This is one of those posts, where I run off the rails and talk about personal stuff. But then again, the reason I’m back in Indiana is wholly personal, and I’ve not hidden that fact. Anymore, the only reason I am in Indiana is for personal reasons, but that’s another story.
Yesterday was Name Change Day.
First off, don’t believe I’m ripping off Caitlyn Jenner with this title. Mine comes from the title used for the serialization of Roger Zelazny’s Hugo Award-winning novel, This Immortal, proving I’m far cooler and geekier. I’ve always liked the title …And Call Me Conrad better than the one the book was given in final publication, and so did Zelazny when he was alive, so I’m in good company. And I am cool and geeky, so it fits me perfectly.
Anyway . . . it was my time in court, and the first time I’ve stood inside one since my old traffic court days when I used to drive a little too fast and crazy. But I was up early, getting stoked on music and a few well wishes from others who were aware of the day. I dressed pretty much the way I normally dress for work, right down to bringing out a pair of nice pumps for the date.
You can see the folder with all my paperwork sticking out of my purse, which meant I was ready for action. And when you’re that ready, the only thing to do is get it in gear and head out for your appointment with destiny.
Court was not like I expected, but then I had no idea what to expect. I do feel something was up because when I walked into the judge’s office to tell them I was there, the woman at the front desk turned and yelled to the judge’s bailiff, “The name change is here!” That was the first thing that made me wonder if it was standard practice to do things like that around the main courthouse of Porter County, Indiana . . .
I handed over my paper from the paper where the ad announcing my change was place and my birth certificate and went to wait outside. A few minute later someone from the office came out and returned my birth certificate and gave me the lowdown on protocol: my hearing was at ten-thirty, but they had to wait for fifteen minutes to see if anyone showed to object to the change–yes, this is something that is legal and can happen.
It was during that time that all the shackled prisoners who were in the criminal court next to me were led out of morning court for their transportation back to the local lockup, and I do which I could have snapped a picture, but cameras aren’t allowed inside the courthouse. Orange jumpsuits and Crocs–yeah, not for me, thanks. I couldn’t be seen dead in Crocs, for one thing . . .
At ten forty-five the bailiff called me into court where I was the only person. I was given the rundown: the judge would come in, ask me questions, ask for documentation, and that would then be that. I was like, “Oh, cool,” and tried to settle down because I’ve been nervous as hell for a while waiting for this moment.
I had the full treatment: a judge–not the one I’d requested, but another one who was filling in pro tem–the bailiff who’d been so helpful to me, a court reporter, and two court deputies. I mean, this was really a big deal for me. I was asked everything on the forms I filled out–are you trying to deceive creditors, are you a registered sex offender, are you currently incarcerated, which, by the way, had most of the people in court laughing as it was evident I wasn’t–and I was asked to present my passport and licence to the judge for examination, which one of the court deputies was happy to do for me–after all, I wasn’t supposed to get out of my chair.
And there was the one question I knew I was going to have to answer in open court, “What is the purpose for this name change?” The answer was and is simple: “I’m a transgender woman and I’m changing my name to allow me to conduct business legally as myself.” Right? I mean, there are other reasons, but you need your name if you’re gonna do business in this country.
After that question court was over: I was told to wait outside as my change was processed and they’d be returned to me shortly. I was outside the courtroom for about three minutes before I heard, “Okay, Cassidy–” Yeah, that was nice. It was also over. I headed out to my car and decided to send a message to one of my friends back near The Burg to let them know the change was done, and to tell her to let all the people in my crocheting group who’d wished me well that day that I was out of court.
As you can see, court lasted less than thirty minutes, and most of that time was spent waiting for someone to show up and say I was doing something wrong. After court I went to the Social Security office and filed to change my card (that took thirty minutes), then had lunch and returned to court to amend my birthday certificate, a process that took about fifteen minutes of filling out papers.
What remains today is to head over to the BMV in about two hours and apply for a new license. New name, new picture, and a new gender marker. That last I may need to argue a little on, but I’ll get it. Once that’s done it’s a trip to the bank to get my name changed on accounts, and then I’m finished with Indiana business; I can head back to Harrisburg tomorrow, which I’m going to do anyway.
I’d considered a lot of different things to say on this day, but when it came right down to it, there wasn’t any point in reflecting on my past self–who I don’t even recognize anymore, even when I look at old pictures–there’s just staying on the path to the future. This isn’t the end of my transition: oh, there’s plenty more to do.
But from here on out I do everything as me. Myself. I.
Cassidy’s the name, and I’m finally here to stay.