex change” you can be issued a valid marriage license.
Full faith and credit (the 14th Amendment) applies because California recognizes Nikki as female on her original birth certificate.
If you’re gonna quote Scalia, then I’m going to quote Kennedy.
Here’s a basic recap of the questions the Justices posed:
So, we can pick and choose whether or not we hold other state’s birth certificates valid?
So, the question is, are we going to rely upon a scientific understanding of sex and gender or are we going to rely upon a Biblical standard? Biblical you say? Riiiight.
It sounds as if you’re contesting the expert opinion about Nikki’s sex. You’ve not done that before today. Do you have expert testimony to offer? No? Okay. Right, we know you can quote sharia law the Bible. Thanks.
What is the difference between sex and gender?
Are you suggesting that courts and not medical experts should decide who is and is not a woman?
You’re asking us to decide if Nikki Araguz is a woman. If we rule that she is not, do you have any idea how many marriages that would affect here in Texas? No? Okay. It would be a lot.
We don’t know when the Justices will issue their opinion. I believe that we will prevail and I think the bad guys will appeal to the full 5-panel court and I think they’ll lose again. They’ll then appeal to the Texas Supreme court which is made up of anti-gay activists. We’ll lose in that court and then we’ll appeal to the US Supreme Court. If the US Supreme Court hears it, we have a shot. If they won’t, Texas trans people will lose our legal transitioned status because the Texas Supreme Court ruling will become the law of the land and set a very dangerous precedent that will undoubtedly be used against trans folk in other states. If it goes to the Supreme Court and we lose, all trans and intersex people lose. If we win at the Supreme Court, we all win and win big time.
I’ve been fighting a cold for the last few days and by the time court was over, the rooms around me were swimming and all I wanted to do was lay down. Nikki married her new husband on the steps of the court building after the case was heard, but I was so shaky that Phyllis and I went ahead and left, so I didn’t get to see Nikki exercise her constitutional right to marry the man she loves. After around an hour, my head stopped swimming.
I’m glad to be home and in bed, but before I went to sleep, I wanted to post a quick update since I know a lot of you are watching this case closely.
For the past month, the adults of San Antonio have been wringing their collective hands in very public displays of “concern” over a city ordinance that would extend equality to *gasp* trans citizens. While the notion of trans/cis equality has set the adult’s tongues awaggin, their children already extend this equality to trans children.
San Antonio ISD has, for some time now, had a trans-inclusive policy in place and you know what’s happened? Nothing. Not a damn thing… other than trans and cis children living side-by-side (and yes, even using the hygiene facilities) as equal citizens. Apparently being as mature as their children is asking way too much from some San Antonio adults. In response to the bigoted hyperbole pushed by the radical right, policymakers have recently added a provision to the proposed “equality” ordinance that will preserve the right of cisgender people to have transgender people jailed for using a restroom.
I feel for the council member’s (CM) aid as she tries to defend the CM’s “compromise” on San Antonio’s LGB(t) equality bill. Acting as a secret shopper, I pose as a well informed Texas-style bigot trying to make sure that the CM doesn’t violate my “right” as a cisgender person to have transgender people arrested for emptying their bladders.
The purpose in my role as a secrete shopper was to reveal the bigotry and cisprivilege inherent in the CM’s “compromise.”
I guess this is what passes for “equality” for some San Antonio adults. While San Antonio kids have no issues with trans/cis equality, the adults are ready to take to the streets if it means an end to trans/cis segregation. I know it’s strange to think that you don’t get to lock your trans neighbors in a cage when they pee, but the folks at GetEquel want you to support the idea that adults need to be at least as mature and rational as their children. I know… The concept is totally wackadoodle, but there you go.
“If you look up the Texas vs Littleton case that might give you the information that you’re looking for… To, um, have gender specific bathrooms that are permanent” – Council member’s aid
Jeff:You get the most political points by standing up for traditional values with this one. It’s not an economic argument. This isn’t a small government argument. This is a social, cultural argument right here and this is how you… And you’re going to score the biggest points by taking that stand.
James: I agree with that but to play devil’s advocate, you could try to swing the conservative gay vote, who are, they’re conservative in their beliefs but…
CW Chan: No, I don’t think that’s…
James: It would be way fewer points though.
Roger: But if she’s, if you’re in a Republican primary against anyone that you could conceivably be against, they’re also going to be opposed to gay marriage. So that means that anyone who is gay, that’s their only issue.
CW Chan: You know, I voted no when that was put on the Constitution about a marriage should be between a man and woman.
