General Question

Kardamom's avatar

What are some of the legal obstacles/benefits for Caitlyn Jenner?

Asked by Kardamom (28105points) June 8th, 2015

Now that the former Bruce Jenner (male) has become Caitlyn Jenner (female) there are some ramifications for her that most people don’t have to deal with or probably don’t even think about.

I’m guessing that as a male, Bruce Jenner, who was/is married to Chris Jenner (although they’re getting a divorce) considered himself to be a heterosexual male. Now that he has been transformed into Caitlyn Jenner (legally yet?) if he still has a sexual preference for females (not necessarily for Chris Jenner) is she now considered to be a lesbian?

If she now (because of the hormone treatments or maybe because she always felt this way) is attracted to men, does that make her a gay male, or a straight female, or both, or neither.

You hear that sexuality and gender are fluid, but in our society, people still tend to look at people as being either gay/straight/bi, without their preferences and genders switching back and forth across an invisible line.

Now that Bruce is Caitlyn, is it legal for her to marry a male in the states where gay or same sex marriage is still not legal? If so, what characteristics does a person have to possess to make them legally considered to be of the “opposite” sex of someone they might want to marry? Do they have to have a complete sexual re-assignment surgery? If they were born as genetic females, does having a double mastectomy constitute being “opposite” enough? Maybe they only have to have taken hormones that are the opposite their birth gender to be considered to be “opposite sex” enough. If they just have to take hormones, is there a delegated time frame for taking the hormones? What if someone takes the hormones for years, but then changes their mind about switching genders? What if they only take hormones for a month and want to get married right away? Are those folks considered to be “opposite sex” enough?

Does a person who does any of the above (surgery/hormone treatments) or simply by dressing/living as a person of the opposite gender, have to get a new birth certificate stating that they are now the opposite gender from the gender they were born with? If so, how does one go about that legal process? Would a person that changes genders who wants to get married to someone of their same original gender, need to get a new birth certificate stating that they are now of the “opposite sex”?

What about already married couples, who decide to stay married after one of the spouses gets gender re-assignment surgery, in a state in which gay or same sex marriage is not yet legal? Are they still legally married? If so, how does the law apply to them now that they are technically in a same sex marriage?

Lots of questions. Hopefully someone with some legal knowledge of this subject can jump in here. This question itself kind of proves the point that banning gay or same sex marriage is kind of silly, since no one can really know who is male or who is female, and it doesn’t/shouldn’t really matter to anyone unless they are part of the actual couple that wants to be married. Right?

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21 Answers

Darth_Algar's avatar

As I recall my birth certificate does not contain anything about gender/sex whatsoever.

Kardamom's avatar

@Darth_Algar Really? Mine says female right on it.

Darth_Algar's avatar

If I recall correctly. It’s worth bearing in mind that the information contained on birth certificates can vary quite a bit from state to state. The federal government does require a few bits of information to be recorded on the birth certificate, but I don’t believe sex/gender is one of them.

Kardamom's avatar

@Darth_Algar Part of the reason I was asking about the birth certificate, is because this Caitlyn Jenner thing made me think about one of our Fluther members who was trying to deal with this very issue a couple of years back, needing to change his birth certificate from female to male, and having all sorts of problems getting it changed. Not sure if the problem was ever resolved.

Darth_Algar's avatar

I’d like to hope that in a few years gender/sex will be a non-issue, but that’s probably wishful thinking. We do like to shoehorn people into little boxes.

Darth_Algar's avatar

As far as whether or not she’d be able to legally marry a man – that’s probably going to depend on what the Supreme Court says in its ruling in Obergefell v Hodges (ruling expected sometime this month).

