I swear, there are people who live their entire lives on automatic.

Yesterday morning, I went back to the courthouse and had my gender legally changed. I found out last Wednesday that the judge I had had before, the one who had seemed so nice and polite and concerned, was the one who refuses to sign anyone's gender-change. Going back, all I had to do was get a different judge and it was a matter of five minutes and a few strokes of a pen.

I'm now legally female. It's still a bit mindboggling, both in that it's true and that I had to get a piece of paper to prove it. It seems like such a pointless formality, and yet now I can show off my driver's license to anyone without worrying that they'll notice that little detail. It's comforting that there's nothing left to get in my way beyond the details of surgery and such.

I took my new court papers, ink still wet, with me to the Department of Public Safety to get my driver's license fixed. After standing in line for about an hour, I got to the counter and told the clerk that I needed to have my details updated.

She said, "Oh, did you move?"

I said, "No, I had my gender legally changed."

The woman behind the counter looked at me, looked at the court order, looked back at me, looked at my old driver's license and then looked at the court order again. She got up, picked up my driver's license and court order, and went over to talk to someone. Then she talked with someone else. Then she talked with a third person. I couldn't hear what she was saying, but the gist was obviously along the lines of "what do I do with this" with a smattering of "is this legal" for variety. Everyone with whom she spoke apparently told her the same thing, which she didn't want to hear, because she kept on asking. Finally, after her fourth person, she came back to the counter and started making the changes in the computer.

The actual process, once she started, took less than five minutes, picture and all, though she did insist on three pictures so she could get the worst of the bunch. I think, though, that this is common for drivers' licenses. Anyway, after all was said and done, I paid my ten dollars for the new license. Then, as I was picking up my paperwork, guess what she said to me?

"Have a nice day, sir."

I stared at her in dumbfounded shock. She asked five people in the course of this whole escapade what to do. She had five people tell her to change my driver's license. The court order said "female" on it, and the only thing that had any indication of masculinity at all was the M on my old license and in the computer which was changed. I have breasts sticking out of my sweater, for crying out loud. Yet, despite all of this, what does she say?

"Have a nice day, sir."

I can only imagine that she was running on autopilot. I quite literally stood there in front of her for five seconds, shocked. The whole time, she stared back at me placidly, totally unaware of what she had said. When I finally came to my senses and corrected her, she did apologize, but the fact that it happened at all stunned me.

Are most people this clueless? If so, this would explain why I keep getting mistaken. I seem to find three types of people. The first see exactly what's happening and call me "ma'am". The third see absolutely nothing beyond what's presented, and they also call me "ma'am" It's the group in the middle, the ones who see enough to know what I was but not enough to figure out what I am, that keep getting it wrong.

I hope this third group is not as large as it appears to be.

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