CW Chan: Okay? And I’m telling you, that’s how… That’s okay if you want… This is my philosophy, guys. Whatever you want to do in your bedroom, that’s none of my business, but do not impose your view on other people, especially become a policy. And I’m, that’s all. Because personally, I think it’s just disgusting just to even think about. All the… definitions…
Jeff: But, but if you are, but if we are going to write something, I suggest it, to score the most points, it be, you know, a pro… It doesn’t have to be anti-gay, but pro-traditional values.
CW Chan: okay, I’m for that, but I don’t want to go against, necessarily… I don’t want to beat up anybody.
Jeff:No, you’re not going to beat up… That’s what I’m saying. It’s not anti-gay, it’s profamily.
Roger: And then the other thing I think you should do..
CW Chan:Maybe what we can do, can we maybe throw some questionable confusions like okay, this transgender… Because this definition is so broad, we don’t want to go into detail, but if you, I look up, I had a… Maybe I say I was not educated on what transgender is about. I look up the, the Wikipedia, whatever, and I’m very surprised how broad the definition can be and it can cause a lot of troubles. What is the, would that, in other words start to have a lot of questions. Would we be discriminating someone if a person go to uhh, uhh, go to a female bathroom?
CW Chan: Because the person that I am…
Jeff: I feel like I’m a woman.
CW Chan: … I feel myself that I’m a woman…
James: That gets down to, umm, what’s on the driver’s license. In some states, you can get, if you have…
Jeff: In the state of Texas, identifies you with what you were born as.
James: By chromosome, right?
Jeff: It’s about what you were born as. By the equipment you have at birth…
CW Chan: Exactly!
And it seems that her plan is going off without a hitch.
San Antonio isn’t the only Texas town with cis/trans equality policies that kids have no problems with. Here in Houston, our trans youth have full access to everything that their cisgender counterparts have access to. Yes, that means restrooms, sports, and changing facilities… And you know what? It’s been that way for years and if you haven’t noticed yet, the doom and gloom the radical right is forever forecasting hasn’t materialized.
More History on Trans Terms – Supposedly the term “transsexual” was “coined” in 1949 or, if you like, a German version was coined in 1923. I discover that the word was being used in the English language as early as 1907.
Rewriting Trans History With 3 Simple Points – I discover that transgender was in use in 1965 (and the person using it wasn’t Virginia Prince), that “transgenderist” was in use before Prince ever used it and that multiple umbrella uses of trans terms existed in the early 1970s.
Dismissed Trans Heroes: Lee Brewster – Reintroducing the trans person who helped organize and fund the queer community’s civil rights effort and how they were wiped from the history books by RadFems and their gay ideological supporters.
For a really amazing (very comprehensive yet concise) review of all things trans in 2012, Zagria (an awesome trans historian) is almost done with her annual review. CHECK IT OUT!
To throw into high relief just how crazy it’s gotten in the Republican ideology camp, check out this exchange on Fox news between conservative economist (who’s also an actor and was a Nixon speechwriter) and a Fox News anchor who calls his guest a communist for daring to go off the ideological script:
Senatorial candidate Jeff Flake’s (R-AZ) campaign has been giving wrong information via Robocop calls about where people are to vote. Who are the only people receiving misinformation? You guessed it, registered Democrats:
And so it’s begun: The first federal suit filed against Florida Republican leaders for making people wait SEVEN HOURS to vote.
Across the country people receive false robo-call saying the date of the presidential election was changed due to Hurricane Sandy.
Republican caught changing ballots to straight-ticket Republican: “Sources familiar with the incident say their understanding is that the woman filled in a straight Republican ticket on the ballots where preferences had been left blank by voters”
“It appears that Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, a Republican, is on a mission to suppress Ohio voters. During the weeks leading up to Election Day, Husted has tried everything he can come up with, even defying court orders, in order to make sure that fewer people can vote early, and now get their vote counted. A last-minute directive issued by Husted could now invalidate many legal provisional ballots.”
The largest Republicans poll watcher org training poll watchers to stop trans folk from voting:
South Florida voters waiting 4 hours to vote early. The early voting window was reduced by Republican Florida Gov. Rick Scott from 14 to 8 days, or from 120 to 96 hours. “The people of Florida will not forget his failure to stand up for their right to vote.”
Efforts to suppress votes in Ohio: Republican supporters send ‘vote history audits‘ to Toledo residents showing their neighbor’s voting habits and threatens to follow up after Nov. 6.
“You coon” “Viva la Mexico” “Fuck you coon-ass bitch” “We’re gonna goose-step your ass you ni**er-ass bitch” The statements of nice Republican boys after being caught on tape destroying Obama signs. Oh, did I mention that they were saying these nice things while they assaulted the cameraman? The reason this guy was taping was because 100s of Obama signs had been destroyed and shot at. Republicans claimed that Dems were destroying their own signs to make Reps look like bigots. The cameraman was taping a location of previous vandalism to try to disprove the Rep talking point… and boy did he.
