Wow what an amazing couple of weeks. July 12th 2012 is my new birthday because that is the day the judge signed my Decree Changing Name & Gender, otherwise known as Form NC-230. That was one of the best days of my life and I was shocked at how awesome it felt to hold that document in my hands. Many months ago somebody was asking me about the legal name change process and I said I didn’t really know anything about it yet and I wasn’t worried about it either. “I’ll get it figured out eventually” I said. “It’s no big deal, just paperwork”. Boy was I wrong. I was literally giddy as we walked out of the courthouse. (‘we’ being me and my awesome lawyer friend Jaye who was doing a little Pro Bono charity work) I felt like I was on the verge of tears or laughter at any given moment for the rest of the day. My next two stops were the Social Security office and the DMV and I was totally okay about the prospect of long lines and glum public servants, except the lines weren’t long and the clerks weren’t glum. The lady at the SSA office was positively delightful and the guy at the DMV was equally cheerful. The experience couldn’t have been better really, I don’t know what I was expecting but I had no idea anything could have been done so quickly and friendly in those particular organizations. All in all, it was a great day by any measure.
So my name and gender are legally changed and my transition is now complete. Well, it’s complete as far as the State of CA is concerned, but I still have a long way to go according to my body. I’ve been at this for what feels like forever (two and a half years) and I keep forgetting that I’m still very early in this transition. Sure I’ve been on Estrogen for awhile but I’ve only been testosterone free for a couple of months. My hair has been growing out for a couple of years but it’s really only just now beginning to fill in and look more feminine, (instead of like an aging rocker) not to mention all of the hair I lost at the scalp advancement scar which follows my new hairline from ear to ear. I notice my face looking slightly more feminine every few weeks or so, due to the slow healing of my FFS and my nose looks like it kind of shrinks about 10% every month as it heals. Everything is going well, it’s just going really slow and I’m looking forward to the day when I won’t be hyper aware of every little masculine thing about me.
I’m also looking forward to not being called a man. Throughout this whole process you gather strength the way a snowball gathers snow while rolling downhill. Every day makes me stronger in some way or another but it’s amazing how demoralizing something so simple can be on some days. At this stage of my transition, I’m passing pretty well, and I would even say that many people I meet might even be surprised to learn of my immediate past. However, I’m also at the stage where it is still not uncommon to be recognized as a transsexual. I don’t really mind if people notice, I fully understand what I look like, and I don’t have any delusions about my place in the world, but… sometimes it kinda hurts. A few weeks ago I was sitting in a hallway looking down at my laptop and a couple of women walked by, slowing down as they passed me and I heard one whisper to the other as they turned the corner “that’s a guy”. Hearing that made my heart slow down a little, why do people whisper so loudly? Back in the day, that wouldn’t have bothered me at all, but lately, it seems to hurt more, even though it doesn’t happen that often. That’s the paradox isn’t it. If it happens all the time, you become immune to it, but when it only happens occasionally it stings every time. So there it was, something about me looked so unmistakably masculine that a complete stranger noticed it in a passing glance. What the heck was it?! Well I think I know. In the position that I was sitting, with my head down over my laptop, the top of my head would have been the most prominent thing they would have noticed. The top of my head is also probably my most masculine feature right now. Even after some scalp advancement surgery I still have an unmistakably male hairline due to years of testosterone poisoning as well as losing a ton of hair during surgery. Thankfully it is not permanent and in fact is already growing back quite nicely, but I may indeed have a full year post surgery before I’ve lost most of my defining male characteristics forever. Another year.
These last two years feel like they’ve flown by, but this year, the most significant year of my transition seems to creep by as slowly as, …well as slowly as hair grows.