Why can’t transition ever be straightforward? This past week has been one of the most stressful and complicated weeks in my gender transition thus far. Due to some unfortunate timing, an appointment for a driver’s license renewal has prompted some very difficult decisions on a very short timer. I have wrestled with these decisions all week, and it is only in the last day or two that I have figured out what I am going to do.
A few weeks ago, I made an appointment to get my driver’s license renewed. This was going to be a standard appointment, but I realized a few days after making the appointment that I could kill three birds with one stone by changing my name prior to the appointment. I would be able to not only renew my license but to get both my name and gender changed on it. This seemed like a good idea, however, I ultimately decided against it. If I went through the process to get my name changes, I would be required to tell HR at work. This would effectively require me to come out at work and I didn’t want to do that yet. I was fine with this decision for a couple of weeks, however last weekend I discovered that the decision was much more complicated than I had realized. If I did not start the name change process in the next 2 weeks, I would be unable to until March of next year.
During my earlier research into change my name, I had missed a relatively minor but personally significant detail. My state requires that I have lived in the same county for 6 consecutive months to apply for a name change. This wouldn’t be an issue, since I have lived in my apartment for 2 years, however, I am moving apartments in 3-4 weeks. This is not a significant move, however, it does put me in another county. If I don’t at least start the process before I move, I have to wait another for 6 months before I can do so.
My plan for my transition has not changed much since I began transitioning. I wanted to get my name change at the same time as I came out 100%, around the end of this year. This is no longer possible. I have to either start taking these steps now or in March of 2022. I can’t see myself staying closeted until March, it just isn’t realistic. I don’t know how I hide it now, I can’t see how I could hide my transition with six more months of development. On the other hand, I could come out at my planned time and just not get the name change until March. I just didn’t know how that would work with my job.
This led to me speaking to the HR department at my job about their policies regarding gender transitioning employees. That is a long story in itself, but to summarize the conversation didn’t go well. According to them, they can’t do anything until I have my name legally changed except encourage the use of my preferred pronouns. This was not what I wanted to hear, but it did make the decision simple. I couldn’t come out at work until I got the name change and I couldn’t stay closeted at work until March. I need to change my name now.
After a stressful week of debating, worrying, and occasional exasperated rants at no one in particular, my decision was made. I am going to go ahead and get my name changed. My state makes it pretty easy and I have everything I need, including a notarized application (getting that application notarized was way out of my comfort zone). All I need to do now is take it all to the courthouse, which I plan to do this week. Then, all I can do is wait and hope that they don’t require a hearing. Getting a response can take anywhere from a week to 6 months, so I may be waiting a while.