Yup it's official, my new name is Dana Anne. Hard to believe. Really, it seems like just yesterday my name was Rick and now it's Dana!
The day started at the court house at 8:30. Turns out the court proceedings were the easiest part of the day. All I had to do was wait in line and say 'Yes' when asked if everything I submitted 6 weeks ago is true and accurate. Next thing I know I have 5 certified copies of a piece of paper telling the world my new name.
Then it was off to the Social Security Admin office. You can't do anything in this new post 9/11 era with your name unless it matches your SS record. So they were the first to know. Everyone told me to get there early and be prepared to wait a while. Turns out, once again, everyone was wrong and there were only two people in front of me and it only took a few minutes to get to the front. I got the nice lady and told her I'm here to change my name and gave her my paperwork with the nice raised seal. Then, a few keystrokes later the U.S. government knows me as Dana.
Next it was my local DMV office. Now that line was out of control. Turns out I got there right at 12:00 and everyone else in my county was there on their lunch break. So I decided to head to city hall and get a new passport. The paperwork I had only allowed me to change my name but not my gender at the SSA office. But I got a nice hand signed letter from my doctor telling everyone who cares, I now live life as Dana and should be treated as a female. The court ordered name change and the letter from my doctor was all I needed to change my passport to "Dana Anne, F". How cool is that! A valid US government issued id with an 'F' on it.
The passport lady was so cool about it all. I came up to the counter and said I'm here to change my name on my passport, I have a court order with my new name and a letter from my doctor. I'm still not sure what went through her mind as I'm telling her I have a letter from my doctor, but I quickly let her know I needed to change my name and the gender on my passport. She looks at me and says 'Oh my God, you're the first one I've ever done'. And with that she had no idea what to do. So I had to wait while she called the regional office to figure out how to handle the situation. But it turns out to be easy and off we went to get my picture taken and finish all of the paperwork. She was very excited through the whole process and made me feel like the queen of her day. Picture taken, forms filled in correctly, documentation submitted, and all that was left was to sign my name on the bottom line. Turns out they want Dana's signature, damn, never thought of that. I need a new signature. So right there I sign my new name for the first time on my passport application. She laughs and asks how times have you signed your new name, I lie and say twice.
With the passport done it was back to the DMV for my drivers license. The line was still a mile long but by now there was nothing else to do but wait it out. After waiting forever my number was finally called and up I went to talk to the friendly DMV agent. Hand her all my paper work and let her know I'd like to change my name and gender on my license. She smiles a little and says 'Wait right there honey, it's been a long time since I've done one of these' and wait I do. A few minutes later she returns with a binder about 12 inches thick and starts to read it page by page. I'm thinking this is going to take a year just to read this book. But she flips around a little and opens up a flow chart looking thing and there's the whole procedure on how to change the gender on a drivers license. Couple of clicks and a picture later she hands me a piece of paper and says your all set your license will be in the mail in 4 to 6 weeks.
On my way out I look down at the piece of paper and it says:
INTERIM DRIVER LICENSE
HT: 5-11 WT:170 HAIR:BRN EYES:BLU SEX:F
I've waited my whole life for two lines on a small piece of paper. Two lines and my life starts over again but this time as the person that 4 year girl thought she was 40 some odd years ago.