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Jordan Swan, who is a female-to-male transgender man, said he went to the Oakland County Clerk last week to marry his fiancee. The two paid for their marriage license, swore their oaths and signed on the dotted line. Then they were off to the chapel to get married… or so they thought.
Swan told Fox 2 News that shortly after the happy couple left the clerk’s office they received a call telling them they had to return to the offices to get a refund for their marriage license fee. The reason they were offered when they got to the offices? Swan is not a man because he doesn’t have a penis.
It should be noted that Swan presented a letter from his doctor showing he completed gender reassignment surgery in March. Under Michigan law, that affidavit is enough for Swan to have his gender switched out on his birth certificate.
But for Oakland county officials, under the leadership of Secretary of State-elect Ruth Johnson, the key to the whole matter is having a penis. Penis construction for transgender men, Swan said, costs “thousands and thousands” of dollars, and is something he simply can’t afford right now.
Fox 2 asked their legal analyst on the issue: Does a penis make a person a man?
“If a doctor signs an affidavit that says you’ve had the sex reassignment, you can take that to the courthouse and you can get a new birth certificate,” explained Fox 2 legal analyst Charlie Langton. “You don’t need a penis to become a man.”
Earlier this year, Oakland County Clerk Ruth Johnson came under fire from LGBT activists after she did an about-face on issues impacting the gay community. The move was widely seen as a way to challenge Rep. Paul Scott (R-Grand Blanc), who was gaining steam in the Secretary of State race by vowing not to issue new licenses to transgender people who have completed gender reassignment surgery.
Michigan Messenger reported Johnson, who won the Republican primary and then the November election, said, “No, I do not support allowing people to change their gender on their license as a result of surgery or lifestyle.”
Swan said he plans on getting the new birth certificate, and then will be back to the clerk’s office so he can marry the woman he calls “the love of his life.” However, he better hurry, because Johnson takes office Saturday and has control over those vital documents.