Poorly written rant ahead: hic sunt dracones.
In the last two weeks I've put myself to the task of legally changing my name and gender as it's become increasingly difficult to manage the differences between my appearance and all my legal documents. I've lost patience with the protracted up and down motions of a person's gaze as they compare me to my ID for 30 seconds and the occasional quizzes asking me to recite my license number. Or having to hesitate whenever giving my signature, deciding whether it's necessary to put my legal name or not.
Yesterday I met with a lawyer to discuss the whole process. Though I could theoretically update all my documents myself, the laws regarding trans people in my state are fairly convoluted and I simply don't have the knowledge or experience to navigate it all. Michigan is, I like to say, half rust belt and half bible belt.
We discussed the various steps in the process which is essentially an indirect path around various state restrictions, hopping from local to state to federal law and back to avoid the worst of them. Including various filing fees and such, the total cost is a thousand dollars. Ok, fine, lawyers are expensive and my parents have generously offered to reimburse me. But it's difficult not to see this as yet another economic penalty for being trans (of which there are many). I digress.
The first step is to get my doctor's signature on an affidavit attesting that "sex-reassignment surgery has been performed on the individual listed below". Which is the first roadblock: I haven't had any surgeries, nor do I plan to in the near to mid future. So the whole thing has to proceed with a wink and a nod because the state's laws are so retrograde that it's assumed that all trans people both desire and can afford SRS. My lawyer assures me that signing it is not illegal—something to do with the minimal difference in meaning between the words 'performed' and 'completed'--but as someone living in a state with a significant anti-lgbt stance and considering that numerous lawsuits challenging that stance have been struck down in the last year, I don't want to test that belief.
Regardless, I decided to trust my lawyer and continue moving forward. So this morning I tamped down my apprehension and called my doctor's office to set up a appointment for paperwork. Roadblock number two: after describing things to the receptionist, I was told that the first opening was in December. Three months. Three fucking months when all I need is five minutes for a signature on a sheet of paper. And without that signature, I can't start a process that will take at least another three months between the full background check, the review of medical history, and a three week notification period where my intention to change my name has to be publicly posted.
And you know what? I'm really fucking tired of living in a world where this is acceptable. I'm tired of having to prove myself again and again whenever I ask for the simplest of things. The major diagnostic test for determining if someone is trans seems to be to throw enormous amounts of bullshit their direction and if they don't give up, then they must be trans. It reminds me of getting on hormones, when I had to jump through hoops for months before people were satisfied.
And I'm tired of having to endure a national debate about where I'm allowed to piss and whether or not I'm going to molest little girls while doing so. Of the healthcare system where the simplest needs require months of waiting and insane charges. And of self-described 'christians', smug in their superior moral authority, perverting their religion's message of compassion, forgiveness, and tolerance and instead using it to justify a political game of smear the queer.
I apologize for not being more eloquent. There are more things to say but I find myself unable to say them. I just want to be left alone.