SEX AND GENDER IDENTITY
Imagine this. You are Josyln, a twenty-seven year old female transsexual. You and your husband, Julius, were happily married for nine years. This is Julius’ second marriage, and the both of you are raising his two children from a previous marriage. Julius works overtime to pay for your newly built dream home. One afternoon an intoxicated cab driver collides head-on into Julius, killing him instantly. You file suit against the cab company for negligent hiring under a wrongful death statute as Julius’ surviving spouse. Prior to settlement, the cab company requests that you to consent to genetic testing because no state recognizes same-sex marriages. You consent, confident that you are a woman. You have the outer image of a female, have all the organs of a female, and have spent three years in psychological counseling prior to your surgery.
The results of the testing appear to be tragic. You have the chromosomal pattern typical to males, hormonal pattern of males, and were determined to be a male at birth. Due to all this, the cab company detracts the settlement, and moves for summary judgement on the basis that your marriage to Julius is void because you are not a spouse of the “opposite” sex under the state statute. Summary judgment is subsequently granted, and your marriage to Julius is declared void. As a result, neither Julius’ life insurance company nor his employer’s pension plan issue any proceeds to you. Since you are not a “surviving spouse,” you have no right to occupy the dream home that you helped build. Furthermore, you lose custody of the two children you helped to raise.
Real-life scenarios, as the one illustrated above, and the intricacies of determining what the identities of “man” and “woman” should be are topics which stir great emotional, moral, and religious opinions by law-makers, judges, and families alike. Ideas about race, gender and sexuality generate important social identities that reflect...