LostInParadise's avatar

There is another issue that I find of interest. I don’t know if you are old enough to recall tennis player Renee Richards, but she attracted a lot of attention at one time. The question was whether, after undergoing sexual transformation, Richards should be allowed to compete as a woman. The tennis association determined that she should. At the time of the operations, Richards was well past her prime. If you go to the very end of the Wikipedia article section “Tennis career after transitioning”, you see that Richards strongly believed that she could have outmatched the other women if she had been operated on at a younger age. Would this have been an unfair advantage? Just how much of a woman are we supposed to accept her as?

chyna's avatar

I saw Caitlyn’s interview on TV with Diane Sawyer. She told Diane that she loves women, always has, always will.

Kardamom's avatar

@LostInParadise Yes, I do remember Renee Richards. I remember how much of a huge scandal it was at the time. That is one situation in which I think it probably isn’t fair to let a person who has changed genders compete on the same playing field with someone who was genetically born as a female. Genetic males are born physically different, obviously, but some of those differences give them an advantage, even if they ultimately get surgery and take hormones. I too would like to see the day when gender doesn’t matter, but in cases of physical size and strength, I’m afraid they always will matter, at least in the case of a female competing against a person who has transitioned to a female.

@chyna So does this make Caitlyn a lesbian? What about Chris Jenner? If she stays with Caitlyn and still loves her and has physical feelings for her, does that make her a lesbian?

Darth_Algar's avatar

Perhaps we shouldn’t allow “born” females who are unusually large or strong to compete against other females.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Darth_Algar The strongest woman is no match for the strongest man.

Darth_Algar's avatar

Because clearly, in all cases it’s a cut and dry as the strongest woman against the strongest man. Also, that response completely evades my point.

Kardamom's avatar

Unfortunately you can’t really match up all females to all males, transgendered or otherewise, that’s where the gray area becomes murky. I’m not sure I have a good solution.

Dutchess_III's avatar

My point is, there are some women who are stronger than some men, but when you get to the professional level men will dominate over women in any physical endeavor. They stronger, they’re faster, then can jump higher. That’s why there isn’t the interest in women’s basket ball that there is in men’s. If women really could compete at a man’s level, they’d have them playing basketball and playing football. Anything, if it helps them win.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@Dutchess_III

Cool. Now are you going to address what I said?

Dutchess_III's avatar

Repeat which part you want me to address. I’m not a mind reader.

LostInParadise's avatar

@Darth_Algar, Your point is well taken, but I think we have to go with the averages. The reason why there are separate men’s and women’s competitions is that at any given moment in time, the men do better. Richards was never a major player in men’s competitions, so for her to suggest that she could have dominated the women’t events pretty much speaks for itself.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@Dutchess_III

Mind reader? Perhaps not, but I had hoped you could scroll up a handful of posts and actually look at/address the one, single statement I’ve made in this thread. Evidently not, so here.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Darth_Algar or maybe this was the single statement you made on this post? Or was it This one? Or perhaps this was the single statement you’ve made on this post. No wait….it was this. No…you were the first one to post here before you went on to post the one single statement on this thread.

If a person is born a female, and they happen to be exceptionally strong or large for a female, then they have that edge over other females and good for them. Most professional female athletes are larger and stronger than the average female. However, even exceptionally strong females can not compete with exceptionally large and strong males at the professional level.

Darth_Algar's avatar

Yes, I’ve posted a few times in this thread. However I’ve only made one statement on this particular line of thought, as pretty much the rest of my posts were asking you if you’d address it.

I’m not talking about men competing against women. My point is that if we don’t allow a trans woman to compete against other women because of some physical advantage then we should not allow larger/stronger/etc women to compete with other women ether. Maybe we should just do away with sports altogether since, by the nature of sports, some competitors are always going to have physical advantages over others. If the purpose of sports is to determine the fastest/strongest/most skilled/etc then why rule out a certain competitor for being too big/fast/strong/etc?

Dutchess_III's avatar

It depends on when the male had the surgery. If it was pre-adolescent, pre-testosterone production, that could be a fair fight. If he didn’t have it until he was an adult, then he still has all the physical advantages of a male.

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