There are several types of legal issues when it comes to transsexuals and our lives. Many of these are simply practical, such as being issued personal identification that is actually useable. However others are a little trickier, like how to obtain a meaningful birth-certificate for a child. But however different these issues may appear, many have common roots:

 

First: The legal system in no way anticipates our existence, therefore some areas of our lives take place outside the legal framework of society. This isn't illegal, the problem is rather that there is no meaningful legal way to deal with issues there. Such problems range from the fact that I can no longer provide proof that I have ever been the person I was for a good many years because the government does not issue any statement that I am the same person I used to be. Because I have lived for a while there are things like marriage or birth-certificates of children, land-titles, academic records and so on which cannot be corrected in a meaningful way because the government simply states that such corrections do not exist.
This doesn't just cause the off-and-on headache because no solution can be found, it has the potential to cost a lot of money and potentially screw-up one's life pretty badly, potentially for a lifetime. There is, for example, no way to correct land-ownership records in a meaningful way, there is no way to preserve our credit-history (this is particularly problematic for older individuals), issuance of meaningful birth-records for children is not possible as they can't possibly have two mothers as biological parents. The list is long and by no means ends here. But even if updates and changes are possible, these leave a paper-trail behind which can be detrimental to us as it clearly shows 'transsexual' to everybody who reads these records, after all, nobody else would ever have a similar change (many such registries are public, the government routinely sells the entire contents to interested third-parties such as advertising companies and others). We should also not forget that as of today virtually all these updates, if these are possible at all, cost money, only from my point of view it appears highly unethical that the government would not offer these to us free of charge, after all these changes become necessary in the course of the treatment of our disability! Having to pay the government for things like updating my name on the title of my property or to obtain a gender-corrected driver's license seems to me a bit as if the government were to impose a road-user's fee on paraplegics for the use of their wheel-chairs!

 

Second: The mental-health community specifically insists in us committing certain crimes in order to obtain medical treatment. The first part mostly extends to issues like using "gender (in-)appropriate facilities", such as washrooms. While it is technically illegal for us to comply to this because our legal gender does not match the expectations for using such facilities, practically punishments for this, if reported, are up to the beholder and could range anywhere from nothing at all to incarceration if our using the wrong facilities is interpreted as "sexually motivated". Depending on the social setting the use of "gender inappropriate facilities" or even our mandated "living the other gender-role" alone could be of immediate danger - and cause emotional, physical and legal harm all in it's own. How such incidents are dealt with obviously varies widely by jurisdiction and gender, for example it is reasonable to assume that a legal male who is found in a female change-room would have to expect different treatment from a legal female who is found in a male change-room.
The second part of mental-health related issues is their insisting in our legally screwing-up our lives for a lifetime, also as a requirement to obtain medical treatment. A good example in this category would be the requirement to obtain a legal change-of-name for proof of sincerity before we are allowed to surgery. As after surgery our birth-certificates get re-issued any such change could take place at this time, however as things are we need to file a separate legal change months or years prior to surgery. This obviously leaves a paper-trail (even if these days many governments allow us at least to have these not published - but they're still in the public archives). Of course after the birth-certificate has been updated (i.e. shows that I was born Eva, female) that change of name from an old name (for which there now no longer exists a birth record) to the new one (under which I was now officially born) will lead any observer to a suspicion of identity-theft! I mean what other reason would there be to obtain a change-of-name from a different name with no birth-record to one for which a birth-certificate already exists and then to claim that I actually am the person that birth-certificate designates?

Again, I would like to use a quote from my book to illustrate the problem:

 

As a result [of these mandated expectations as well as the unavailability of reasonable legal solutions] it is today a lot easier for everybody else to find government certified proof that I had genital surgery than it is for me to provide proof that I was the person I used to be or to provide proof that the history of my life is in fact real and not fabricated. Itís completely absurd, but it is a fact!

Just to give you an idea what Iím talking about: The public records now show that I was born Eva, female. Then I graduate from university as a guy. Next I immigrated to another country using a name for which there is no birth-record, claiming to be male. Even worse, upon immigration I state that I do not have a birth-certificate (I was never issued one) - which is nicely consistent to it not existingÖ Next I marry a female using that non-existing male pseudonym. Then I file several birth-records using that name claiming to be the father. Next I change that other name legally to one for which a birth-record already exists! Subsequently I claim to be that woman this birth-record identifies - and request that a birth-certificate be is issued to me! Then I file to have our marriage re-designated a same-sex marriage while insisting that I, being born a woman, am father of our children and stand firm on retaining all parental rights. Just to make the confusion complete I on top of everything insist that I should retain all the rights and privileges both persons have ever obtained, including everything form academic qualifications to rights to inheritances to property to retirement benefits and much more! Honestly, if that were the scenario of a crime-story it would be considered rather far-fetched and wholly unbelievable. But, as it is: Welcome to my life!

