Demolition Derby, Herriman Fire at Ching Sanctuary, and Social Security Hurdles

This week...

I woke up Saturday clearly infected and all sickly goopy phlegm-city gross. By Sunday, my throat was sore and my head felt like it was going to 'plode from all of the congested pressure.

Yet, due to my friend acquiring tickets literally months in advance for a demolition derby, I abstained from sleep. I slugged it to the demolition derby where I enjoyed watching all the cars smash and mash (and, most of all, the people watching) via a blurred out stuffy congestion sick-ville sleepy filter.

Despite the sick factor, it was a lot of fun. I can't quite pinpoint why, but demolition derbies are the only things I actually want to get tickets for and go watch. No sports, no plays, no symphonies, no concerts really - but demolition derbies? Sign me up!

While there, Erin (who really visibly gender non-conforming) asked if I wouldn't mind going to the men's restroom with him (he always uses women's restrooms, but felt too uncomfortable to do so at the derby). Seeing his plight reminded me of the situation I'd become all too familiar with after years of being androgynous and attempting to navigate binary restroom terrain. The most uncomfortable venues are ones exactly like this - demolition derbies, country bars, small towns... essentially anywhere or anything that attracts a culture that does not get much exposure to anything other than hyper-binary polarized notions of man and woman (and can end up reacting unpredictably).



We walked to the least occupied men's restroom, a little further away from the stairwells. He entered a stall while I dilly dallied washing my hands, played with the dryer, then re-washing my hands... no one entered and we exited, no problem.

Whew!

Herriman Fire at Ching Sanctuary

Then, on the way home from the derby, I received an emergency call about the Ching Farm Animal Rescue and Sanctuary in Herriman, Utah needing help a.s.a.p. to evacuate animals due to a huge fire that was only a mile away at that point, with winds hitting about 50mph spreading embers. The fire was started by a nearby National Guardsmen training at Camp Williams.

As Jess Fruhwrith wrote, "The blaze in Herriman that has closed seven schools, destroyed four homes and displaced several families has left a number of retirees homeless as well: the retired farm animals housed at the Ching Farm Rescue and Sanctuary. Most of the animals are safe, but needed to be transported to safer areas--a costly, time consuming and stressful endeavor, no doubt."

My parents and I rushed out there as fast as we could and rendezvoused with some friends near the first police barricade (the area had been evacuated and was then closed off). Following them we made it through about five police barricades -with a friend in the lead-car getting out of their car to speak with the officers at every stop - before making it to the sanctuary. As we got closer and closer the air became much less breathable - and once we arrived at the farm we were given gloves and masks.

It was surreal with such a huge fire so dangerously close to the farm, burning across the mountain. Many animals had already been evacuated and the rest were let loose on the farm due to being too sick or old to evacuate safely.

We took Faith's farm pups with us - Blue and Red - each dawning appropriately colored farm dog hankies. Blue came with a bag of insulin shots for his diabetes. Both pups were adorable and swell, and my grandparents babysat our way-too-hyper-for-the-farm-dogs pup, Gany, while we took care of them.

The fire department did an amazing job stamping out the fire by 50% the following day (Monday) so my parents were able to go to a guard post and have an escort take them to the farm to return Blue and Red. And as of today the evacuation was lifted and people were let back in to their homes.

School Update - Social Security Hurdles

Remember the whole Social Security Administration E-Verify mismatch reported to my employer due to my gender mismatch ("F" federally and "M" locally)? Well, in addition, I also learned that the SSA mismatch also stems into messing with my financial aid going through. When I went in and spoke with a counselor yesterday he explained to me that some of my loans aren't processing due to ,"an E-Verify hang-up." with my SSN not matching.

I had received a voicemail from the SSA employee I'd met with last Friday earlier telling me that she would call back around 4:30. So when the financial aid counselor asked for an ETA on when "everything will be resolved.", I told him that I was expecting a phone call right after our appointment and reassured him that I'm doing my best to get things worked out within my means - and that I have 8 days to get it resolved in order to hold on to my campus job.

The SSA employee called me and began the conversation by warning me that she had "bad news". Essentially there's no way Federal will grant my updated SSN without "proof of sex reassignment surgery". She told me that they will grant my name change, however - but not sex, which will cause a perpetual mismatch between my state-held legal documents (Identification and Birth Certificate) and SSN until I'm able to get surgery.

After doing some research online, I found this Social Security Gender No-Match Letters and Transgender Employees document put out by the National Center for Transgender Equality in 2008, which states that if the gender marker can be changed with SSA:

This requires providing proof of “sex reassignment surgery” to SSA. If you update your gender marker with SSA, there is no need to reveal your transgender status to your employer.

And, if the gender marker cannot be changed, which apparently mine can't:

If you are unable to update your gender marker with SSA, then a coming-out conversation with your employer may be unavoidable (if you are not already out to them). If it becomes apparent you must out yourself, first request assurances that the health information you are about to share will be kept confidential and restricted to the fewest necessary people, and kept within the Human Resources department, if possible.

and also that

... When you talk with your employer or HR department, you can ask your employer to resubmit your data without gender. Gender is optional data for SSA number verification.

... oy'. So I've sent out an e-mail to Human Resources requesting a meeting time tomorrow to explain what's happening and that I will at least have my name updated with SSA and that, at least according to the above document, they can re-submit my information excluding Gender, since it's optional.

And will then meet with the financial aid feller to see if the same can be done in regards to my loans.

8 comments:

  1. Dex, you are so awesome taking those babies home! It was a relief that night knowing they were safe and with a good family :)
    -Crystal

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  2. Good luck with the SSA thing, Mel! I hope your Financial Aid goes through!

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  3. Good luck on getting the SSA problem cleared up. I agree with Crystal; you and your parents are awesome!

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  4. Vegan Farm Girl: You're the awesome one!

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  5. Kestryl & Darkoshi: There has been some progress! I will make a blog update asap :]

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  6. Hi,I'm an italian FtM, my name's Marco and I just open a blog.
    I think that yours is really interesting...if you will visit my blog you will find my youtube channel,where there are my surgery videos.
    I hope that you will like it, even if it's not completely in english...soon I will translate it all :).
    Bye
    Marco

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  7. Hello Marco! Thank you for posting, and letting me know about your Youtube channel. It sounds -very- interesting, and I'm going to go hunt it down right now! :]

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  8. Thanks for being my bathroom buddy :)

    ReplyDelete

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