I finally did it! I started the process for legally changing my name.
The filing itself was underwhelming. There was no more drama in it than there would be in filing any government form — stodgy old building, bored and indifferent clerk, some typing and printing and stamping and signing and paying a $150 fee. That fee gets my application in the pipeline for a court date, but I don’t get a court date until I’ve gotten fingerprinted, sent those off to the State Police for a criminal background check, gotten the results back, and then posted the name change in … something, a newspaper maybe? Do people still read those? Anyway, I’ll likely get in front of a judge in two months.
It will probably feel like two years.
Of all the can’t-turn-back steps I’ve taken, this one is the can’t-turn-backiest. Your legal name is … well, your legal name. It’s a chore to change it, and it would be a chore to change it back again. It will be the name I file taxes under, the name I get paid under, and the name write checks with. It will become my name on file with the Social Security Administration, and it will become the name on my official Birth Certificate (yes, they re-issue). This is a big deal, and I can’t believe I’m at this point.
Sadly I am petitioning to change my name but not my gender. Michigan still has a burdensome and expensive surgical requirement in place for gender marker switching, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.
Still, I am feeling good today. There’s still bureaucratic hoops to jump through before it happens, but they’re minor obstacles. This is me, finally me. Part of me can’t believe I’m bere. The rest of me feels like dancing.