Apr 20, 2009

HB 415

This week will prove to be a rather big week politically for the state of NH. Just a few short weeks ago the NH House of Representatives took up several controversial bills regarding things such as the use of medical marijuana, repeal of the death penalty, same sex marriage and of course an anti discrimination bill to add gender identity to the states protections.

The first time HB 415 came to vote was towards the end of a long days session where a great deal of legislators had left for the day. The bill had been defeated by a 15 vote margin. I can tell you it was an emotionally crushing day. Several of the people involved are people I know personally that put their best efforts forward in getting the bill passed only to be defeated.

A few short days later a motion to reconsider the bill was brought back due to the lack of representation during the initial vote. The conservative side of the measure did everything they could to either delay or change the direction of the bill watering down its effect. At the end of the session HB 415 passed by one vote and my faith in the NH political system was again being restored.

Like most other states and municipalities who have past similar measures, the same cut throat lying techniques have been applied here in NH drawing attention from what the bills true intent is making it about whether as a trans person I should have access to a bathroom of all things.

How absurd it must be to assume that by protecting someone in transition that somehow a predator would use the law as a means to legally attack someone in a bathroom. Let's face it people anyone with an IQ above 10 can figure out that if they are going to break the law, they are going to do so no matter what. Instead it is easier to dehumanize people like me and make us so out of touch with reality that the "normal" people need to be protected from us.

It's easy to see in my everyday life that I do not belong in a men's restroom and quite honestly I am extremely uncomfortable by even the thought of having to do so. I have NEVER been comfortable with it. I've seen the argument that children should be exposed to "a man in a dress" in the ladies room and one conservative legislator even had the nerve in an email to a trans constituent to label it the "Corporal Klinger bill". For once I wish people would cast aside insane sensationalism and think logically.

You can be concerned about coming face to face with a man in dress all you want but chances are, you've already passed a trans person in your lives. Can you possibly imagine how confusing it could be to see a trans man in the womans room? People are so naïve that they treat our transitions as though we all stand out like a sore thumb which the reality is quite the opposite.

What would happen to a transsexual woman entering a public mens room dressed well with makeup on? Would she be put in danger? Would children in that restroom somehow be LESS confused by that?

Lets call a spade a spade here and state the obvious. If you are a man, you belong in the mens room. If you are a trans man you belong in the mensroom, if you are a trans woman you belong in the mens room. If you are a lesbian you belong in the mens room. If you are a butch looking female, yup ..yoo too shouldn't be I the womans rooom. How freaken stupid does all this sound? All for a bill designed at preventing people from losing their jobs? It is amazing what sensationalism will not only be applied too but the level of people that are so weak minded to actually THINK it has merit.

This Thursday HB 415 comes up before the NH senate for public hearing. I have already emailed all our senators requesting their support for this bill but again I am worried that even educated people will be swayed by the sensationalism of a few bigots. Human rights should never be put of for public opinion or vote. The right of a majority to suppress a minority is nothing more than tyranny in its most basic form.

These past few weeks I have been active on message boards across the state I've been called some of the most vile things by ignorant people and had to keep a positive attitude in the process. It hasn't been easy by I'm hoping that in the end this bill will prevail.

Here's moving towards Thursday!

Apr 15, 2009

Off to the eye Dr

I've been poked and prodded to share the following story and experience on my blog by my friend Cynthia. So, this is for her ..

In transition going into RLT "Real life test" one of the requirements is to change all your documentation into a gender appropriate name. This means going to the court and legally obtaining a name in your target gender, filing it with the DMV for a new license, SS for Govt issues, your financial and so forth. As thorough as one can be even after almost a year the old name still creeps up in areas that haven't been changed. In my case this past month it has been my eye Dr.

