I wish I had comforting, positive thoughts to share about this week’s devastating election…but all I have is a plea for action. The next four years are going to be very difficult. If the president-elect does everything he said he would do, people from all over the country will have their lives affected in everything from marriage equality to healthcare to immigration and many other ways.
It’s safe to say my heart is broken.
Now that the initial shock is starting to subside, it’s time to think about the future, especially for the next few weeks. The next four years will likely impact everyone that is not a white, heterosexual male in a very scary way.
We will soon have a vice-president that passed one of the most offensive and frightening anti-GLBT laws in the country. As a member of the transcommunity and as a human being, I am saddened and scared. God only knows what laws will be passed on our community. Could using the restroom for the gender we identify as become a federal crime? Could health insurance be banned from paying for hormones?
Who knows what will change come January 20th? Likely nothing good for our community. For example, the current policy permitting the change of gender on passports was created by executive order, and is likely to be repealed after January 20.
Kara Hurvitz, an attorney and advocate out of Boston is compiling a document that is going around online right now about what different demographics can do now to prepare for the transition of power. The document has a section for transpeople and I really wanted to share it.
- Make the deeply personal, and absolutely important decision about how you want to proceed in this climate. There is no shame in transitioning, but there is also no shame in deciding to put off transitioning until it’s safer to do so.
- If you decide to continue with transition, begin the process to change gender markers on passports, birth certificates, and other forms of legal identification:
- Birth certificate process
- Passport process
- Note that current policy permitting the change of gender markers on passports was created by executive order, and is likely to be repealed after January 20.
- Note also that an active passport is a necessity for relocating (temporarily or otherwise) to anywhere else in the world, including Canada, so it is a very good idea to have one current and matching your other forms of identification! You can begin the application process here. It is possible, though expensive, to get a passport in just a few weeks. In emergency circumstances it is also possible to get a two-year limited validity passport, though this will be valid for less time and in fewer circumstances than a general passport.
- State ID process
- If you are on a federal employee health plan or a publicly-provided plan such as MassHealth (or an ACA-created plan), expedite what healthcare you can and explore backup insurance options.
- The Commonwealth Care Connector is unlikely to see significant changes, especially in the short term, because it predates the ACA
- But Medicaid programming may become more streamlined and restrictive!
- Get all the non-marriage materials taken care of in case those protections go away:
- Health care proxy
- Power of attorney
- Beneficiaries of policies
- Last will and testament (to ensure your spouse has a legal claim to your assets in the event of annulment)
- Check the laws in your state to see what makes a valid Last will.
- Make sure you make it air-tight and non-contestable.
- Get a lawyer if you can!
- Consider contributing to (and referring to) Refuge Restrooms, a web app that compiles information about gender neutral restrooms in public places
- Familiarize yourself with the names and numbers of local legal protection groups, which will be working to provide advice, materials, and support over the coming months: