Tag Archives: marriage

Trans Talk : Local Musicians and a Successful Transgender Marriage


On today’s show on the Tenth Voice’s Trans Talk program, Una Nowling (me), and Luke Harness (my bro) will discuss two very different topics. In our first segment the topic will be transgender musicians, and three local transgender musicians will join us in the KKFI studio to discuss their art and their lives – Melody Burns from the External Combustion Orchestra, solo performer Mercury Mad, and Ceri Anne, who is working to form a band called “The Transistors.”

In our second segment we will have Blake and Ali in our studio to discuss the challenges of their transgender relationship. Together for seven years this October and married as a same sex couple in 2010, they became husband and wife in October 2014, after Blake got his gender marker legally changed. They’ll be with us in the studio sharing their experiences of being in a relationship prior to, and throughout, Blake’s transition.

Listen to us at 1:00pm on 90.1 KKFI, Kansas City’s Community Radio. If you are outside of the area or do not have a wireless receiving device, you can stream the program by going to our station’s website.

Kansas State Agencies Recognizing Same-Sex Marriages

Source: BREAKING: State Agencies Recognizing Same-Sex Marriages | Equality Kansas

Equality Kansas, which has many fine people working for it (including my good friend and mentor Sandra Meade), is announcing that Kansas State Agencies are throwing in the towel and recognizing same-sex marriages. The reason is not given, but my speculation is that perhaps Governor Brownback or others in the government finally decided that they didn’t want a Constitutional crisis on their legacy. Whatever the reason, we are winning.

I want to note to the readers out there that it may take several days or weeks for all regional county offices to fall into line, especially the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Even well-intentioned bureaucrats can sometimes err on the side of delay out of fear of losing their job. Please observe the following procedures to make life simpler for yourself:

  • If possible, phone the local office of the DMV yourself and ask if they are issuing drivers licenses with name changes for same-sex marriages. Regardless of how they answer, note down the name of the person you speak to, and the time of the call.
  • If they reply that they are, then ask them exactly what information you need to bring with you. Ask them to repeat this if you are at all unsure. You may want to record the information just so you will not forget.
  • If they reply that they are NOT issuing new licenses, don’t get angry with them. The person on the phone is some low-level person who was given the worst possible task – answering inane and insane questions from the general public, many of whom are angry. They will not and have no ability to change the policy suddenly because you yelled at them. Contact Equality Kansas by e-mail, or your personal legal counsel, and describe the situation. Note the time you phoned, the person you spoke to, and exactly what they said.
  • If you are told they will issue you a license, and then they change your mind after you arrive, stay calm. I know you’re unhappy and you’ve taken time out of your day. Ask to speak to the manager, and note their name. Ask them politely the reason why they will not issue. Don’t negotiate with them – you will not win, and it will only make you and them angry. And being arrested for the catch-all of “disturbing the peace” is a crappy way to spend your day. Pretend like you are Mr. Spock on an away mission if you have to. Note the time and place and everyone you spoke to. Then contact Equality Kansas or your personal legal counsel.

Note that this general policy applies to most other Kansas state agencies as well. Good luck!

Archival Photograph of Transsexual Woman Dawn Langley Hall

To kick off the New Year at Transas City, I’m going to be posting some old, original photographs which I’ve purchased for the museum. This first one is of Dawn Langley Hall, a transsexual woman, at her wedding to John Paul Simmons in 1969. Of all the photographs I’ve seen of Ms. Hall, I like this one the best, so in the tradition of Victor Kiam, I bought the photograph.

Ms. Hall led a somewhat madcap life of small-scale psychodramas, the worst of all being her false claim of being pregnant after her SRS, which was actually part of an elaborate ruse to purchase a baby fathered by her husband as a result of an affair. Some additional information and the photograph can be found at the link below.

Dawn Langley Hall

Court Rulings Are A Victory For Transgender Men

Two recent court rulings, one in Arizona and one in California, have given support to transgender men by different but similar rulings. In Arizona, a three-judge appeals court ruled that Thomas Beatie – infamously known as “the pregnant man” – could legally divorce his wife, thus de facto recognizing that his marriage existed. In California, transman porn star Buck Angel won a ruling in the Superior Court that his marriage was valid, and thus he could divorce his wife.

