Monday, March 28, 2016

Just When You Think It Can't Possibly Get Any More Fucked Up Than It Already Is...

For the last couple of weeks, I've been trying to accomplish what should be a relatively simple goal: Changing my driver's license from New Jersey to Pennsylvania.

While this is often no easy task for trans folks in some parts of the country as well as in the early stages of transition, I've been living fulltime as a woman for almost 19 years now, and I've had an F on my New Jersey driver's license and been considered legally a woman by the State of New Jersey for about 10 of those years.

My first trip to PennDOT, Pennsylvania's motor vehicle agency, was about two weeks ago. I brought all the ID documents the agency's website said would be required, including my Jersey license, birth certificate, name change papers, Social Security card, and proof of residency. After waiting about four hours for service, I was told that I would also need a change of gender form signed by a medical or mental health professional.

I took the form, had it signed by my shrink last Thursday, and returned to PennDOT the next day. This time, after another long wait, I was told that they couldn't process my request because they were unable to get my shrink on the phone to confirm the information on the form.

So, now I'm going to do what I probably should have done in the first place but just hadn't gotten around to. Recently, New York City finally updated their regulations on changing birth certificates to allow for gender changes to accommodate trans people born there. I was born in Brooklyn and I've already had my name changed legally, but until these new regulations went into effect I'd been unable to change my gender to reflect my lived identity. Now changing one's gender on a NYC birth certificate is possible, but that doesn't mean it's easy.

Tomorrow I'll drive the approximately two hours from Philly to Middletown, NJ, near the Jersey shore, and have my surgeon, Dr. Taylor, fill out a short form that certifies that he believes my proper gender is female. Once I have that, on Wednesday I'll have to go to 125 Worth Street in downtown Manhattan and actually get the gender change done. Finally, once I have all that accomplished and have a copy of my birth certificate stating my gender is female to show these people, I'll have to go back to PennDOT yet again and do the license change.

What a pain in the ass.

The one advantage to doing it this way is that once it's done, it's done. I'll likely never have to go through this again. With a birth certificate that says I'm legally female, I'll be able to use that to get around most of the bullshit transgender ID requirements I have to deal with now. If I'm to be completely honest, I really should have gotten this done months ago.

Hell, after all this I'll even be legal in North Carolina.

*****

It's finally springtime in Philadelphia, not just according to the calendar, but weatherwise as well. I took a very pleasant walk to a nearby gas station for cigarettes and then over to Checkers for lunch. The dogwoods that line one side of my street are now in full bloom:



And a feeling of warmth and welcome toward new neighbors just fills the neighborhood:


Have to admit, that circle-A symbol makes me wonder...kinda reminds me of the East Village back in the day. I guess they're trying to gentrify the neighborhood, but without much apparent success as yet.

A new tenant moved into the apartment next door. He seems like a pretty nice guy, which is a good thing because we'll be sharing a kitchen as well as utilities. Also interesting is that he's gay and his sister is lesbian. I have no idea what our neighbors are, but I guess we're now the Queer floor in the building.

Well, I suppose that's enough for now.

More soon.