Robina Asti

Gender Prison: Victories, though rare, should be acknowledged when they occur

At the end of January, I published It's never to late to discriminate, concerning the tribulations Robina Asti encountered when she sought to access survivor benefits from the Social Security Administration after the death of her husband.

The 92-year-old Robina was told that her marriage did not meet the Federal requirements for Social Security widow's benefits because "at the time of your marriage, you were not legally a woman"…even though the federal government had recognized her as a woman for over 30 years.

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I am so insulted that the Social Security Administration refused to recognize me as a woman and treated my marriage to Norwood in such a disrespectful way. I have lived a very private life, but the SSA is forcing me to speak out. I don’t want other people to have to experience this. 

--Robina Asti

Well, Lambda Legal announced yesterday that the SSA paid Robina the back survivor benefits to which she is entitled…receiving the amount to on Valentine's Day. We presume that her March check from the SSA will reflect the survivor benefits as well.

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It's never too late to discriminate

 photo Robina-Asti_CURRENTX400_zps7ad6b395.jpgRobina Asti is 92 years old and has been recognized by the government as a woman for over 30 years. She transitioned in 1976. She is a commercial pilot and the FAA has recognized her as a woman ever since they awarded her a license. She has made a living teaching people how to fly airplanes. The government issued her a passport designating her to be a woman. Her Social Security account labels her a woman.

Robina is a WWII veteran, having served as a NAvy pilot. She is currently locked in a battle with the Social Security Administration…which she is losing.

In 2004 Robina married Norwood Patton in Hanger A of Orange County Airport in New York. Norwood new she was a transsexual woman, but he didn't care. Oh, he was upset at first, but he got over it in a week. He asked her to get married every month for a lot of years.

Norwood died in 2012 at the age of 97. So Robina asked the Social Security Administration for survivors benefits. After almost a year of review, she was denied.

The reason?

[H]er marriage does not meet the requirements under Federal law for payment of Social Security widow’s benefits.

At the time of your marriage, you were not legally a woman.

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