Topless Transsexual Served 21 Days in Jail

UPDATE: Andrea was interviewed on the Michelangelo Signorile Show, Nov 17th, on Sirius OutQ 108. You can listen to a recording here:


It really caused me great consternation when I heard the story of Andrea Jones on WATE channel 6 last night. Jones had visited her local Tennessee driver’s license office to attempt to have the gender marker on her driver’s license changed from “M” to “F”.

Of course, she was refused.

From the WATE report:

The rules regarding change of gender marker are dictated by the Tennessee Department of Safety. They will change the sex on a license “if an applicant presents a doctor’s statement indicating that a full sex change has occurred and the procedure is complete.”

This overlooks the fact that many transsexuals do not have sex reassignment surgery (SRS). The greatest impediment is cost. Few people have $14,000 – 20,000 available in disposable income to fund such surgery. Instead, many transsexuals opt for surgeries that are less expensive but actually enhance their ability to “pass” in their true gender, like breast augmentation. There are also many transsexuals that do not feel the need to have SRS. They have found happiness and contentment in living as their true gender and do not believe that additional surgery will improve their happiness.

This state requirement is at odds with the  federal government. Under federal guidelines, Ms. Jones is considered female by the Social Security Administration and by the State Department.

Further complicating this issue is that Tennessee is the only state in the United States of America that has passed a law, T.C.A. §68-3-203 (d),  which explicitly forbids changing the sex on a birth certificate: “The sex of an individual shall not be changed on the original certificate of birth as a result of sex change surgery.”

So for all legal purposes, Ms. Jones is considered a man by the State of Tennessee. Further insulting her humanity, the officers involved in her arrest referred to her as “Mr. Jones” as demonstrated in the following statement to WATE, ”Mr. Jones continued to yell that he had the right to show his breasts in public and wanted to be recognized as a female.”

Andrea had a well intentioned point to make. If the state will only recognize her as a man, then she should have every right to bare her chest like every other over-weight, cigarette smokin’, tobacco spittin’, shit farmin’ redneck in Morristown does. She argues that the state cannot have it both ways.

However, the State, at least in Morristown, lacks the gift of deductive logic. She was immediately arrested for indecent exposure which carries the possibility lifetime inclusion in the National Sex Offender Registry, jail time, fines, and probation.

Andrea was incarcerated for 21 days in the Morristown City Jail – as a male. She was pressured, badgered, and coerced every day to confess to committing indecent exposure and plead guilty with only a two day sentence. She refused. “I’m stubborn,” she told me on the telephone. In truth, she says that she could not stand the thought of serving time without something positive coming out of it. She wanted her day in court. Indeed she will have it. her hearing is set for December 20th and I’d like to pack the courtroom with her supporters.

Because of her incarceration, she lost her job. She was employed at American Book Company through LaborReady for over a year. As a temporary contract worker, she was recently assigned responsibility for a production line. Even so, things weren’t always rosy at work. She’d been denied restroom use because she is transsexual, but ironically, required to wear a bra – again, the double standard. (I have sent a message to company president, Pat O’Connor and am currently awaiting his response.)

It was a rough week for her too. Just prior to the arrest, she lost her grandfather.

Andrea wants to see this through. She believes she did nothing wrong and I agree with her. With both agree, it is about time that this shit stop. Leaving people in a genderless legal limbo does nothing but complicate their lives.

From our conversations, I truly believe Andrea is a good person with a good heart, but she just had enough. She lives in the Dandridge area and desperately needs a job. She currently walks wherever she needs to go, sometimes up to 10 miles. If you say anything about her, you cannot say that she is a quitter. She is determined. If ANYONE that reads this has a contact in the Dandridge area that would hire this young woman, PLEASE LET ME KNOW ASAP!

If any of you read my blog, you know that when I get behind a cause, I give all the effort that I can. Further, after raising money for the Stutte family, raising money for an insulin pump, and raising money for Duanna Johnson’s funeral expenses, I hope you all know that I’m a good steward of your money.

Andrea has asked for nothing and expects nothing. However, I know it has to be tough trying to rebuild your life after losing your grandfather, losing your job and then being imprisoned for almost a month. This girl needs a break. I think our community can afford to help her get one. Please donate using the ChipIn widget on my sidebar (Donations now closed).


