Flying Solo: This 92-Year-Old Transgender Widow Is Fighting To Be Treated Like Any Other Widow
After serving as a pilot during WWII, Robina Asti transitioned to living as a woman in the 1970s.
Now 92 years old, she fondly remembers spending time over the Pacific during World War II. She was only 21 at the time.
Getting her pilot’s license at just 18, Robina became a commercial pilot and flight instructor.
In 1976, she decided to begin living as a woman “in body, soul, and mind.” The prejudice against her at that time was extraordinary.
Working as a vice president of a mutual fund, she would go to work in men’s clothing and then change in the evenings.
“It was quite burdensome, and I knew it would never be accepted then. So I quit and decided I had to live and work as a woman.”
She legally changed the sex on her pilot’s license, her driver’s license, and obtained a U.S. passport as a woman. For Robina, it was a complete rebirth.
She soon met Norwood Patton, the man who would one day become her husband.
When things became serious, Robina knew she would have to tell Norwood about her transition.
Less than a week later, Norwood came back.
Every month, Norwood would ask for her hand in marriage. Every month, she would refuse.
Finally in 2004, Robina married her longtime sweetheart in a small ceremony in an airplane hangar in Orange County, N.Y.
“It was, without a doubt, the finest time in my life.”
Eight years later, Norwood passed away at the age of 97.
After his passing, Robina applied for survivor benefits with the SSA. She was denied after it was determined she was “legally male” at the time of their marriage — despite all the legal documents she had in her possession.
“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.”
In June 2013, Lambda Legal filed a request for reconsideration on Robina’s behalf. After more than six months, there is still no word from the Social Security Administration.
She hopes that her case is a success, not for the money, but for “the act of humanity which is necessary here.”
And this is why equality is important. This is why respecting trans self-identification is important. Robina should not be having to fight this battle at the age of 92, but she is because of shitty gender essentialist laws. This is why inclusive feminism is so important, and why TERFs can take a long leap off a damn short cliff.
The number of “get me out of here” tactics women have developed and shared to help each other escape from overly-insistent-to-borderline-predatory dudes in public places should probably be enough evidence of the existence of rape culture all on its own.
One of the girls I was out with A couple weeks ago was getting creeped on hard by a couple of dudes. The evasive maneuvers she employed to get this one bro off her case were so involved & time consuming that the whole end of the evening became a gross hide & seek game.
It only stopped when I put a male friend between them to “protect” her after she gave me the signal. I spent the rest of the night really thankful that the men in my crew are respectful & reliable, but bummed out that, once again, no form of “no” was effective (including openly saying, “save me from this weirdo! He won’t go away!” and physically clinging to me on the dance floor so she wouldn’t get pulled away) except making a show out of creating the illusion that, “I GOT A MAN! LOOK, HERE HE IS.”
Every woman shouldn’t have to party with a bodyguard in order to have agency over herself in the eyes of strange men.
G.D. Anderson (via albinwonderland)
okay, so first of all: this example is not “over sexualised” - this is someone who very possibly has never done a day’s worth of stripping in her life performing some moves in a dance studio. She’s very likely to have had a lifetime of dance and gymnastics training behind her and decided to take poledancing classes when it became the new hit craze. She’s learned in a formal class environment.
But poledancing was developed by strippers in a stripclub environment. Many of those strippers also had a lot of dance and gymnastics and cheerleader training behind them and they developed pole moves partly as a way to kill time when the club was quiet. They taught each other in an informal setting and innovated and created for themselves. Without getting paid explicitly to do so.
Their talent at being able to do things like this has never been recognised. Even though the first pole schools were opened by strippers and taught by strippers, it has now been appropriated by hundreds of people who have never done sex work and who have no respect for sex work, who think it is “sad” that poledancing has a history inextricably entwined with sex work, who only view poledancing as a legitimate artform once it becomes detached from its sex work context despite the fact it was conceived and built in a sex work environment by sex workers.
Poledancing is not “overly sexualised”. It IS a sexualised dance/athletic art and rightly so - it belongs to strippers and it is strippers who made it. Its beauty and athleticism and skill doesn’t change because it was used in a sexualised environment to help its practioners make more money (although now it is seen as just for middle-upper class non-sex workers to pay big bucks in a formal class environment to learn to titillate boyfriends and husbands whilst staying appropriately fit!). That’s a part of its history. Sexualised things are not inherently worth less because of their sexual nature. To believe so is just to devalue the hard work of the sex workers who innovated it and that is done more than enough as is.
Poledancing is still cool and amazing and requires great skill and talent to execute even MORE SO when it is sexualised. Just being able to perform it impressively is one thing; being able to make it a fluid part of a character performance (which is what stripping entails) is another. If you can’t appreciate that, you don’t understand it, so STFU.
this fucking commentary is perfect
Sexualised things are not inherently worth less because of their sexual nature.
“She will not be
simple and sweet.
She will not be
what people tell her
she should be.”
— E. Lockhart