In Part 1 of this story [click here to read], I introduced this (small) part of what is really a much more involved process of a gender transition, as many of you know. Here, I complete the tale that was, five days of my transition that played out a little differently than I would have expected. BY TAWNI SOFIA
On the second day, I had an appointment with my doctor who works with me on all of the medical aspects of my transition — we meet every 90 days for sure. He has signed other forms signed to assist in with the other agencies I had to traverse (Social Security, DMV, Passport etc), gave me updates for my HRT regimen, and, in conclusion, changed my patient records to Tawni. So now, medically speaking, I am myself as well J. The highs and lows from the next round of HRT medications caused me to retire early that Saturday evening.
Sunday, I attended a large Buddhist monthly prayer-for-peace meeting and had the pleasure of outing myself to my “Buddhist mother” who has known me since the late 1980s (yup, the time of Miami Vice and bad New Wave hair dos). The two of us had the most wonderful conversation, providing a wonderful fusion of the past, present, and future with heartfelt affirmations of my own humanity (thank you!).
On Monday, I made the decision to go to Social Security office even though I had no appointment. The local office here can be intimidating. As I was waiting and waiting, hoping my number would be called sometime before closing, a nice lady called my number and asked me to step into her office. I explained that I was here for a name and gender change, and proceeded to submit all my well-organized paper work. Much to my surprise and relief, this lady seemed amazingly fluent in the process and other transgender issues as well. I inquired about this and she revealed that someone in her office had transitioned. She said that all of her coworkers went on the “voyage” with her and that my local SS office had become “the place” for many transgender people to come to. As it turned out, this woman was certainly more than just an “ally.” To my surprise, this experience was more than positive — it was completely life affirming, supportive and what we as the transgender community desire for in all facets of our lives (normalization). I got a temporary social security card as Tawni and left for home, again elated, feeling defined and more whole.
The fifth and final day, I repeated the process, this time with Department of Motor Vehicles. Again, I had no appointment and I had to wait in line for my number to be called. Most of us hate waiting in line at the DMV. Yet at this moment in my life, I strangely felt calm, almost pleasured to be waiting there. I enjoyed the entire experience and all who were there with me on the eventful day. After what seemed like two and half hours, my number got called and I proceeded to the appropriate booth with TG-like efficiency. I told the clerk that I was here for a name and gender change. She looked at me almost happily and said, “Wow, its’ been a long time since I have done this process, I can’t wait to learn and relearn it. Thanks for showing up today!” (Was this a DMV clerk or yet another angel or delivered from the heavens to help me?). Having read the aforementioned guide offered by the Transgender Law Center, I was able to ask her the correct, pertinent questions. As we plodded through each at her amazingly slow computer, the lady finally told me, that the process was complete but in order to print out a new temporary license, I had to hand over me present one. I did so with happiness, of course, but it came with an uneasy feeling that I was finally saying goodbye to “that guy.” Then, I waited in another line for my photo and — wow — it was done. Again, I left the office full of hope, further completeness.
– – – – – – – –
In closing, these days were the culmination and realization of a huge commitment to — and affirmation of — the human being I am. I went through each step of the process with all of the expected emotions, yet it seemed as if these five days were so much less difficult than I imagined they would be, especially given all the hard work that I have done since leaving the closet just over three years ago. It was as if society and nature acknowledged the totality of all my sincere efforts and responded with positivity, support, kindness, and confirmation at each one of these gates. I can truly appreciate the profound societal change that has occurred. These days are etched in my memory as, yet again, an act of self-confidence and self-love. As Yogi Berra said “When you get to a fork in the road…TAKE IT!”