Divorce is only very rarely a happy occasion for anyone involved, but at least in this case these two divorces helped serve a greater purpose.

Court Rulings Are A Victory For Transgender Men | ThinkProgress.

Italian Transgender Woman Wins Legal Battle to Remain Married to Wife

Another success story. Even if the Italian court would have said “no,” she could have still gone to the European Community’s Human Rights Commission. However, that would have taken much more money and time, so winning this victory at the local level is really nice. Nonetheless, it was 5 years of fighting.

Italian transgender woman wins legal battle to remain married to wife after sex change – Europe – World – The Independent.

Texas Appeals Court – Texas Must Recognize Transgender Identities In Marriage!

A huge victory for transgender people in the state of Texas!

The case is a very tragic one, and dealt at its heart with bigotry and raw greed. Nikki Araguz, a transgender woman, legally married a firefighter who later was killed while fighting a fire. Mrs. Araguz tried to collect death benefits on behalf of her husband, and in steps both the ex-wife and mother of her husband, who decided to sue to get their hands on the money and away from that “man.” A lower court agreed with them, “despite the fact that a 2009 law allowed individuals like (Mrs.) Araguz to use their sex change certification as a document to obtain a marriage certificate.”

This case is very similar to the local Kansas case of In re Estate of Gardiner, 42 P.3d 120 (Kan. 2002). In that instance a man married a transsexual woman who not only had had SRS, she had gone to extreme lengths to erase her old identity, even changing school records. When the husband died, suddenly the estranged son sued for sole control of the $2.5 million estate, claiming that the wife, J,Noll, was a man and therefore the marriage was invalid. The Kansas Supreme Court agreed, and thus was set two precedents in Kansas:

  1. Transsexuals in Kansas cannot legally enter a heterosexual marriage.
  2. Transsexuals in Kansas can legally enter a lesbian or gay marriage.

As you may expect, the bigots have a serious problem with #2, but that’s just too damn bad. The US Supreme Court has ruled that everyone has a right to marry *someone*, so they have to choose – create legal same-sex marriages in a state which has banned it by Constitutional Amendment, or recognize that heterosexual transgender marriages are legal. Two choices, pick one, bigots.

Texas Appeals Court: State Must Recognize Transgender Identities In Marriage | ThinkProgress.

January, 2014 -Beyond the Looking Glass with Same-Sex Marriage

First off, a brief apology to my conservative friends who are pro-trans, or even trans themselves. But there’s no better way to summarize the movement and the folks who are behind a continued cavalcade of shenanigans direct squarely at LGB and especially transgender persons. In this case we are on the subject of same-sex marriage (SSM), which impacts nearly all transgender persons, more so since in many states it can be very difficult to determine exactly if one is or isn’t married (for example, in Kansas trans lesbians and trans gays can legally marry cisgender women and men, respectively.) But let’s not talk further about that, and take a cannonball into the crazy end of the pool.

First we have Utah, where the conservative anti-SSM contingent is acting as if all hell had broken loose. I mean what’s next, men taking multiple marital sex slaves wives and keeping blacks out of church? The dear folks of Utah are so traumatized by the recent court ruling that their anti-SSM is discriminatory that the Republican Federal House of Representatives has decided that the dear folk of Utah must be protected from the 1,340 same-sex marriages which were performed in the state before said marriages were halted. The bill has absolutely no chance of being made a law, so it’s somewhat a waste of time.

Next we have Nevada, being sued in court over its anti-SSM laws, which has a Solicitor General making statements such as:

The state’s brief argued that the Nevada law defining marriage as between a man and woman “is legitimate, whether measured under equal protection or due process standards.”

“The interest of the state in defining marriage in this manner is motivated by the state’s desire to protect and perpetuate traditional marriage,” wrote Solicitor General C. Wayne Howle, who also argued that Nevada’s marriage laws are rooted in history predating statehood.

“Even before statehood, the 1861 territorial laws defined marriage as existing between ‘a male and a female,’” the document said. “The same limitation on marriage was codified in 1867 … and is substantially the same today.”