“An overzealous cleaning of the records is a move that can’t be tolerated,” said La Porte County Democrat Party Chair John Jones, who cited statistics that Indiana was second in the nation for voter purges this year. He said 21 percent of its voters were eliminated, and pointed out that 10,000 absentee voters were canceled, a 150 percent increase from the last election cycle.
The Republican National Committee has now been implicated or alleged to have been involved in voter registration fraud in no fewer than three states: Virginia, Colorado and Florida
Each of the above cases is directly connected to Chair Reince Priebus, who as Chair of the RNC hired a firm headed by Nathan Sproul, a longtime Republican consultant with a known history of alleged voter registration fraud.
Sproul also faced election fraud allegations in 2004. EIGHT years ago.
Shockingly (!), the Republican Party (even though they were well aware of those allegations), candidates and interest groups have paid Sproul and his linked firms $21.2 million over the past NINE years.
The Romney campaign has so far paid $80,000 to a separate Sproul-run firm
Karl Rove’s American Crossroads PAC has paid nearly $1 million to Sproul’s firms for voter outreach.
The RNC has directing millions to Sproul’s firm since Reince Priebus became Chair last year.
Colin Small – the Republican Party field director arrested yesterday for dumping voter registration forms in the trash – was working under the supervision of RNC officials and was first hired by a Sproul-run firm.
Sproul and his wife have donated $5,000 to Mitt Romney in the 2012 cycle and have had their photograph taken with him.
So, you know how awesome the GOP is for coming up with the Sequestration on January 2? If that happens, this is what WILL occur in HIV:
15,708 people would lose access to crucial life-saving drugs and die.
4,738 households would lose housing support.
460 AIDS research grants would be eliminated.
Republicans will return America to the horror of the 1980s. If evil means anything, this is it.
Seriously… you have to be cruel or ignorant to support our nation’s largest and most effective anti-LGBT and anti-woman organization in agreeing to kill 15K+ American people. Their tax/budget policies don’t work and they’re willing to sacrifice the lives of people you probably know on the alter of their debunked economic policy. The congressional research service is the most recent to debunk the Republican economic policy:
The top income tax rates have changed considerably since the end of World War II. Throughout the late-1940s and 1950s, the top marginal tax rate was typically above 90%; today it is 35%. Additionally, the top capital gains tax rate was 25% in the 1950s and 1960s, 35% in the 1970s; today it is 15%. The average tax rate faced by the top 0.01% of taxpayers was above 40% until the mid-1980s; today it is below 25%. Tax rates affecting taxpayers at the top of the income distribution are currently at their lowest levels since the end of the second World War. The results of the analysis suggest that changes over the past 65 years in the top marginal tax rate and the top capital gains tax rate do not appear correlated with economic growth. The reduction in the top tax rates appears to be uncorrelated with saving, investment, and productivity growth. The top tax rates appear to have little or no relation to the size of the economic pie.
However, the top tax rate reductions appear to be associated with the increasing concentration of income at the top of the income distribution. As measured by IRS data, the share of income accruing to the top 0.1% of U.S. families increased from 4.2% in 1945 to 12.3% by 2007 before falling to 9.2% due to the 2007-2009 recession. At the same time, the average tax rate paid by the top 0.1% fell from over 50% in 1945 to about 25% in 2009. Tax policy could have a relation to how the economic pie is sliced—lower top tax rates may be associated with greater income disparities.
To be clear the CRS isn’t some non-government leftist hippy organization. It’s the congressional research wing. If you think the CRS is part of an Obama cover-up conspiracy to disprove Republican economic policy, listen to what the right-wing creationist Ben Stein has to say – much to the chagrin of FOX News – about the Republican economic strategy:
Lets be clear: If an HIV+ person does not have medication, they die. Period. Congressional Republicans support this outcome if it means sticking with their debunked economic policies.
Remember how Republicans voiced their support for letting people die due to a lack of insurance during that infamous Ron Paul “let them die” debate moment? This really is the character of the Republican party nowadays… And let’s be clear about something else, the Republican Party wasn’t always like this.
When I went out to talk to Republicans they seemed all too happy to tell me that HIV+ people should die:
Without medication, people WILL die. PERIOD.
BTW, this isn’t hyperbole.
The number I cited at the beginning of this post come straight from the letter the Federal AIDS Policy Partnership delivered to House Republicans:
I know HIV positive people. The trans community has an infection rate far higher than the rate found in Africa… and you don’t see Bono holding any benefit concerts for us. What we get is a gang of new-skool Republicans taking aim at something critical to the well-being of our community even when they know it will result in the death of a significant portion of our population.