One of these days, I'm going to meet God. I intend to kick Him in the nuts, if he has them. Or tits, if She doesn't. Or ass, if Zie lacks those as well. Maybe all of them.
I am now two years post-operative. I have been living as a woman full-time for over three years. I have a passport and drivers' license that both identify me as female. I haven't received mail, electronic or otherwise, addressed to my old identity in nearly a year. My past life should at this point well and truly be behind me.
However, when applying for a marriage license in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, the clerk of the court is required to ask for parents' full names as part of the process. I dutifully supplied both of my parents' full names without question. My father's last name is Hughes. My mother's maiden name is Blysard.
My last name, of course, is Davis.
The clerk looked me strangely for a moment, then asked me for proof of my change of name. I blinked, blinked again and asked why she needed it. She said that normally she wouldn't but because my name didn't match either of my parents', that she had to have proof of continuity of lineage. I said I could probably find that paperwork, did so and returned to the office.
She looked at that paperwork and asked me for proof of my sex change. My drivers' license obviously wasn't good enough. Neither was my passport. I eventually had to find the letter from my surgeon saying that I had indeed been through the sex-change operation and that I was now a functional female in every regard. I promptly faxed this document to the clerk's office and called to confirm they had received it, whereupon they notified me that I would have to call back in a few days after the friend-of-the-court lawyer that reviewed all their strange cases had looked over my documents.
I waited the requisite two days, then called back to confirm earlier today to ask if they had finally gottem my license ready. The clerk's supervisor then informed me that I would need to submit an amended birth certificate
and that the letter from my surgeon wasn't sufficient as it wasn't from a recognized United States agency.
Santa Clara County, California—the county in which I was born—does not list sex on their amendments. All they amend is name.
I explained this no less than four times to the supervisor. Every time, all she said was, "Then I can't issue you a marriage license." She even managed to say it four different ways, I think. I was so livid at the moment that I didn't hear her too clearly.
"Livid" does not begin to describe my mood. Every person in the legal system along the way has openly admitted that had I not changed my last name, none of this would have ever happened. They would never have asked
and thus never have known that my name had been different. If I had, in fact, changed my last name to my mother's maiden name, they would have simply assumed that my mother had later remarried and never thought twice about it. However, since I did change my name, they inquired and thus found out about everything else that they claim is sufficient grounds to deny me a marriage license.
The state of Pennsylvania recognizes me as female on my drivers' license. The Social Security Administration recognizes me as female in their paperwork. The Passport Authority recognizes me as female on my travel papers. However, because the county of Santa Clara does not list sex on their birth certificate amendments, the county of Montgomery claims the right to deny me the right to marry.
Now, of course, the thing I want to do is call them back and ask them if I can marry a woman. The supreme irony of being the groom at my wedding might offend, shock or otherwise horrify people, but at this point the people at the Montgomery County Courthouse have ruled that I'm not a chick, and in their two-sex world, that makes me a guy for the purposes of gettin' hitched.
What I'm probably going to do is find the closest county to Montgomery that doesn't ask all these stupid questions and doesn't have a residency requirement, then go there and get the marriage license and ceremony performed over some weekend in the near future. Barring that, I'm calling Santa Clara County and asking the clerk there if the amendment on my birth certificate can be... well... amended.
I am angry beyond words, and yet I feel strangely as if I have been given exactly what I should've expected. I allowed myself to hope that the people who could have made this happen would be better than they were, and I have paid dearly for my assumptions.