November 12, 2007
I Never Knew PM Skills Would Be This Handy
Forgetting the huge emotional and physical parts of being transgender, I have to say, the process, paperwork and just plain byzantine rules are pretty remarkable.
For example, the simple question of “What Gender Are You?”… not so simple.
To get a new Washington State driver’s license, you need a letter from a Medical Doctor (Not a therapist – the rules just changed, but that was because there was a new administrator of the WADOL, not because any law changed. Odd.) The letter needs to say that you are living fulltime in your new gender, and its “Appropriate”.
Name change, pretty straight forward. Need to go to a local district court, submit papers for said name change (I loved the papers – “The Petitioner requests the change of name for the following reasons:” – Uh, I need a reason?)
Now it gets fun. In order to get a new gender for your Passport, you need to have a letter, from a surgeon, indicating that you have had “Irreversible Gender Related Surgery”. What this *actually* means is that you have had genital SRS. If you do what I’m doing – having FFS – no downstairs surgery – not possible to get a passport with an “F”. However, getting a new passport after a name change and a new picture seems like no problem.
For the Social Security office, just to change your name, bring in your name change docs (after filing), one ID with your old name, and one ID with your new name. Both have to be government issued of course. So, trying to solve for this problem, it means that name change has to be first, then license, then SS office, then passport. (Because the SS office needs to see a new and and old ID, and if you apply for the new “right name, right picture” passport, then they have that passport (the old one)). I wonder how they are going to deal with the radically different pictures. We’ll see!
For the FAA (I’m a pilot), bless their little FAA hearts, they have published the guidelines for how to do this. ). You need to appear at the local “Flight Standards District Office” for “positive identification”. Please don’t ask what they need to “positively identify” – I have no idea, and I’m not sure I want to know.
For your birth certificate, it varies from state to state – some states just want a MD letter indicating its “appropriate”, and some want a full on surgical report describing how you have been altered. Youch. I was born in Boston, so Massachusetts rules are in play, and for them, its all about Genital SRS, and a letter indicating same.
Work is pretty good – I need to send a mail to the IT people saying that my name changed. As for what gender that the HR systems have – thats an interesting one. Do I want to change that? If I change it, how does that impact my benefits (I’m married – more on that below – with three kids….) I think for now, I’ll leave it “M” – I don’t want any systems melting.
As for our marriage, this is super interesting. Basically, since we were married, legally, as man and woman, it stays valid for as long as we say it is. Turns out that states don’t have a way to invalidate your marriage w/o your consent. From an IRS perspective, they won’t have any problem taking our money, filing jointly. Now, for Social Security survivor benefits, its not clear if they will pay it, but thats a way away.
Now, I haven’t even gone into what box that I’ll check when filling out a form for something simple like a credit card… I’ll work on that later.