Being transgender means going through a seemingly endless list of transitions. It seems I just get done with one and there is always something new waiting for me to work on. Some take longer than others, some are more significant, some are easier. Today I got past a very significant one.
One of the most important steps in being transgender is being recognized by a gender-appropriate name. This requires a legally binding court order to change your name and gender on all of your official documents. But this isn’t like just filling out a form for a new driver’s license.
It is a formal legal process. I’m sure for lawyers or others that deal with legal matters it isn’t a big deal. But for me, it was a very big deal. I read over everything I could find on the process and the paperwork a dozen times. I double and double-double checked all of my paperwork. But after all of that was done it I still had to stand before a judge.
After I was called up the judge asked: “How are you?”. My reply, “Very nervous”. She was very kind and assured me there was no need to be nervous. That helped a little bitty bit. Here I was standing before someone who had immense power over a very important part of my life. And I really had no idea how it all worked or what to do.
She read over the documents and asked me about my story and why I wanted the change. I started telling her my story, doing my best not to cry too much as I tell her about my difficult childhood, and how I never fit in. She asked a few more questions about why I was confident this was the right move and then some required legal questions.
Then she left saying she would be back in about 10 minutes to give her determination. So I sat there for 10 very long minutes. Trying my best to think on something else while I waited. When she got back she read her findings. She had captured much of what I told her about my life and story as a transgender person in this legal document. I started to cry as she was reading it. It was a delightful retelling of my life in legalese. She finally got to the point where she said she was granting my request for a name & gender change. I was/am so happy and relieved that it is over.
And now I must go forth and update. I need to get my driver’s license updated. I need to get my social security card and birth certificate update. I need to get an endless stream of documents updated to Jasmine Arabella. This will take several months to get it all done but now it is just a matter of doing it. I have the document I need to make it all happen.