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Tennessee transgender woman, upset with DMV, stages topless protest

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Andrea Jones, a transgender woman from Tennessee, is fighting for her right to be classified as a woman on her driver's license, after the Morristown Driver's License Office refused to change her sex from male to female on the document. Upset with the Tennessee Department of Safety's requirement of more proof, Jones proceeded to protest in the parking lot by taking off her shirt. She was subsequently arrested for indecent exposure, and spent twenty-three days in jail.

Jones finds herself in an unusual position, as she's recognized as a female by the federal government, and a male by the department of safety. She had undergone a partial sex change, which was good enough for the Social Security office to make the change on her paperwork from male to female. As Jones put it, "What I had was a statement from a surgeon saying I no longer had my testicles."

Unfortunately, prejudice appears to have reared its ugly head in this case, with the police report referring to Jones as a man: "Mr. Jones continued to yell that he had the right to show his breasts in public, and wanted to be recognized as a female." The police seem to have been caught in a contradiction here, as Tennessee law states that the only way a man can be charged with indecent exposure is by exposing his lower genitals. Seeking a consistent ruling, Jones said:

"If I was a male, I had the right to, when I stepped out the door, take off my shirt. It's not right for the state to ask me to be both male and female. A choice needs to be made. They cannot hold me to both standards."

Jones said that, while in jail, she was badgered and pressured to admit her indecent exposure, and what should have been a two-day sentence ended up costing her another three weeks. It also cost her her job. Because of the technicality of not having had full gender-reassignment surgery, Jones, absurdly, could end up being put on a sex-offender's register as a male, for exposing herself as a female. Her court date is December 20.