Fighting for my child’s life … every day!

transgender allyI am continually left speechless by the situations I encounter on a regular basis. As a parent, I will never understand or identify with other parents who are able to turn away from their own children.

Doesn’t being a parent mean that you will love, support and nurture from conception until? Isn’t the very definition of parent synonymous with advocacy and guidance?

More than 20 years ago I gave birth to my first child at 29 weeks. Weighing in at a mere pound and a half, my sweet, precious angel was a fighter. From his first breath to his last, he fought to be here. I, as his mother, fought for his life; as his advocate, I fought every minute of every day. He needed me. How else would he get the medical intervention that he needed if I didn’t speak up?

There is section of Jewish teachings, called “Pirkei Avot.” This is loosely translated as “ethics of the fathers.” One of the best known questions posed by Rabbinical leader Hillel, is, “If I am not for myself, who will be for me? But if I am only for myself, what am I?” The last sentence should logically read who am I? But as Professor Louis Kaplan taught: “If you are only for yourself, you cease to be a real human being, and you become no longer a who, but a what.”

This is very powerful. As human beings, we should always be looking out for others. As parents, we have an obligation to look out for our children. What are we, if we cannot practice this basic tenet?

Regardless of what you believe, whether you are motivated by faith, guided by some spiritual beliefs or unsure of where religious teachings fit within your life, what sets us apart as humans is the ability to feel compassion and empathy.

What kind of parent turns away from their child? What kind of parent doesn’t fight with every fiber of their being to protect their child? What kind of parent closes the door on the most privileged relationship afforded by god?

I am angry. I am sad. I am shocked. I just don’t get it.

Why are transgender children left with no one to tuck them in? Why are they homeless looking for a roof over their head? Why are they killing themselves? Last week, three separate news stories reported the suicides of transgender teenagers. BABIES.

If you are reading this, please think about how you can be an ally to a transgender teen.

The trans* kids in your community need us. They need to know that people out there love them and accept them for who they are. They need to feel validated as people, as human beings. Isn’t that what we all need?

I am fighting for my son every minute of every day because I cannot imagine not loving him enough to want to be his advocate. So, I do what I do for all the Hunters out there.

Won’t you join me?

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Changing I.D. – Federal and Local

passportChanging your federal identity documents to reflect your correct gender and name can seem challenging. In the U.S. there is no single application you can submit to change all your documents; you will need to change your documents with each individual agency, and each agency has its own procedures to follow. Minors can get updated documents too, but note that all applications for minors are subject to special parental consent requirements.

IMPORTANT:

State laws are different than Federal laws. Some states require documentation of sex reassignment surgery in order to change your gender marker on your birth certificate.

Federal law allows you to change your name and gender marker on your passport. This allows a transgender individual to get proper Federal i.d. and bypass state laws. Also, for a teen about to take driver’s ed, if you go the passport route, the teen is able to get his/her permit and license with the preferred name and gender.

You can find detailed instructions for changing your federal identity documents on the websites for these organizations:

These are the federal agencies you need to contact and a brief description of what you need to do:

Social Security Administration  

http://www.ssa.gov/

http://transequality.org/know-your-rights/social-security

You must appear in person at a Social Security Office.

NAME change: You must submit one of these:

  • Name change court order (original or certified copy)
  • Marriage, civil union, or domestic partnership certificate (original or certified copy)
  • Divorce decree (original or certified copy)
  • Certificate of citizenship or naturalization (original only)

GENDER change: You must submit one of these:

  • A U.S. passport showing the correct gender,
  • A birth certificate showing the correct gender,
  • A court order recognizing the correct gender
  • A signed letter from a provider confirming you have had appropriate clinical treatment for gender transition (see *note below)

 

United States Passport  

https://uspassportonline.com/ 

http://transequality.org/know-your-rights/passports
NAME change:

  • You must obtain a court ordered name change.
  • You are required to have valid ID and proof of U.S. citizenship.

GENDER change:

  • You must submit a passport application with a letter from a physician stating you have had “appropriate clinical treatment” for gender change. (See *note below)

 

 

Immigration Service Documents

http://www.uscis.gov/

http://transequality.org/know-your-rights/immigration-documents
NAME change:

  • It is best to start the immigration process with the correct or preferred “name.”
  • A court order or other legal name change should be obtained.

GENDER change: you will need one of these three:

  • An amended birth certificate or passport
  • A court ordered gender change
  • A letter from physician regarding “appropriate clinical treatment.” (See *note below)

 

*NOTE: The wording of the physician letter is very important and needs to include the words “appropriate clinical treatment.” You can view a sample and specific instructions here.

 

The information here is gathered from Transgender Law Center and is only a basic guide. For the most up-to-date information, and for guidance through the process, contact these great organizations:

 

If you still need assistance after checking out these resources, feel free to contact one of our Ally Moms. We are in about 2 dozen U.S. states, Canada and the United Kingdom.

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This information was researched and put together by Janna, one of our Ally Moms in California.