He added, “Nevada’s statutes evince a strong encouragement of marriage in its traditional form. These laws are not based on policy whimsy; they are grounded in policy as deeply rooted as any that exists in Nevada law.

“They define Nevada society.”

That being said, the Nevada Attorney General has serious concerns about the viability of their law, after another recent landmark decision where the 9th US Circuit Court rules that gays and lesbians could not be excluded from jury selection based their sexual orientation. So Nevada at least may be getting ready to “grin and bear” SSM coming to their state.

Now we start to step beyond the looking glass, as an Oklahoma Republican lawmaker seriously proposes ending ALL marriages to avoid allowing SSM in their state. Can you all give me a big “WTF?” From the article:

Turner says it’s an attempt to keep same-sex marriage illegal in Oklahoma while satisfying the U.S. Constitution. Critics are calling it a political stunt while supporters say it’s what Oklahomans want.

While this is crazy, it’s also a political tactic which is called “scorched earth outrage”, and it goes like this.

  1. Something happens you don’t like, such as SSM.
  2. You respond by banning ALL marriages, using misdirection and religious arguments to claim that you’re being forced into this by the evil liberals and Emperor Obama.
  3. The populace will rise up in protest over Emperor Obama’s forcing the goode folke of the Faire Lande of Oklahoma to throw away all their marriages. This outraged populace will hold a Constitutional Convention, overthrow the government, and bring back the hardline Christian theocracy/Taliban state which George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson *really* wanted.

Finally, we move from beyond the looking glass to right here in Kansas, which risks becoming crazy cuckoo land. A proposed bill, which has the tentative support of the Governor, would allow both private businesses AND government workers to REFUSE to provide service to people based on their religious beliefs. From the article:

The measure allows government employees to invoke the rule’s protections in providing a lawful service, though it says the agency must “promptly” provide another worker to do so “if it can be done without undue hardship on the employer.”

It really is just that crazy – you could wait in line at the DMV for an hour, get to the front of the line, and have the desk jockey say “sorry, Jesus says we need to kill the trannies, so I’m not serving you. In fact, this is a Christian DMV, so you can’t be served here. I think there’s someone in Garden City who might help you…it’s just 5 short hours away.”

What’s scary is I really can’t say how it would go. Knowing my fellow Kansans, if this measure was put to a public ballot I could see it easily gathering 60% or more of the popular vote. A somewhat large portion of Kansas is either rich people hiding from all the scary masses behind the walls of their gated communities in self-imposed apartheid – or else small-town folks brainwashed by their religious leaders into believing in an interpretation of the New Testament which is so surreal it belongs in a Fellini film.

Two Steps Backwards (and one Update) for Same-Sex Marriage

Same-sex marriage is an issue which is closely linked with transgender civil rights, as somewhere from 33-70% of transgender persons identify as lesbian, gay, or bisexual. Just in the past week there have been two significant defeats for same-sex marriage in the world, which I thought I would report on.

First, in India their Supreme Court has upheld a colonial-era law which criminalizes homosexuality by a 10-year prison term. The Court essentially said there was no constitutional protection for homosexuality, and that lawmakers were the ones to decriminalize it. This brings up an interesting question, in that given the hijra of India often identify as “third gender”, I wonder if a lower court will find that a hijra (who is typically an XY male) can marry either a man or a woman.

Second, in Australia we have their Supreme Court going out of its way to overturn a same-sex marriage law passed in the Australian Capital Territory. Basically, this case is a “states rights versus national rights” issue, and the Court decided here that there was no over-riding civil rights protection for same-sex marriage, and therefore the federal law banning same-sex marriage takes precedence.

Finally, in more positive news, Ireland appears to be headed for a vote on same-sex marriage in 2015. It’s going to be a close vote by most news reports I’ve read, with the conservative religious rural areas strongly against. The media campaigns have started, and this is a sweet video spot which is running in Ireland now.

Argentina: Pregnant Transman Groom Weds Transwoman in a Legal First

I confess I’m reluctant to run stories like this, because there’s a certain amount of media exploitation about this subject. Stories like this are meant to grab the attention of the 99.7% of cisgender readers out there, to say “hey, look at these nuts!”

