I received some very great news yesterday!
It all started in November, the week after the 2016 Presidential Election. In a panic to get proactive about addressing my gender identity while my rights were still available, I submitted an application to The Name Change Project, a free service provided by the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund (TLDEF).
The Name Change Project is a collection of pro-bono lawyers who donate their time to helping transgender individuals in navigating the legal system and getting their name changed. Currently, they serve qualified transgender persons living in select major cities in the north-eastern quarter of the United States. I found out about this service through a local LGBTQIA support group, Garden of Peace Project.
Anyway, a few weeks later, I received a phone call from a TLDEF representative. I had kept my expectations low and actually wasn’t expecting to receive any response to my application. Heck, I actually forgot I had filled out that form. The representative arranged to speak to me in more detail and we spoke again on December 15th. They took down all of my important information, including my desired name, current legal name, annual income, etc. I was also emailed a contract agreeing to their services, which I promptly signed, scanned, and emailed back. I was put on a list, and told that when the time comes a lawyer will contact me to start the name changing process.
Fast forward to March 3rd. Again, I didn’t have my hopes up. Over two months had gone by since I last made contact with TLDEF. I figured their lawyers were too busy to take my case, I dropped off their waiting list, or it was all a sham after all. Suddenly, during my weekly therapy session, I received a phone call. I almost didn’t hear my cellphone ring because it was in my back jeans pocket and I was talking to my therapist. I usually have it on Airplane Mode during therapy, but had forgotten. I considered ignoring the call, but when I noticed that it was a local number that I was not familiar with, answered, and I am so happy that I did!
The call was from a local lawyer who has taken my case. She asked about my window of availability so that she could discuss it with her partner, then called back later in the day to confirm a date. I was told to bring a fingerprint card and $155 in cash for the filing fee. I’ll be meeting with them downtown on March 24. I also have an eye exam scheduled that morning, so it’s going to be a busy day!
This is finally happening, guys! I am getting close, so close. Soon I will no longer be ashamed to give my name when asked. Soon my name will be 12 letters shorter. Soon my name will match my gender. I can’t wait!