Every instance where I have had to change my name for an appointment the office had been notified of the change and noted my account. If they needed addition documentation they would usually say that they noted the account and just bring the new insurance card in at the next appointment. For instance when my dentist was notified they simply asked that I being in my new insurance card and that they had changed my account. They even used my new name 3 days before when they called to verify my appointment all without seeing my new card. I cannot stress how nice it is to not only have it go so smooth but have them call you and say .. Hi, Karyn has an appointment on!

Recently after my wife telling me that she wanted to go to contacts and looking into exactly what our insurance covered I decided it was time to go see the eye Dr as it had been about 3 years since my last appointment. I've never needed glasses but I've noticed in the last year or two that small print is becoming a bit tougher for me to focus on.

In other words .. it's time!

Now for the sake of the story I carry 3 separate types of insurance by different companies. Heath, Vision and Dental ..

When the call was made for the appointment it was realized that my name was never changed with the eye Dr's so Dee explained to them there had been a name change. Having done this with various other Dr's and services she has become accustomed to the old "We'll note the account" answer, but today she wouldn't hear that, instead she heard "Sorry we wont do that until you come in and provide your blue cross cards.


We have been going there long enough for the office to realize that we don't use blue cross for eye insurance, we use VSP! Under the terms of my eye insurance they need to verify make sure we have coverage for services provided and they have been doing this for years. This time they wanted my BCBS cards in ADDITION to my vision care cards.

When I asked Dee if she ever provided them before she said no, they never asked or needed them, so why all of a sudden am I being told they need them? They have no right to demand anything other than my ID and vision care of even the court order and I've refused to give them the cards.

The Friday before my appointment there was a call from the office to my home answering machine asking Kevin to please call back immediately upon receipt of this message.

Ok a couple of things to note ..

1) There is no Kevin that lives at my home or at that number. (unless the people asking had not been previously notified)
2) I was well aware when they tried to pre approve my VSP that they would get denied, after all they refused to use the name of the provider instead opting for my old name which has been changed on all insurance.
3) I wasn't calling them back! Enough is enough

I can only feel like this office had been less than accepting of my change. How hard was it to note the account that I would bring in a court order or whatever. So I set out to find a new eye Dr and succeeded in finding a really nice one.

When I got to the nee office I was handed a medical form, which I proceeded to fill out, and at the very top was the box M-F? When I looked at Dee and pointed it out she told me to just put F. Now normally I have no issue doing this but I am always confused in any health situation because you need to disclose medical status and medications, so I simply left it blank.

The Dr came out, asked for me and introduced herself to both Diane and I. She then took me into the exam room and proceeded to go over my medical history. Like most transsexuals I always face the dilemma of "to tell or not tell" but given the fact that I'm on HRT I felt it best to reveal. When she hit the medications listing I explained to her that I was TG and she looked at me with a stunned look on her face, jaw slightly open.

Dr- You mean you're um, you used to be a man and now you're a woman?
Me-Yup, that's exactly what it means with a grin on my face.
Dr- Um, wow I would have never guessed!!

When I explained that it can be tough because not everyone is accepting of it she seemed to be very compassionate to what we have deal with. She had also explained to me she had known one other but that person was a lot more obvious because they still had a lot of male characteristics in the face and proceeded to be wowed that I wasn't as obvious.

Normally because of my work I don't wear makeup, I don't wear anything extremely girlie. It's girl's jeans, girls T-shirt and usually my hair in a ponytail until I'm away from the machinery. So I guess to some degree I look tomboyish.

As she was getting ready to start the exam she put her hand on my arm and asked ":Do you mind if I'm totally honest with you?" I'm a very open and honest person so of course I said yes. She then reveals that when we walked in that she assumed Dee and I were a lesbian couple and that.. At that point I smiled and stopped her to finish her sentence. You thought I was the butch and she was the fem and she giggled and said yeah! .

All in all I found this Dr to be very open warm and accepting, someone I intend to use for my eyes for years to come. It's nice to find people like this in a world that constantly looks down on our plight!

Oh yeah, and now I need reading glasses, dammit I'm getting old!