MORRISTOWN, Tenn. — A transgender woman was arrested after she exposed her breasts in public in a protest against a local driver’s license office that refused to accept her surgeon’s letter confirming her partial surgery and her Social Security status as a woman.
Andrea Jones, who was arrested and charged with indecent exposure, said she was trying to highlight the inconsistent manner in which Tennessee is treating transgender people.
The Social Security Administration recognizes Jones as a woman and she is treated as such under federal statues. However, the Tennessee Department of Safety — which oversees issuance of driver’s licenses — told WATE-TV in Knoxville that they would only 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.”
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“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 told the station in an interview. “What I had was a statement from a surgeon saying I no longer had my testicles,” she added.
Angered by the response from the Department of Motor Vehicle’s staff, Jones said she decided to make a statement by taking her shirt off in the parking lot.
Article continues belowThe Morristown police were called to the DMV office, and according to the officer’s initial report of the incident, “Mr. Jones continued to yell that he had the right to show his breasts in public and wanted to be recognized as a female.”
“If I was a male, I had the right to, when I stepped out the door, take off my shirt,” Jones explained.
A court date has been set for December 20 on the charge of indecent exposure.