I just finished up one of the craziest and maybe most important weeks in my life.
On Monday, after months of dealing with the insurance company and other nonsense, I finally started on HRT. It’ll take a few weeks until I can feel the effects, but the process has begun. 🙂
That was harder than it should have been because of mistakes made by my insurance company, but it’s all straightened out now. I’m reaping the benefits of moving to San Francisco on this, because I’m seeing a transsexual specialist now. Instead of hearing “you want WHAT??” from my doctor I heard “Oh, neat. Let me give you a referral to Dr. Julie,” and that was that. Phew.
I keep looking at the pill bottles… it’s hard to believe it’s my name on them, but it is. I’m very happy and excited and nervous all at the same time.
Tuesday and Wednesday were just normal days.
Thursday I went to the salon to get my hair done up nicely for Friday. 🙂 I love doing that.
Then came Friday. I took Friday off of work.
I got dressed up very nicely. I had on a very pretty blue skirt and a white blouse with blue flowers and butterflies on it. I also had on a cute rabbit necklace and my hair was still looking good from the day before.
At 9:30am I was in the Department 31 courtroom of the Alameda County court to get my legal name changed. They had some other business to attend to, but at 10:44am on March 28th, 2014 the Judge looked at me and said “Congratulations, you’re all set,” and then signed the order. The part I was dreading the most, going back to the main courthouse to get my certified copies of the order, didn’t even happen. They have a special clerk set up right there to handle things like this on the spot. I paid for six copies (at $25 each, ick) and happily walked out the door a new person. 🙂
From there I went over to the Social Security Administration to get their computer records updated. That was super easy, but took over two hours waiting in line. I had gone to their website the day before and gotten the form I needed and filled it out on the computer and printed it out. When it was finally my turn to see a clerk I handed her the court order and that form, and that was it. It was pretty painless, other than having to wait on a hard metal bench in downtown Oakland for over two hours.
Then, after that, I got into my car and drove 20 miles to a DMV out in the middle of an upscale part of the Bay Area. This is a trick I learned back in Ohio… generally the lines there are shorter, and the crowd doesn’t act like waiting in line in the worse thing in the world. (Which was true, the people around me were very pleasant! They were like “yeah, I hate waiting in line, but oh well.”)
After waiting almost two hours there (but this time on a comfy plastic seat rather than a hard metal bench) things started out okay, but then got kinda weird at the end.
When I got to the counter I laughed and told the lady that was working with me “sorry, this is gonna be complex” and handed her the form to get a new driver’s license, my court order changing my name, and the form my doctor filled out to let me get my gender set to female. She looked at the gender form and said “what is this? Where did you get it?” I replied “The DMV website about a week ago.” She’d seen the one for the complete status before, but not the transitional one. She ended up doing the right thing… she got out the manual and looked up that form and was like “oh!” and knew exactly what to do at that point. So in the end that was no big deal.
Then problems started.
Because it was getting late in the day, she sent me to go take my written test while she did the final paperwork. I handed her my old Texas driver’s license and all my paperwork and went to take my test. I finished the test fairly quickly (there were 36 questions on it, over half of which were on the practice exams on their website, so I knew what the correct answer was straight away) and scored really well. I got 35 of the 36 right.
They hand me back my paperwork, and my Texas driver’s license, only my Texas license had now been invalided. (As they’re suppose to do.) All they really do is punch a big hole in it, but it’s a sign to a cop that it’s no longer good. I knew this was coming, and frankly, I didn’t care, because the person on that ID no longer exists legally.
CA doesn’t issue licenses on the spot, they mail them to you 2-3 weeks later, just like how Texas does. When they went to issue me my temp license, the computer wouldn’t do it. It appears there’s a lag between when the SSA database and the DMV’s database sync up. Since the names didn’t match, the SSA check was failing, and the computer was kicking it out.
They were like “come back in 72 hours” and I was like “How? I don’t have a driver’s license anymore. You just invalided my Texas one.”
Things got pretty bad for me that this point. As they kept calling over supervisor after supervisor to try to “fix” it they kept saying things like “I can’t get his license to print.” I don’t handle this sort of thing well. I don’t get mad, I just shut down. My brain kinda goes into off mode when someone keeps doing that. The lady would say “his .. HER” license, at least, but the man they called over got it wrong over and over again and even called me by my old name once. (He corrected himself on that one.)
In the end it worked out okay. Finally it got escalated up to the person that runs the DMV. She took down all my information and said she’d put it into the computer herself on Tuesday morning and there’s no reason I needed to come back. They went into the back and came out with a pad of temp licenses and hand-wrote me a temp license rather than use the computer. It looks exactly like the one I got back in the 90s when I was 16. It doesn’t say “female” on it anywhere, but it has my correct name, so I’m happy.
I made things worse on myself by not eating or drinking anything for roughly 12 hours. I was just really worn out by the time we’d gotten there, so what would normally just roll off my back (a DMV employee being disrespectful? Ohhh, big surprise!) really got to me. I mean, it was 4:55pm on a holiday weekend. They just wanted to get out of there.
But in the end it was all fine. In two or three weeks when I get my new driver’s license in the mail with my new name and correct gender marker I’ll be very happy and most likely forget this whole thing even happened. 🙂
What a crazy week. I started it as a “boy” with my old name and testosterone in my system and I finished it a girl with a new name and estrogen in my system.
Back when I worked in IT I dreaded it when girls came in wanting their name changed. They’d always be like “now. nownownownownownow.” Guess what I get to be on Monday? 🙂