Social Question

KatawaGrey's avatar

In a state that does not allow civil unions or marriage between two same-sex people, can a transgendered person marry someone with the same genitalia?

Asked by KatawaGrey (21433points) March 23rd, 2010

I know that legally, two people of the same sex cannot get married or get a civil union in many states. Does this law extend to two people who have different genders, but the same genitalia? I have been thinking about this because I know a man who is male who dated a woman who is male as well. The woman has a penis but is very much of the feminine gender. They are no longer dating but if they were, could they legally get married? If whoever married them did not know that she had a penis and therefore thought she was female would the marriage be null and void if it came out that she had a penis? Does anything change if the person is a pre-op transexual and has surgery scheduled?

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19 Answers

lilikoi's avatar

Probably all comes down to what it says on the birth certificates.

I wonder if you are allowed legally to change your gender on your birth certificate after a surgery like that? You’d think you would be…

j0ey's avatar

How terrible is it that there is the possibility the marriage might be “null and void” and just because a bit of meat between someones legs….I think trans gendered people have the right to have the rights as any other person, I mean they go through a lot to identify as their chosen sex.

Buttonstc's avatar

If I remember correctly, the case in the headlines a few years ago in which a man gave birth to a child would fit this description.

Evidently Thomas had legally undergone a sex change which involved only top surgery and hormones.

He went through whatever legal paperwork was required and is legally a man. He and his wife are legally married and have the same genitalia with the obvious exception of breasts, of course.

All that the bureaucracy cares about is what is on whichever paperwork is required evidently.

There must be other cases out there less publicized because many F2M transexuals opt to not have bottom surgery because it lags far behind the surgery for M2F which produces significantly better results.

Evidently it is not required in order to legally change one’s gender officially.

At least that’s my understanding of things this far. I’m not certain whether the legal requirements for this vary from one state to another though.

EmpressPixie's avatar

Here is the deal:
In some states, you may legally change your sex. The qualifications to do so vary by state. It is not possible in all states.

Marriage goes by legal sex. So in a state that you can change sex on your birth certificate, you can marry someone opposite of your legal sex regardless of the laws surrounding gay marriage. Because it is not a homosexual union.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Legally the trans person would have to have a gender status opposite to one that would go along with their genitals – whether or not the trans person has to have had sex reassignment surgery for their genitals before getting that status varies (I think). Then once they have a different legal status, they can get married.

KatawaGrey's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir: Ah! I was hoping you’d answer!

Thank you very much, everyone. I’m still a wee bit confused, but I understand a little better now.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@KatawaGrey Believe me, it’s a complex issue in the trans community as well – here is something interesting – a trans person can marry someone of the opposite sex from their birth sex and then transition into the gender they feel like whether by coming out or a sex change and the marriage remains valid. For more information, I’d look here.

galileogirl's avatar

What state does a genitalia check?

KatawaGrey's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir: Thank you for the links! i would imagine it would be quite a complex issue.

@galileogirl: I don’t know about that, but don’t most, if not all, states require a blood test? You can certainly test chromosomes from that. Also, any doctor of the transgendered person’s would know that he/she had differing genitalia than the gender he/she associated with. Also, any surgeries or hormone prescriptions would be known to a doctor and possibly someone performing the ceremony if, say, that person was a judge. Also, barring any of these, what if it is known in the community that Sara still has her penis or Richard still has his vagina? I imagine that would create complications as well.

galileogirl's avatar

@KatawaGrey The blood tests do not check DNA, they check for syphilis. Sara and Richard can keep their genitals from becoming the subject of gossip the same way you do, by not exposing them to every Tom, Dick and Mary.

KatawaGrey's avatar

@galileogirl: There is no need to be snarky. I was simply saying that a blood test could also be checked for chromosomes. Also, just because Richard and Sara don’t go around telling other people about their genitalia doesn’t mean that other people don’t. In the example listed in the details of my question, I found out this girl had a penis because her ex-boyfriend told my boyfriend who told me.

Anyway, the question was not about whether or not people would know the state of a couple’s genitalia; it was about whether or not two people with the same genitalia could legally get married.

galileogirl's avatar

@KatawaGrey Snarky lol I was just educating you. They have been doing premarital blood test decades before the double helix was identified and it is illegal (and ruinously expensive) for the govt to test DNA under those circumstances.

Check the general opinion. I am generally thought of as sharp and sarcastic not snarky. And now we know you are a common gossip.

KatawaGrey's avatar

@galileogirl: Your last comment was unnecessary. The point I was trying to make was that anyone with knowledge of a transgendered person’s sex could spread it around. I was also trying to point out that, legal or not, blood can be used to check chromosomes.

MacBean's avatar

Um. Snarky IS sharp and sarcastic…

galileogirl's avatar

@MacBean evidently unnecessary too hehehe

downtide's avatar

It would depend on whether the state allowed the transgender person to get a legally-recognised change of gender. In some places, sex reassignment surgery is a prerequisite to getting gender legally changed so in your scenario, yes they could, but the trans-woman would have to undergo genital surgery first.

In the UK, it is possible to get legal gender recognised without surgery – you just have to prove that you’ve lived as your chosen gender for a minimum of 2 years (usually involving hormone treatment as a minimum), so here, she would only need to change her name and wait two years and then yes, they could marry as man and woman.

@Simone_De_Beauvoir here in the UK, if a couple is legally married before one of them transitions, then the marriage would be annulled when they get the Gender Recognition Certificate. The couple, if they wish to stay “married” would need to trade the marriage for a civil partnership. This is exactly the position I’m in (or will be, eventually). I’ve been told it’s possible to get the annullment, the GRC and then the civil partnership, all within the space of 1 hour, if you time it right.

This is not necessarily the case everywhere. In places where no gender reassignment is legally recognised, the couple would be able to stay married indefinitely because, in the eyes of the law, they are still the same sex.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@downtide I also heard that in the U.K, they granted Briton a genderless status, legally – I wish I had such a status – I know my genitals aren’t chopped up and therefore ‘difficult’ to sex but the way I feel is enough, to me.

downtide's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir you’re half right – the person in question is British, but lives in Australia, and it’s the Australian government that granted genderless status. I sympathise greatly with your position although, on an emotional level I can’t quite “grok” the idea of no-gender. It would be nice though, if gender didn’t matter to anyone.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@downtide oh, thanks for the correction. yeah, I see no point in it, for me. I know it’s integral to others.

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