By Winston Gieseke
Originally published on Advocate.com November 15 2011 3:30 PM ET
A transgender woman in Tennessee is asking the state to make a consistent ruling about her gender after a government office labeled her a male but police arrested her on a female-specific charge.
Andrea Jones of Morristown, Tenn., who had gender reassignment surgery and has been recognized as a woman by the Social Security office, decided to make a statement after her local Tennessee Department of Safety office refused to let her change the gender on her driver’s license from male to female.
She walked out to the parking lot and removed her shirt, which she reasoned would be acceptable if the state recognized her as male.
Instead she was arrested for indecent exposure.
The police report even referred to her as a man: “Mr. Jones continued to yell that he had the right to show his breasts in public,” it read, “and wanted to be recognized as a female.”
“If I was a male, I had the right to, when I stepped out the door, take off my shirt,” Jones said.
Jones says even though she has a “statement from a surgeon saying I no longer had my testicles,” the Department of Safety told her she would need more proof to be listed as female on her license.
“It’s not right for the state to ask me to be both male and female,” Jones told local TV station WATE 6. “A choice needs to be made. They cannot hold me to both standards.”
The Department of Safety told the news channel that a gender change can be made on a license “if an applicant presents a doctor’s statement indicating that a full sex change has occurred and the procedure is complete.”
Which means for now Jones will be considered a female by the Social Security office but a male to the Department of Safety — and evidently the police department.
Read the full story here. Watch a video below.