How I Changed the Law in California
Okay, I didn't do it myself. Transgender Law Center and others in the LGBT legal community made it happen. But I did play a part in it. A few months after the court date I ran into Kristen Wertz of TLC. She told me that they had presented my case at a national legal conference in New York. The way we pursued it was being used as a template for gaining a change of legal status for other transgendered persons with serious illness by attorneys throughout the country. That really felt good. While my lawyers deserve the credit for the strategy, I was the one that persuaded 3 doctors, including 2 Professors of Medicine at UCSF, to write letters in support of my petition.
I do volunteer work at the American Liver Foundation which is in the Flood Building downtown, the same building as TLC. One day a short time ago I had a question about Medicare and HRT for transgender people, so I popped in to see if they might know the answer. It's been years but I was warmly greeted by the staff and Kristen Pulled me aside to tell me that the law in California had been changed. It no longer required "appropriate surgeries", it now asked for "appropriate procedures". My case was part of the successful lobbying effort to persuade legislators of the need to change the law. Now it is not only enabling for trans people with disabilities but for all transgender people. When you consider that 80% of us will never have SRS, that change of one word in the law will have a positive impact on many lives.
I am by no means an activist. I was involved early in my transition but at some point I decided to mainstream and that has worked well for me. I'm happy to be just one of the girls. Still, I can't help but have a sense of pride that I played a role in something so important to so many people.