Since I recently received the post-gender-affirmation-surgery letter that states “[Autumn Sandeen] has had appropriate surgical treatment and has completed her transition to be female,” I have, in process, experiences of changing my M to F (male to female) at various government agencies and businesses. So, I’m going to document many of these change as I accomplish the changes.
The reasons for sharing these experiences with y’all are many. One reason is because one of my goals as a blogger has been to teach T (transgender) to LGB (lesbian, gay, and bisexual). A great deal of the LGB portion of LGBT community doesn’t know much about the T of their community. That goal has somewhat broadened now since The Blend has moved to Firedoglake — I see part of my function as teaching T to progressive people now too.
Another reason for sharing these experiences is specifically to document the process to folk who have no idea of what it is to change a characteristic that many consider an immutable characteristic. When one considers mutable characteristics, one would include characteristics such as religious faith, career and employment status, and length of hair. When one considers immutable characteristics, one would include characteristics such as ethnicity, adult height, and sex. And yet, I’m changing documentation that states I’m male to documentation that states I’m female — I’m in process of changing my legal sex from male to female. There’s a lot of process involved in changing the “immutable” sex characteristic in all the places where that prior sex characteristic is recorded.
And, of course, blogging the experience of changing my sex documentation will hopefully give the readers of Firedoglake‘s The Blend an idea of the emotional experience of a transsexual changing the documentation of her (my) previous sex to that of her (my) target sex.
So last night (September 6, 2011) I called my car insurance company, and changed my M to F. Guess who’s getting a lower car insurance rate? That particular change felt fun — like my driving is going to actually change in a way to justify a lowering my car insurance rates! Too fun; too funny.
Today (September 7, 2011) I went to the Social Security Administration (SSA) Office with my notarized change of sex letter, and changed my Social Security and Medicare records (Medicare because I’m disabled) from M to F. I left that office thinking “Wow, this is real,” feeling like something big just happened without much fanfare at all.
It felt really strange that this SSA change to my Social Security and Medicare records boiled down to me handing a smiling, young bureaucrat a notarized piece of paper that said I had surgery to change my sex. It felt really strange that just that one piece of paper empowered that young bureaucrat — and compelled her as well — to change that one very significant letter in my SSA documentation’s gender marker section. This documentation change felt particularly strange and significant because it’s my first government specific, identification/documentation change related to my recent gender affirmation surgery. And too, this processing of a government identification/documentation change by that smiling, young, SSA bureaucrat left me feeling wonderful.
I can’t emphasize enough that when a trans person like me changes identification documentation for a characteristic that’s usually considered an immutable characteristic…well, from my own personal experience I can now tell you it felt very “once in a lifetime,” and again — very strange and very wonderful.
So, this is part one of my F Is For Female series documenting my documentation changes…I can sooooo hardly wait for part two.