Long ago, in 1969 I was assigned male at birth. That was well before the Homosexual Law Reform Bill passed here in New Zealand during 1986; which amongst other things, legalised the Gender and Orientation status of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexuality and of course Transgender Humans ( Commonly known as LGBT). Since the age of 3 years old, I have known that I was meant to be female. At age 36, I started to live full time as female as I could. At first, when visiting my family in my birth town as I call it, I would have to go into stealth mode. My family had taken quite a while to adapt to my orientation to being gay, and my confidence was not yet ready for the barrage of questions that I knew would follow with coming out again, this time as a transgender female.
As my confidence grew, my brother whom I have the most contact with online via Facebook, became more than aware of how I was changing, especially as I started posting photos of how I identify. My brother is quite accepting of me being me. Other members of the family had issues with it, especially one Christmas day when I needed to dress as me for Christmas dinner and was promptly told, dress male or no dinner. Without dwelling too much on it, I put a male layer over what I had planned to wear and tolerated dinner, after which, I packed and relocated to my brothers house for the rest of that trip.
As time went on by, I knew that female me was who I was more and more. Along the way I began test driving new names, so as to have a name that I felt was a good fit. I started some private research into Hormone Replacement Therapy and talked to my doctor about what the requirements were to get into the official treatment for Gender Dysphoria. It Boils down to a few factors, a risk assessment, a shrinks report followed by appointments at the specialist department of the Hospital.
So I jumped though those hoops with relative ease. That was 2 years and several months ago. The next step, after encountering Transphobia from some would be employers was filing legal name and gender change forms at the Family Court, where such matters are processed.
My Official date of filing is sometime during January 2016.
In my application, I sighted a number of factors, including that I knew I was misgendered at birth at age 3. The family Court here requires a number of documents including medical records, and formal statements from attending doctors and or surgeons connected to my medical transition. The gathering of “The Red Tape” as I call it was mostly handled by my court appointed lawyer. From time to time, registrar reviews are carried out which make sure that the T’s are crossed and the I’s dotted before an actual court date. A report was filed on my behalf by my lawyer. Along the way I also sent the odd email with some of my thoughts, opinions and research to the court registrar. My research turned up some interesting points, including what the official Olympic standard is for being considered female as far as taking part in the games are concerned. For Transmen, there are few if any restrictions, For transwomen, their testosterone level must be bellow a certain level, and they must have been on Hormone Replacement Therapy for at least 1 year. In my submission to the registrar, I pointed out that I met the Olympic Criteria and said something along the lines of, “Surely what is good enough for our sports heroes and teams is good enough for me”. Four months later, on May 26, I was declared legally female by the Family Court Judge. It was there that I learned that the Judge did not have the authority to rubber stamp my Identifying name Later that afternoon, I went to the Department of Internal affairs, Births Deaths and Marriages Department, and filed my name change and of course the first of many fees was paid and forms filled in. What to me should have taken less than an hour to fill in a form, pay the form fee and order the new birth certificate printing fee. Oddly I had to prove that I was my original birth name. Even stranger, they asked me If I had any photo id in my new name before they had given me my new birth certificate. I was polite about that, saying they were asking for chicken before the egg was hatched! How did they expect me to get id with my new name on it before I had my new birth certificate?! Aside from my Auto Club Membership Card, My Community Services Card and few letters of thanks from charities that I had helped fund raise for, I had no solid proof of being my Identifying name. None of the afore mentioned cards have photos on them. As The calendar rolled around and Births Deaths and Marriages did what ever it is they do in the background. So I was me but not on paper nor anywhere else, except for my doctors office and chemist. Some store loyalty cards agreed to provide me with a new club card without seeing my new birth certificate, while things like drivers license, bank and credit cards companies required to see my new birth certificate.
On July 4, Independence day in USA, my new birth certificate was printed. A few days later it arrived in the mail. At last I was able to change all the other legal bits of paper from old name and pronoun to new. My drivers license required a fee, as did one credit card company. My main bank happy replaced my credit card for free and it has my Identifying name on it, Ms V R., matching my auto club card. My Insurance was changed over to my new name, surprisingly no change in premium. They did however say, that might change when my policy is due for renewal.
So, my advise is, if you are about to make these types of changes yourself, know this, Rome wasn’t built in a day and yes those months between filing the first lot of paper work and getting the end result are perhaps the longest days of your life, but they are worth waiting for. Be sure about what name and gender status you wish to apply to legally change. I test drove the name Vicki for over a year and a half before filing for change of Gender and change of name. In an ideal world, I would have gotten rid of my birth assigned name completely, but was reluctant to then have to get all of my qualifications and references rewritten/ reprinted in my new name. So I saved a few trees and an unknown amount in reprinting fees.
By doing the legal name and gender change, I have eliminated as much Dysphoria from my life as I can. Some people still address me as my original birth name and pronouns ( known as dead naming in Transgender circles). My new birth certificate means I am legally “Cisgender” in part at least, if you define Cisgender as agreeing with the gender on your birth certificate. I have not forgotten what it was like to be Transgender, officially or otherwise and I wish all of my extended family Transgender members happiness in being themselves in all aspects of their lives and on paper.
Poem When did you know?
1)When did you know who you were?
2)At what age did you realise that you are your gender?
3)How long have you lived as your identifying gender?
4)Is that why you wear what you do?
5)Are you in drag or is that how you live?
6) Are you on Hormone replacement therapy(HRT)?, if yes how long for?
7) Do you plan on any Gender affirming surgery?
8) Do these questions annoy or bother you?
Any of these sound familiar to you?
I know I have been asked these questions many times by lots of people along the path of my transition.
So here are my answers:
1) age 3 or younger.
2) age 3
3) 10-11 years full time, when I could before that.
4) Yes, I dress to be me
5) This is how I live, I dress to be comfortable and to be me, minimising the effects of Gender and body dysphoria by assesserising what I wear with Jewellery and painted nails amongst other techniques
6) yes, in my second year of HRT
7) Not at this point in time, but might consider it, if it is offered. At the moment I am quiet happy with the HRT Results to date.
8) Sometimes, mostly because it is mostly none of anyone’s business unless I opt to share it, without feeling under a verbal microscope, Especially for question 7.
So now you know these things about me,
has this changed your opinion of me?
Does it make me more or less valid?
Do all genders get asked these questions of them?
Feel free to comment your own answers to the above if you so choose
Remember this, regardless of your answers,
You are Loved and Valid