A Texas Butterfly

A Texas Butterfly

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A New (Legal) Name

I knew the week was going to be a good one. It had literally been years since the thought first entered my mind. What name could I come up with for my new life? Who or what would influence my decision? Would it fit me? How many times would I change my mind and try on another name for size. I have been Lindsay for so long, I had to stop and think what it was that drove me to decide on the name. So, what was it? I don’t know! Honestly, there were no movie or television stars during my High School and College days when I chose the name that caught my attention, or that I lusted over. There were no stand out entertainers named Lindsay. It was just a name that I thought was pretty, as I wished I was. It seemed to flow from the tongue. And it was totally different from my male name, which was a huge plus. I didn’t want a take-off of my male name, I wanted something new for the new me. I’m not knocking any of you that have chosen cute little twists of your birth names. They can be very appropriate for some of us starting a new life. And, don’t get me wrong. It’s not that I want to cut all ties to my past life. I have had some wonderful experiences up to now, that I don’t want to forget, including the marriage to my wife and the birth of our daughter. I still love my wife and our daughter is still Daddy’s little girl. But, I am starting a new life, the key word being “new”. So, “Lindsay” gets the call for my new name.

Lindsay was the first name that I seriously considered. Strangely enough, I didn't change or try out other names as my first name. Lindsay seemed to fit me so well. My middle name however, was a different matter. I didn't really think seriously about a middle name until about two years ago when I decided to transition. I thought about how different names would sound together and how they would flow. I tried 'Ellen' and 'Elaine' both which I liked very much. In the end I took the path of an acquaintance of mine. She had taken variations of the names of her children as her names. I thought that would be a way to honor my daughter. So when I came out to my daughter early in 2011, and she was OK with my transition, I asked her if I could take her middle name as my middle name. She thought that was cool, and gave me her blessing. Thus, Lindsay Nicole was to be my name.

It was the day after Memorial Day 2011. I had to be at the District Clerks Office at 8am. It didn’t help that I didn’t get much sleep the night before trying to decide which of three outfits I would wear. I ended up wearing a simple black skirt, with a semi-sheer black and white print blouse and a black cami underneath with simple 2 inch black heels. I was determined I was not going to be late on this most important day. I arrived at the court house with 45 minutes to spare, no small feat for me. Getting through security was a breeze since my outfit was simple and I wore minimal jewelry. I was proud of myself for planning my outfit with security in mind, and getting there in plenty of time. I was smiling as I rode the elevator to the 5th floor and stepped out to, … a locked clerk’s office door and about ten other people waiting in the corridor. There were two benches against one wall and those were occupied so I stood nearby trying to look casual. Other people drifted in after me. After about 15 minutes of standing, a nice gentleman who was seated on one of the benches and had been talking to a female I took to be his wife, stood up and apologized for being rude, and offered me his seat. I graciously thanked him and took the proffered seat. I and about 15 others had to wait another 20 minutes for the clerk’s office to open. After the office opened we took turns checking in with the clerk then waited to go to the court room all together. It seemed that most of the other 15 or so people waiting were in the same court as I was. At around 8:30am the clerk took us up to the court room.

I had no idea what to expect from the Judge. I didn’t even know if the Judge would be a man or a woman. I was hoping to get a female Judge feeling that a woman would be more sympathetic to my cause. I don’t know if that is the case, but it is what I thought at the time. We found out from the Bailiff that one of the other Judges had taken that Tuesday off to extend his Memorial Day weekend, dumping cases that Judge would have heard onto the Judge hearing our cases. Our Judge was none too happy about the extra work load and the fact that the absent Judge had not cleared it with our Judge. I was afraid that might put our, my, Judge in a bad mood which might affect his decision on my case.

The Judge heard all the cases from the other court before starting on the cases in his court. Yes, I had drawn a male Judge. How wonderful. He took six cases before me and I could hear some of the conversations in front of him. If the Judge wasn’t in a bad mood from having to take on another court’s cases, he was at least brusk, to the point, and all business. He denied one woman’s petition because she didn’t have her paper work filled out properly.

Finally it was my turn. I was hoping that the Bailiff would only call my last name because my male name was on my petition. No such luck. He called both my first and last names and I got a few quizzical looks when a woman walked up to the bench after a man had been called. Again being all business the Judge asked me why I wanted to change my name. I explained to him that I was a male to female transsexual in the middle of transition. That was good enough for him and no other questions were asked. He was about to grant the petition and close the case when I interrupted him and asked about the gender marker change. He was unaware that I had asked for a gender marker change and had not even seen the letter from my doctor that I had submitted with the petition in support of the gender marker change. I advised him I had another original, (yes, I had obtained two originals for just this event) and started to pull it from my notebook. He stopped me and told me it did not make any difference because he did not have the authority to change a gender marker. I started to ask, “If you don’t have the authority as a District Judge, who does?” I decided that would get me no where and remained silent. If he thought he didn’t have the authority to change a gender marker, my arguing with him was not going to change his mind.

I had to wait for the rest of ‘our group’ to finish and the clerk came and took us back to her office to finish the paper work. The clerk was really sweet and gave me more certified copies of the court order than I had requested and didn’t charge me for any of them. She wished me luck and I was out before 11am.

It was bitter sweet for me as I was really hoping for the gender marker change, also. But, the feeling of finally being Lindsay legally is so wonderful. I was so pumped up and still am even now.

1 comment:

Suzi said...

Gulp!...I still need to change your listing in my cell phone to "Lindsay" instead of that OTHER name...lol. Hugs,Suzi