Christine, a mother of two who made her media debut on Oprah years ago, has a story sparking some intense discussions in LGBT circles.
Christine and her partner Jacki got engaged three years ago, when marriage equality was still outlawed in California, where they live. They started looking into other ways to recognize their relationship and eventually marry. Ultimately, Jacki decided to begin a gender transition to be legally recognized as male in order to be able to marry Christine.
"I started looking into transgender [sic]. In the eyes of the courts, if I were to have my gender changed to male, just like that, she gets my Social Security, she gets my pension," Jacki says.
So, Jacki elected to have a double mastectomy. In April 2013, he officially changed his sex to “male” on his birth certificate. He and Christine soon married and just celebrated their one-year wedding anniversary last month.
"I was so overwhelmed that somebody would do such a thing," Christine says of Jacki’s selflessness. "It was the biggest act of love anyone’s ever done for me."
There are two main schools of thought in response to this (and the HuffPo article above does acknowledge that this is a complicated story). On one hand, a loooot of people are upset about this person seemingly co-opting the trans experience in exchange for legal marriage, as if a gender transition is something you pick up and try on at your convenience. (Did anybody else cringe at the phrase “just like that”?)
Kristin Capobianco of Equally Wed wrote a great response along these lines here, and the commenters have added some important context about the timing of the couple’s ordeal as well as the different policies around gender changes in California.
On the other hand, we could apply the same logic here that we do when talking about marriage equality overall — one couple’s path to marriage shouldn’t have any impact on another couple’s. Right?
What say you?