21 thoughts on “Topless Transsexual Served 21 Days in Jail

  1. Andrea, good luck, and well done bringing attention to a glaring unfairness.
    If we accept administrative stupidity and ill treatment we have no-pne else to blame.
    Stay strong and know you have global support in the community!

  2. “genderless legal limbo” is not so bad. The law is NOT treating her as genderless, it is using anti-female laws to prosecute her breasts, then harrassing her with male pronouns. That is not genderlessness, it is persecution of gender.The law should have no business policing our sex, and there is not need to belittle people who don’t need to fit a fake gender binary.

  3. Reporter needs to do their homework and stop spreading misinformation. “if an applicant presents a doctor’s statement indicating that a full sex change has occurred and the procedure is complete.” is NOT the law in Tennessee for changing gender marker on ID. TN law is actually “a sex changing operation”, which is vastly different from “full sex change”. A sex change operation for MTFs can be removal of testicles (orchie less than $5k and is covered by all insurance, TNCare, Medicare, VA) for FTMs it can be chest reconstruction ($8k or so and covered by TNCare, Medicare, but not usually insurance), as long as your MD will complete the affidavit saying they did a post-op examination and found you had “a permanent sex changing operation”. Lots of Tennessee Transsexuals have updated their gender marker in TN license/ID without genital reconstruction, the price quotes in this bad article is for MTF genital surgery while ignoring FTM genital which goes up to $100,000, and ignores several other surgery options for both sexes.

    Yes, the Morristown PD arrested here but in the end the charges are disturbing the peace and obstruction, it just makes better Trans Hysteria and fundraising opportunity to say otherwise.

    I am FTM, I am a court clerk in Tennessee, and I also offered to help Ms Jones before she purposely pulled this public stunt.

    1. Michael, I’m not a reporter, but I play one on the web. Prices quoted for SRS only considered Male to Female, because I am only familiar with Male to Female procedures and the subject of the story is Male to Female.

      Tennessee has no law which regulates the establishment or mutability of a gender marker on a driver’s license or state issued ID. If it did, it would be one of the laws I would be lobbying to change every year with my partners at the Tennesee Equality Project and the Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition.

      I’m not familiar with your offer of help or what that help consisted of, but I do not believe her actions are a “publicity stunt”. A better description would be “breaking point”. There comes a time when every person just can’t take it anymore.

      Regardless, I consider you both brave people.

  4. This is absolutely disgusting, as far as I am concerned, lock the politician and the police involved in jail for the rest of their lives, make the police and the politicians in Tennessee pay this woman $10 million dollars in restitution (AND FROM THEIR OWN POCKETS), publicly apologize to her, and change her legal documentation FREE OF HASSLES AND FREE OF CHARGE.

    Enough is enough !

  5. Michael is, I’m assuming, referring to the reporter in the WATE video. She reports that a full sex change must be completed, and she is citing TN Dept of Safety as the source of the policy interpretation. Not sure which of you is right, but that’s where the info is coming from.

  6. So let’s get this straight. Tennessee considers Andrea Jones to be a male. Males are permitted to go topless, yet they arrested Andrea Jones for doing so, thereby CONFIRMING that Ms. Jones is FEMALE!

    1. @Robyn: Yes, you can. Simply use the ChipIn widget in the upper right hand corner of this blog. If you are using an iOS device like an iPad, iPod, or iPhone, the widget will not display because it is Flash based. In that case you can contact me directly through the “Contact Me” link at the top of the page and I can give you instructions on how to donate through PayPal using my private email address.

  7. Appauling! Yet I’m not surprised. Many, many similar things are going on related to gay couples as well. My partner & I have been together for about 8 years. The same court that refuses to allow us to be legally married deemed us meretricious because we were not allowed to be legally married. All while the court said that my x-husband & his girlfriend were considered not meretricious even though they had been living together for two years with her supporting him & his company. They were considered NOT meretricious because they are allowed to legally marry. This was just a way for the courts to further punish us for our relationship & release my x-husband from financial responsibilities. Crazy thing is, the same court also calls me an “overnight, romantic guest” when considering visitation of my partner’s kids. When they come to visit, we are supposed to sleep in separate rooms because we aren’t legally married. Unfortunately, the courts ARE having it both ways!

  8. if they arrested her for exposing her brest, but claim her as a man, then all men who don,t wear a shirt outside or in a public place should be arrested too

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