Trans People! Know Your Rhode Island Rights!!!
Recently, the school I attended for junior high and high school has been brought to the forefront of Rhode Island and trans news. Current readers of my blog should already know I am a transman, but if you’re new, it’s nice to meet you!!
I came out several years ago and began physically transitioning last year. Over time, through research and dialogue, I have learned of different rights I have as a trans person. These are not all general knowledge. I have personally been told incorrect information and in the past have been afraid to enter some restrooms because I was ill-informed. I have researched my rights and listed links backing that research and findings. While I am not a lawyer and this does not constitute legal advice, if you experience a problem related to any of these statements, you should contact your lawyer.
1) RI has gay marriage and a trans person’s marriage cannot be invalidated if they transition after, anyway.
2) You have the right to change your sex on your birth certificate after going through either hormone therapy or sex reassignment surgery. This is a newer ruling; before you had to go through at least surgery, sometimes both.
3) In RI, there have been no cases of trans parents losing custody thus far. For a parent to lose custody, they must be found incapable of being a parent by court, by means not based on their gender identity.
4) RI has strict anti-bullying laws in schools that specifically protect the “gender identity” of students, who are at a much higher risk of being bullied. This protects all levels of schooling, as well teachers and staff members.
5) We have bathroom rights based on gender and not listed sex. This is a legal, nation-wide movement for accommodation and a big part of why I felt so comfortable moving back to Rhode Island.
6) All peoples living in Rhode Island have the right to having trans healthcare coverage by their insurance. Furthermore, Medicaid has been overturned and people who have this type of insurance can have their hormones and procedures covered to the extent available.
7) We can claim surgeries and hormones as tax deductions, as long as we have been diagnosed with Gender Identity Disorder (GID). I believe it is also often called Gender Identity Dysphoria and means you have undergone a medical evaluation and are recommended for therapies associated with transitioning.
8) You can request a name change any time at your town or city hall and request a hearing at probate court. There is a fee. Then you must take the documentation your receive first to the Department of Health, located downtown, to have your birth certificate corrected. After that, you must pay a visit to social security (various locations, but the one on Quaker Lane is quick) office with your birth certificate and court documents. After that, you will receive your new card in the mail some time later. Your receipt from SS, plus your new birth certificate can be shown at the DMV to get your new name on your license or state ID. You do not have to identify yourself as transgender on the probate court form. “Preferred Name” is an acceptable reason to change your name.
9) Passport changes come last, and you need everything! I had several issues and you should also know that the passport office is not mandated to respond to calls! So if something is wrong, or they claim you are missing documentation. There is nothing you can do about it. You will be charged a fee of $25 more and be forced to send more information. The people at the post office are usually great about helping you out, but they don’t receive any information as to why you are being denied. I personally paid exorbitant rush fees, only to have to send more stuff afterwards, making the process taking upwards of two months—And my rush fee was not returned. So be safe: get a passport even if you do not need it immediately, and avoid rush fees.
I got most of my information from the GLAAD link at the beginning, but their information is from 2015 and Medicaid was just overturned in the last few months. I believe that is why it is not listed there.
The ACLU’s information is from 2013 and so somewhat outdated, but worth a read, as well.
If you have questions or additional information, please let me know! I would be happy to add things or make amendments to what is already here.