In the past two decades, the word “transgender” has found a place in our everyday lexicon, featuring in headlines, TV shows, books, movies, and conversations in a wide variety of spaces. Yet, even as Laverne Cox and Caitlyn Jenner have become household names, trans people continue to navigate a society where a common understanding of… Read more →
A memo circulating through the Trump Administration proposes that several government agencies should define sex as “a person’s status as male or female based on immutable biological traits identifiable by or before birth,” according to the New York Times. This definition is a blunt instrument that, along with its cruel dismissal of the transgender population,… Read more →
My junior year of college, my roommate and dear friend had a butch girlfriend. She aligned more with what many would consider traditional masculinity than I did; there was always a can of Axe body spray in the back of her truck. She confessed to me one night that she felt pressure to transition to… Read more →
Originally published as “Pronoun Privilege” in the New York Times on September 25, 2016. My fall classes started recently, and I had to face the pronoun question. It’s simple for me: My appearance matches my preferred pronoun, so I don’t worry about anyone misstating it. But some of my students are transgender or gender nonconforming,… Read more →
Mammogram waiting rooms are sometimes different from other medical waiting areas. If you’re going to get an x-ray of your knee or any other body part, you stay fully clothed until you are called into a private exam room. But if you’re going for a mammogram and then a follow-up ultrasound (a separate procedure), you… Read more →
By Mallory Nicole Davis
In 2010, Thomas Araguz III, a Texas firefighter died on the job, leaving behind his two children and transgender wife, Nikki. The couple was legally married because although the state of Texas only recognizes heterosexual marriages, the state will validate a transgender union if the trans partner’s identification documents dictate that s/he is the opposite legal sex of the spouse. However, when Nikki sought survivor benefits after her husband’s unexpected death, Thomas’ family launched a case against Nikki, stating that Thomas did not know his wife was transgender. The suit argued that Nikki wrongfully deceived her husband, while lobbying for the nullification of their marriage and subsequently, Nikki’s request for spousal benefits. The case was complicated further by the prosecuting attorney’s interrogation of a deposition taken from Thomas in a separate court case—a battle over custody of his two sons with his ex-wife—in which he stated that he did not know that Nikki was transgender. In response to the scrutinizing of her late husband’s statement, Nikki insisted that Thomas lied during his deposition and pretended to be unaware of her transgender status in order maintain custody of his two small children. Nikki stated, “At the time, Thomas and I thought it was in the best interest of our children to lie. They were the center of (our) lives”. Whether Nikki neglected to disclose her trans identity to her husband or that the couple collectively decided to lie to the court during their custody case for the sake of their children, deception surrounding Nikki’s trans status is at the center of this legal case; and undoubtedly, her credibility will be diminished regardless of how the court decides.