The facts of the story are, at first look, a bit fuzzy. A person by the name of Jo T. Rittenberry married a man named Jeffery Scott Phillips in 2007. Ritternberry, who was born in Kentucky, claims to be a post-op transsexual, to have had full sex reassignment surgery with Menard and Brassard, and to have obtained a birth certificate based on that surgery. That seems simple enough. But, unfortunately, things appear to be a bit more complex.
First off, Rittenberry is currently in the Montgomery County Jail on fraud and assault charges. To further complicate matters, Rittenberry is housed as a male prisoner. It seems that when Rittenberry was booked, something, well....extra was found. That is to say, while being patted down, it became obvious that Rittenberry still has a penis. And Rittenberry has stated that he has no problem being housed as a male, that he "can deal with it." Finally, the clinic in Montreal confirms that Rittenberry was a patient, but also has stated that Rittenberry did not have full sex reassignment surgery. There appears to be little question that Rittenberry is still quite male.
Now, while there is some question as to whether the marriage would be legal even if Rittenberry had completed full SRS. Tennessee does not recognize same-sex marriages, and is one of three states that does not allow birth certificates to be changed after SRS. However, people are allowed to change their driver's license, and that is all that is required to get a marriage license.
Now, before I comment on this mess, let me begin by affirming that I have no problems with same sex marriage. I have several friends who were married during the period that same sex marriage was legal in California, and I was present at one of the weddings. But, I also do not believe that marriages for post-op HBS survivors fall under the category of same sex marriages.
Now, what we have here is, plain and simple, a same sex marriage. Rittenberry has stated that he was not aware that Tennessee does not recognize marriage for pos-op transsexuals and "It wasn't anything planned to be deceptive." That may, or may not, be true, but it seems pretty obvious that Rittenberry knows that he has a penis, and that he is therefore still a male.
The first thing that is not clear in this case is what Rittenberry and Phillips were trying to do. Now, it is possible that Rittenberry could not afford full surgery, and went to Montreal for a castration. It is also possible that Rittenberry was denied surgery for some reason, either medical, or because of some problem with his documentation. Or, as appears very likely, Rittenberry backed out from having the surgery. Again, the clinic acknowledges that he was seen there, but also states, emphatically, that he did not have sex reassignment surgery and that any documentation saying he did was forged.
There have been any number of cases of transgender people using vague letters written by sympathetic, but dishonest, doctors to obtain fraudelent changes to their birth certificates. The doctor, who has perhaps performed a castration, or even a breast augmentation, writes a letter saying that the person has had irreversible surgery for the purpose of changing their "gender." This, of course, is not what the law requires, and could result in a prosecution if someone ever chooses to pursue it. And I would not be surprised to find more than a few cases where people have actually used forged documents in the same manner.
Now, as absurd as all of this is, even more absurd are the position taken by some on Bilerico. Some there are insisting that Rittenberry should be housed with women. Given that Rittenberry is clearly a male, that is outrageous. Rittenberry is in protective custody for his protection. If he is placed in with women, it might protect him, but it would threaten the women he would be housed with. Even if he did not take advantage of the situation, it would be extremely uncomfortable for the women he would be housed with. But this sort of misogyny is not uncommon among many transgender activists.
Another bit is silliness is this remark from someone who is identified as "Abby:"
Also, if I was Rittenberry, I'd be looking into suing Drs. Brassard and Menard, and their clinic, for disclosing private medical information without her permission. That is clearly illegal under U.S. law (HIPAA) and I suspect Canada has similar restrictions.
Now, the problem with the above comment is that is shows a complete ignorance of HIPPA which includes an exception for the release of information to law enforcement agencies under this sort of circumstance. Presumably, any Canadian law would include the same provision.
"Abby" also makes this remark:
Also, for a secretary at the clinic to claim that the letter Rittenberry submitted to change her Kentucky birth certificate "was not authentic" without having seen the letter is outrageous. She obviously has no way of knowing whether Rittenberry had surgery somewhere else or simply found another doctor who certified her completion of SRS. Talk about sticking your nose in where it's none of your business!
Given that the letter being referenced was the one supposedly issued by the Montreal clinic (there is nothing to indicate that any other doctor or clinic is involved. It is as though "Abby" is grasping at straws trying to make the facts change.
"Abby" also tries to make the argument that full sex reassignment surgery is not necessary for one to have a sex change:
Polar, don't be so quick to condemn Rittenberry as having "falsified docs to get
the BC change done." Some doctors will certify that a trans woman has completed
"sex change surgery" upon completion of an orchiectomy (aka castration) without
vaginoplasty. She could have had that done many different places. Thus, the fact
that Drs. Menard and Brassard (improperly) claim she hasn't had SRS (who knows
whether they ever actually examined her?), and that the jail guard claims he
felt a penis, doesn't mean she did anything wrong in changing her Kentucky birth
certificate. Most state statutes allowing for changing the gender on a birth
certificate don't define the surgery required, instead correctly leaving that
medical matter up to doctors to determine.
No one with a shred of common sense has any doubt what surgery is required:
For example, the State Code of Alabama provides:
Upon receipt of a certified copy of an order of a court of competent jurisdiction indicating that the sex of an individual born in this state has been changed by surgical procedure and that the name of the individual has been changed, the certificate of birth of the individual shall be amended as prescribed by rules to reflect the changes.
This is pretty much the same language used by other states. It represents something of a uniform approach. It is complete silliness to suggest that any state is going to knowingly change the birth certificate of any male who still has a penis. But this is typical of the silliness of the more extreme transgender activists.
While cases such as this may appeal to the gender fascists as a means to force their radical agenda on society, they only result in more negative attention being drawn to people who have a legitimate need to correct their birth certificates. Each time something like this happens, it increases the likelihood that laws will be changed to make it difficult, if not impossible for those who suffer from HBS to simply get on with their lives. Of course, this means nothing to the transgender activists, who continue to take an all or nothing view.