 

Third: But there is yet one more area of concern for which society does not offer a solution:

I have been forced into obtaining mental treatment because being sent there is "the commonly agreed upon way of doing things" for medical practitioners when it comes to gender-treatment. Not going there would have resulted in treatment-refusal (i.e. prescriptions for hormonal treatment and referrals for surgery) - which in turn would have meant suffering and possibly death, most likely by suicide. Right from the start I clearly stated that I would not be willing to see a psychiatrist because I did not think that I would benefit in any way from his services, so I was sent - as a "maximum compromise" - to social services instead.
Nevertheless I now have a record of treatment there (even though everybody agreed that such treatment was useless and unnecessary) and in order to obtain this treatment (and therefore the proof that I was there) I was forced to sign the "service agreement" of this institution, I furthermore had to sign releases to them so they are now allowed to (a) release any and all of my personal information to third parties if they deem it indicated to do so and (b) that they may intervene in the upbringing of my children if they deem this necessary in the interest of my children, again at their sole discretion.
Obviously I would like these statements voided and the record destroyed, after all these have been obtained illegally. In our society a person is only expected to submit to mental treatment if she either freely consents or is ordered to do so by a court of law, neither of which has been the case. Instead I was forced to do this by the threat that medical treatment would be withheld, this came at the sole discretion of a single medical practitioner, and he felt it necessary to do this not because of clinical observations but because "the medical community has decided that this is the agreed-upon way of doing things". There is no oversight, no recourse, no review and there is no way to remedy this situation now!

Everybody, including the counsellors there as well as the GP who sent me there agreed that this was done solely to comply to an illegal medical protocol and that no medical, behavioural, emotional or psychological reason existed which would have indicated such treatment. Still, I am not allowed to have my mental-health history expunged and to get unequivocal parental rights to my children back. So apparently criminals can get pardons for legal convictions of their actual, proven crimes for which they have been found guilty by a court of law but I cannot get my medical conviction expunged even though this has been obtained illegally, by application of unethical means (i.e. an implied death-threat if I would not comply) and in sharp contradiction to the medical oath?

 

In our social system there are two avenues to remedy similar issues. On a remedial level for individuals there is the legal system, on a preventative, social level there is the political system. Both avenues are closed to most transsexuals, because both avenues are public (either through public debate in the political system or through the judicial system which works by public trial). Therefore, unless a transsexual person is willing to publicly declare that he/she has been mistreated by the medical, mental-health and legal system - in which case she will also have to publicly present her disability, her having been sent to mental-health, her medical record (or at least parts thereof) and most likely information about his/her most intimate self such as sexual behaviour or sexual function - there is no way left to remedy such a situation.

I therefore submit that two changes are necessary in our society:

(1) There needs to be a government office that has the power to have any and all public records changed in a way as to reflect currently lived reality by request of an individual if there is no other meaningful way to have government records reflect such reality. If the need for such change arises due to previous bureaucratic mistakes, a medical condition such as transsexuality, or is clearly of a life-saving nature (as for example in the case of a politically persecuted refugees who would like to alter his/her identity) such services, including any new documents, ought to be free of charge. This would be akin to what certain countries do in the witness protection program. If this is possible for the benefit of the state, to convict a criminal, then it ought to be possible for the benefit of an individual who has gotten into this situation for no wrong of his/her own!

(2) Today medicine is the only body within society that operates fully and exclusively self-controlled with no external oversight while at the same time maintaining a monopoly on providing services people depend on for life. In my opinion how they treat transsexuals is proof that they are incapable and incompetent to control themselves in a meaningful, responsible and socially acceptable way. I therefore submit that there needs to be a CIVILIAN OVERSIGHT OVER MEDICINE, a panel of people who are not related to the medical system who decide what medicine can or can't do to individuals if ever such conflicts arise, a body with the power to remedy such situations if these are brought to their attention. This would be similar to public police oversight committees, to the public oversight over the military through politically appointed civilians, to school-trustees, even the media's oversight in court proceedings.
It is high time that we end medical dictatorship and bring medicine into the era of democracy where the separation of powers guarantees a balance between the rights of the individual and the powers of institutions (and their representatives)!