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[News] How Immigration Crackdown Policy Affects Transgender Community

Written by ILENE JONES
Friday, 10 August 2007

ORLANDO (Genderology.com) - A policy meant to crack down on illegal immigration and terrorists will affect the LGBT community as well. Those people who are currently "in transition" will be affected by this policy, making it harder for them to get new jobs without "outing" themselves. Some transgender people who are now post-operative -- have had gender reassignment surgery, also known as genital reconstructive surgery and SRS -- but have not had their gender markers changed will also be affected by this, and other similar policies. These policies do not take into account the trouble that they cause for someone in this unique situation, because the position is not understood by many law makers. The transgender community is beginning to get more "air time" on TV, but very few shows detail the legal issues that a transgender person would have to endure during transition. Because most transgender people choose to live stealth, it has been difficult to bring these issues into the forefront.

This policy will cause the most problems for anyone who is pre-operative and living "full time", and has an employer who sends gender markers to Social Security as part of the verification. These individuals will be flagged, and if they are unable to clear the issue with the Social Security Administration, they will have to out themselves at work or risk loosing their jobs. There are many individuals who are unable to have surgery for medical reasons. These individuals will always be "in transition" as they are unable to complete surgery and the final steps of the process.

An Orlando local writes, "Previously, the Social Security Administration was sending out letters to businesses where employee's name or gender marker on their file weren't matching.

These "No-Match" letters told the company that they had 60 days to fix this information or have the employee update their information. This previously caused transgender employees to be outted at their workplace. A new policy going into effect will require companies to fire employees if they do not fix the information within 90 days. If this policy goes into effect, there will be a lot of unemployed transgender individuals. I've actually received a notice from my employer a few months ago regarding one of these letters from the SSA. I'm definitely seeing this issue popping up again for me in the near future.

While the new policy is meant to find those who have committed identity fraud, it has an inadvertent effect on the LGBT community."

A Seattle local writes: "I am post-op and live in Seattle, and have visited the Social Security Office three times now. The first time I was told I did not have all the paperwork I needed, the second time they flagged my number as fraudulent because I was trying to change the gender on my card. I am still trying to change the marker, by following the policies in place, but I'm getting no cooperation from the office."

The stepped-up enforcement is due to begin in 30 days, and while the companies who knowingly or unwittingly hire illegal immigrants clamor over the change, the silent transgender community quietly cringes at the new problems they now face. Employers and economists worry about the economy and their fiscal futures, without realizing the numbers of people who will be unwittingly affected.


Genderology.com writer ILENE JONES in Orlando contributed to this report.

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