Wednesday, February 27, 2019

E-Verify and Being Transgender

Up until now, I have been pleased with my “roll your own transition”.  I have discussed this many times before and feel very comfortable as both genders. See my "About Me" page  I still have consulting contracts that require one presence (domestic/international travel) and social/work engagements as the other. Full gender transitioning (medical GRS) has never been my goal. 

Over the past 15 years, non-profits have benefited from my volunteer efforts or received substantially reduced rate/salary with me working presenting as I please. Most value my expertise and although my credentials may not be perfect, they utilize my skills accepting me a being a value to the organization and team. "Some or no question asked". There have been three long term employee engagements and numerous short term engagements. 

Wages have been paid, taxes withheld, taxes filed and never a problem. After many years of contributing (most years at the max), I currently draw Social Security and have US Medicare. The records associated with these two programs I do not want to disturb, especially under the current political climate.   

After serving most recently as a replacement/contract employee, I was offered full-time. I enthusiastically accepted less than the offer as my way to giving back to a worthwhile organization. And intended to give a portion of my salary as a donation each pay period.

Although not required my new employer utilized “E-Verify” effectively outing me. Today, use of the E-Verify system is largely voluntary at the federal and at most state/s level. E-Verify is a government on-line database under the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). It is not part of IRS or SSA, neither of which require Social Security/name authentication. It is part of the current administration's anti-immigration wave. For the record, I was born in the US, am a US citizen and have legal documentation to substantiate this.  

Many recognize E-Verify as intrusive. Despite of this, President Trump is proposing it be a mandate. Is this really less government?  (Trump's golf clubs do not use E-Verify.)

It is going to make life more difficult for those of us who are transgender. This is intrusive and creates a new level of difficulty. At the very minimum, I now have a flag on my identity in an E-Verify database. Today employment; tomorrow - TSA, credit checks, banking, volunteering, home /car purchases, medical care...  Where will this end?  Tattooed serial numbers?  

Secondary repercussions are a reality for those of us who are transgender. Under the current administration, I believe that although not intentional, the difficulties created are savored. Being outed, either voluntarily or unintentionally, opens one up to discrimination, ridicule and precludes one from going about their jobs as any other employee. (Whispers in the break room).

This is yet another attack our constitutional right to “Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”  I am fortunate - I work because it is my desire, not because I must. E-Verify is going to make life difficult for all, especially for those that must work.   

I will keep you posted on how this plays out – I do not see this working either to my benefit of the advantage of my most recent employer. Within one eight-hour day, I went from exuberant to very discouraged.  

I would much appreciate any legal minds wanting to comment. 

Update: This is a post I hoped to never publish. My employer yesterday afternoon provide me with an official e-Verify notice that I have 7 US Government working days to rectify the "Non-conformation"; otherwise be terminated as an employee. I am researching my options. Stay tuned for breaking developments. I am angry and discouraged.




  1. It is because of these new invasions on our identity, I am glad that the medical conditions that I have prevented me from coming fully out to the world.

  2. I presume that you applied for the position under your femme name, using the F marker? This is a known issue for many trans folk, and most of us in the NYC region will out ourselves to HR as NY has protections in place for us. The same does not apply in Florida from what I understand.

    Hopefully, you'll figure out a good resolution to this issue. What would happen if you out yourself? Could you trust HR in this case? Could you say that you are going through transition?

  3. If all of your government issued documents are in your male name, I don't see how you can get around not outing yourself to your employer. While individual states may have different ID requirements, the federal documents should all match each other. Maybe something as simple as entering your name as "John Doe AKA Jane Doe" could rectify the non-conformation. The IRS certainly only cares that your social security number is yours, and that any income under that number can be taxed and will be paid.

    Every company to which I have applied for work here in Washington State has asked for my driver license and social security number upon being hired. Before I changed my name for both of those, I did have my "pretty" picture on my license along with my old name and gender marker. When I entered my name on the application and resume, I put "Connie" in the middle. I just asked that everyone call me Connie, and that was OK. The government didn't know, nor did they have to know. Of course, I was outing myself, but I had little choice about that. I was more interested in keeping my references on my resume consistent at that time (and I didn't want to out myself to anyone from my past, either).

    There's no easy way to do it. For me, it's been easier to not try to be both/either/or any longer. All of my documents are consistent with my feminine-self now, except my Arizona-issued birth certificate (AZ makes it very difficult to change a birth certificate). I also carry a certified copy of the court order for my name change, just in case there may be a question.

    If the people you work with already know you as Rhonda, I would imagine they will continue to do so, even if the official paperwork says otherwise. Maybe you'll just have to "give to Caesar what is Caesar's" and hope that your employer doesn't care about the rest. Good luck!

    1. Your suggestion is a good one Connie. My meeting with HR went well and put all of the cards (so to speak) on the table. The ball is now back in their court as to how bad in am needed. I will write more tomorrow.

    2. Rhonda - I'm glad you did that. Hopefully, things go well for you.

      Over here, I am seriously thinking of changing my legal name to its familiar form which can be used by both genders. For example, Pat can refer to both Patricia or Patrick. Using Pat allows for all forms to be submitted under one's legal name, but with the old gender marker - which is likely ignored. (I have a cisgender female friend who moved to Tennessee and they keyed in her gender wrong. Yet, she was able to go on cruises, etc. with her drivers license - even with an incorrect gender marker.) One blogger I know is legally male. However s/he gets tagged as female more often because of her height, hair length, and feminine sounding name. (How many men do you know named Carroll, as in Carroll O'Connor?)

      Again - Good Luck