I will say though that this short MSN article doesn’t really sensationalize their story, so I call attention to it. Someone asked me today why it seemed like these events were making the news more and more in the last few years, and I don’t have a good answer. Part of the reason could be that transgender topics are the news of the day since about 2010, but part of the reason could be that maybe, just maybe, the “invisible wall” between transmen and transwomen is breaking down just a little? I’d love that to be the case.

In Argentina, pregnant groom weds in a legal first – xinmsn Lifestyle.

Missouri to Accept Joint Tax Returns From Same-Sex Couples

Simply awesome news, and probably the start of of a trend. This will have broad impacts for Missouri LGBT couples, especially transgender couples where one partner is unable to change their legal sex.

Reading around the news sites for commentary on this announcement, some cynics have posited that the real reason this was done was to avoid a lawsuit brought by a same-sex couple for discrimination over their state taxes. However, most feel that this was primarily an initiative by Jay Nixon to expand LGBT rights administratively in the state.

I dearly hope Kansas and all other states follow Missouri’s lead.

Mo. to Accept Joint Tax Returns From Gay Couples :: EDGE New England.

Nikki Araguz, Transgender Woman, Weds After Heartbreak

Texas_HeartbreakThis is a sad story with a happy ending. Beautiful transwoman Nikki Araguz, who was raked over the coals in Texas for being transgender. She married a firefighter who was tragically killed in a fire, and then Texas decided to deny her survivor benefits by claiming SRS wasn’t good enough to prove she was married. The good news is that she met another man and fell in love, and after a fight in the courts and some searching, she and her fiancee were married in Corpus Christi.

There is a nice video at the link below, and a small photo gallery.

Nikki Araguz, Transgender Woman, Gets Married After Heartbreak.

Texas Transgender Widow Takes on the State for Trans Equality

This is a case which I admit worries me a little. The background is that in 1999, the Texas Courts ruled that transsexuals are always to be considered the gender which was listed on their original birth certificate. Kansas referenced this decision from Texas in their own case, In re Estate of Gardiner, 42 P.3d 120 (Kan. 2002), which held the same.

The reason that this concerns me is that I personally get the benefit of being a legally married trans lesbian. If this is reversed, it calls into question the validity of all trans lesbian and trans gay marriages in Texas.

BOR: Transgender Widow Nikki Araguz’s Marriage Battle An ‘Incredibly Important’ Case for Trans Equality.

Slightly Sloppy Reporting that a Trans Couple Found a Same-sex Marriage Loophole

Florida_SSMThis has been reported on in both Texas and Florida, and I chose an article which had the fewest transphobic comments at the bottom of it. So Texas in its infinite wisdom said civilization will collapse when a transsexual woman tries to be declared a woman and marry a man, and so both Texas, and Kansas, have a situation where trans lesbians can be and remain married. And people are shocked – shocked! – that such would happen.

My beef is with the use of the word “loophole” to describe people making the best of a discriminatory situation. The United States Supreme Court has ruled that we all are allowed to marry *someone,* so if the state bans a transwoman from marrying a man, it cannot ban them from marrying a woman. Any state which does so risks its entire anti-SSM statute being thrown out by the US Supreme Court.

We take advantage of this situation – loophole – whatever. My marriage to Fiona is intact and we are now a legally married same-sex couple. And we’re damn happy, too!

Couple finds same-sex marriage loophole | News – Home.

Taiwan Upholds Transgender Marriage In ‘Benchmark’ Ruling

In an incredible reversal of their official policy, Taiwan’s Ministry of the Interior agreed to validate the marriage of two transwomen, Abbygail Wu and her partner Jiyi Wu. Taiwan does not recognize same-sex marriage, so Jiyi registered as still being male, while Abbygail registered as female. However, action is planned for September to recognize same-sex marriage, provided legislators agree. I have no idea how that will fall out – Taiwan is a curious mix of conservatism and liberalism, so I think it’s impossible to predict.

Taiwan Upholds Transgender Marriage In ‘Benchmark’ Ruling After Couple Has License Revoked.