More on transgender v. transsexual

CRISTAN WILLIAMS | Cross-posted from Ehipassiko

Since my last post on this issue, I’ve met a few really cool folks in the “transsexual-not-transgender” camp. I was fortunate enough to meet one transsexual named Zoe. We messaged back and forth for quite some time over Facebook, and she really helped me to better understand where she’s coming from. And you know what, I 100 percent support her decision to self-identify herself as transsexual and not as transgender. The thing that seems to separate Zoe from the seeming majority of those in the TS-not-TG camp is that she’s not a hypocrite, she likes facts, and she speaks for herself instead of presuming to speak for all other transsexuals.

TS people don’t identify as TG anymore

A big problem with the idea that TS people no longer identify as TG is that it’s a demonstrably fallacious idea. The National Gay & Lesbian Task Force recently published the largest American trans study ever with more than 6,000 respondents. In this study, they actually asked how we self-identify. Care to guess how many self-identified with the term “transgender”? Ninety percent. Yup; as in almost everyone but a small minority.


Double standards are fun

Also, I’ve not yet seen the TS-not-TG group address a double standard I regularly observe:

• Most in the TS-not-TG group will regularly group TS and IS people together when talking about themselves because, they claim, being grouped together with other types of trans folk is offensive to them.

• However, most in the TS-not-TG group seem to have a blind-spot when it comes to acknowledging that in many regions of America, intersex people are offended when they are grouped with transsexuals.

• So, it’s somehow OK to demand that all transsexual people stop being referred to as transgender because the very idea is seemingly too offensive to contemplate, but it doesn’t matter that grouping themselves with IS people is incredibly offensive to some IS people. That double standard is what I think most might view as being hypocritical.

Grouping us together is something new that was done to us

I’ve also noticed that many of the TS-not-TG people feel that they were grouped with other types of trans folk only very recently. Perhaps where they come from, this is absolutely true. However, it’s demonstrably incorrect to make that claim for all transsexuals. In Houston, for example, our community purposefully began working to create one unified community that encompassed all types of trans people in the mid-1970s.

—  admin

If Nikki Araguz loses, all transgender people in Texas could effectively be de-transitioned

In the above video posted on YouTube last week, Cristan Willams of the Houston-based Transgender Foundation of America explains why the Nikki Araguz case is so critical to transgender rights in Texas. Araguz is the trans widow of a Wharton, Texas firefighter who died in the line of duty in July. The family of Araguz’s late husband has sued to prevent her from receiving death benefits, arguing that their marriage is void because she was born a man. And according to Williams, the case isn’t really about death benefits — it’s about the question of whether Araguz is a man or a woman in the eyes of the law. Williams warns that because Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott recently declined to weigh in on the matter, instead deferring to the courts, the fate of the state’s entire transgender population may now rest in the hands of a small-town Republican judge in Wharton. Scary, huh?

“If Nikki loses, you lose your legal status,” Williams says. “It doesn’t matter what your doctor says. It doesn’t matter what your chromosomes say. It doesn’t matter whether or not you’re intersexed. It doesn’t matter if your birth certificate says you’re female when you’re male-to-female. It doesn’t matter. What will matter is that a small town judge has said that you’re legally male if you’re male-to-female. And that if you’re female to male, well, you’re legally a woman for the rest of eternity. That’s what this case is about, and I don’t know that people really understand that. … This case is huge. It affects the lives of thousands and thousands and thousands of people.”

Williams says LGBT and trans leaders will gather in Houston sometime in October to talk about the importance of the Araguz case. In the meantime, you may want to bookmark “The Trial of Nikki Araguz,” the blog devoted to tracking the proceedings.

—  John Wright

WATCH: Nikki Araguz debate with right-winger Dave Welch and trans leader Cristan Williams

This aired on Houston’s Fox affiliate last night. The station also aired the story below about the case, and is conducting a poll on its website (on the lower right side) about whether transgender/transsexual people should be allowed to legally marry. So far, a whopping 88 percent of respondents say YES!

UPDATE: After the jump, I’ve posted a press release about all this issued by the Transgender Foundation of America on Thursday afternoon.

—  John Wright

Do e-mails, witness statement prove that Nikki Araguz’s husband knew she was transgender?

As Nikki Araguz continues her battle to receive death benefits, lawyers for the transgender widow have asked that the lawsuit against her be dismissed. On Monday, they released copies of e-mails between Nikki and Thomas Araguz written on the day of her transition surgery, Oct. 7, 2008. The e-mails appear to refute claims by Araguz’s family that Thomas Araguz didn’t know his wife was transgender.

The e-mails said:

Thomas Araguz: “What can i say to make you feel better? The only thing I known (sic) is ‘I LOVE YOU.’ Trevor and Tyler miss you dearly, they love you with all their little heats. (sic) Today has been a hell of day, would you agree? After taking (sic) to you, I called my mother and law (sic) to let her known (sic) the good news, about your opt. An (sic) you know she spead (sick) the good news all the world. HEY I TO GO I A HOUSE FIRE. ILU”

Nikki Araguz: “My sweet husband, I LOVE YOU. It has been a day heck and also God answered prayers. I love you so much. We can now move on with the rest of our livrs (sic)…I just got this thing to work somehow and the pain lady came in and gave me morphine…si I am fading fast. You are my best friend, and Praise God fro (sic) you…this is wild that little thing is gone…I think I am supposed to see it for the first timr (sic) tomorrow….Imiss my boys too…Have a great day at school tomorrow…Love you sweet wife, Mrs. Nikki Araguz”

Read more here from Also, the Houston Chronicle reports that the Transgender Foundation of America released a statement from a woman who says she saw Thomas Araguz accompany Nikki to an appointment at a transgender clinic in 2007.

The parents and ex-wife of Thomas Araguz, a volunteer firefighter in Wharton who died while battling a blaze last month, have taken Nikki to court, saying that Thomas never knew Nikki was transgender and that their marriage was not valid. They want all of his $600,000 estate to go to his parents, ex-wife and his two sons from his first marriage.

The family argues that the marriage between Thomas and Nikki was never valid, whether Thomas knew she was trans or not, because Texas law considers Nikki a man, despite the transition, and the state does not recognize same-sex marriage. Nikki’s attorney, Phyllis Frye, however, points to a change in state law that took effect last year that recognizes a sex-change as a form of identification to get a marriage license. Frye says that Thomas and Nikki had, at the very least, a legally recognized common-law marriage.

David Woods, who writes as the “Houston Libertarian Examiner” on, says he has a way to settle the matter. Consider the marriage a contract between Thomas and Nikki, and keep the government out of it altogether.

He writes, in part:

“When it comes down to it, ‘marriage’ is all about love, sex, and romance. What in the world is the State of Texas doing regulating love, sex, and romance? Shouldn’t that be between the partners and God (or if they don’t believe in God, then just between the partners)? Why do politicians, bureaucrats, and judges need to enter this picture?

“One might answer that a marriage partnership does have legal ramifications because it is also a legal contract involving matters such as property dissolution, survivor benefits, and medical decisions. Ok, good point. After all, the enforcement of contracts is a legitimate function of government.

“But there should be no difference between a ‘marriage’ contract, and any other kind of contract, regardless of the relationship between the parties or the reason for the contract. A contract is a contract is a contract, as far as the government is concerned. The word ‘marriage’ is irrelevant and immaterial, and should be stricken from any legal document or statute.

“So, if two (or more) people want to ‘marry,’ that’s their personal business, not the state’s. If they choose to sign a legal contract, the courts will honor it, but keep the word ‘marriage’ out of the discussion. And when we change the law to reflect this simple concept, then courtroom fights such as Mrs. Araguz’s will be history.”

Now, I would say there could still be some conflict and court cases if, as in the case, one party (the family) claims that another party (Nikki Araguz) wasn’t honest and tricked the other person into signing the contract under a false pretense. Still, I think Mr. Woods has the right idea: If marriage is “sacred” and people oppose same-sex marriage on religious grounds, then take the government out of the marriage business.

—  admin