May 12, 2009

Jennifer Finney Boylan On Trans-Marriage

Posted in family, life, transgender at 9:03 pm by Michael

Fascinating NY Times Opinion article by Jennifer Finney Boylan.


Jennifer’s book – “She’s Not There” was super helpful to me and my family, and was a great support to me in coming to grips with the duality of being transgendered and still wanting (deeply) to stay married to Anh.

In the opinion article she discusses the complexity of marriage laws for transgendered folks and the insanity that can sometimes ensue.

Society benefits when people are co-dependent on each other, and not just on the larger society. Marriage codifies that. (Yes, I realize that marriage started as a patriarchical institution that effectively made women property of men. I’m not advocating that type of relationship, but rather a true joining of equals.)

The situations that Jennifer describes are clearly complex… worth a read! Maybe even deliver an (anonymous) copy to your favorite co-worker, neighbor, or government official who may be thinking about this issue in a less-than-open way.



  1. Mike said,

    I assume ‘less-than-open’ means ‘doesn’t agree with me.’ I follow your blog because it helps me understand a point of view. But it doesn’t mean I have changed or am willing to change my mind. Sometimes condescension is a put-off to people who are willing to listen, but not able to agree. Are you open to others’ points of view when they oppose yours?
    What if I anonymously delivered a biographical text to you written by a social | political | religious | philosophical person? Would you have an open mind?

    • Megan said,

      Hi Mike, thanks for the comment.

      I am curious about what the issue is that you aren’t changing your mind about?

      However, “Less-than-open” in this case meant thinking about the issue in a facile way and without depth of thought. I think the issues that Jennifer raises are about the very nature of gender – genetics? chromosomes? appearance? hormone levels? driver’s license? passport? Asking folks at least consider the broader issues I think is totally fair.

      I have absolutely no issue with people of faith and their beliefs and practices, as long as they are not infringing on other’s rights. There is a fascinating *(asterisk) here… In this country, we do not allow polygamy – even though some religious practices (and some countries – e.g. Afganistan) allow it. We do not allow child brides, even though some countries allow it (e.g. Saudi Arabia). We allow abortion, even though some countries do not allow it (e.g. Spain). So, we do limit and control the expression of religious belief to some societal norms (e.g. polygamy, child brides), while at the same time we do not limit other behaviors that are disallowed by some religious groups (and/or by other countries) (e.g. Abortion, Alcohol).

      I believe (although I could be proven wrong), that the vast majority of opposition to same-sex marriage is due to religious belief.

      Same-sex marriage is therefore one of those cusp issues. Not allowed because of a confirmed religious notion.

      Same-sex marriage though doesn’t “hurt” anyone outside of that relationship.

      No same-sex marriage proponents that I’m aware of are asking that all religious institutions be forced to perform said marriages. I for one fully support the constitutionally protected rights of assembly and association (as well as the freedom of and from religion).

      I read lots of stuff that I don’t agree with… sometimes I change my mind even. I try to be open…. can’t always say I succeed, but I try.

      As for the condescension, if you heard that tone, I apologize, that wasn’t my intent. “Playfully needling” I think was the tone I was looking for.

      I hope you keep reading.

      – Megan

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