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2003 was an event-filled year for the trans community. Newsworthy events of the trans community (arranged in no particular order other than the most positive events first) included:
•A February 11 ruling by Maryland’s high court acknowledged transsexuals are entitled to legal recognition of their preferred sexual identity. Maryland’s Court of Appeals unanimously ruled that the state’s circuit courts might issue an order changing an individual’s legal sexual identity, if the individual presents sufficient medical evidence to show that they have completed a permanent and irreversible change from one sex to the other.
•Former California Governor Grey Davis signed a bill ending discrimination against people based on their gender identity, on August 2. The bill changed the definition of the word “sex” in the state’s Fair Employment and Housing Act to include the perception of an individual’s gender, as well as the individual’s actual sex and or gender identity.
•On March 19 Theresa Sparks, a post-operative transsexual woman, was voted Woman of the Year by the California Assembly, District 13. The Human Rights Commissioner is the first transgender Woman of the Year honored by the State.
•Transsexual employees of the City of San Francisco may now have sex-reassignment surgery (SRS) covered by the cities insurance policy. In a 9-2 vote, the Board of Supervisors approved the controversial plan to pay for the sex change operations of transgender employees, becoming the first city in the nation to do so.
•J. Michael Bailey’s book “The Man Who Would be Queen” was published, an exercise in junk science and a revival of the worst aspects of the psychiatric community stigmatization of transsexualism as a “paraphillia.”
•A heterosexual couple was denied a marriage license because the groom-to-be is transgender. Jacob Nash and Erin Barr of Howland, Ohio were denied the license on August 8 because Nash was born female, and Ohio does not allow transsexuals to change their birth certificates to represent their new sex.
•The state of trans-people incarcerated in America continued to be an atrocity in 2003; In most cases prisoners were denied hormone treatment as a matter of course, and in one particularly repugnant case in Washington a post-operative m-to-f was lodged in the men’s jail (where she was then raped) because there “was no procedure for changing her identity from male to female” in the computer system.
•The Transgender Day of Remembrance for people who were murdered based on their gender presentation was observed in 100 locations around the world.
•2003 was also a record year for numbers of trans-people murdered. Thirty -eight people were reported murdered during the time between Transgender Day of Remembrances (November 20th) 2002 and 2003. There were two victims from the Metro Detroit area; Tamyra Micheals was murdered in December 2002 in Highland Park, and in February 2003 Nikki Nicholas, a popular local entertainer, was found shot in an abandoned farmhouse in Green Oak Township.