My Transition Diary


December 11
Today I changed my sex with Social Security! I changed my name with Social Security nearly ten years ago, and it's been nearly six years since I had top surgery, but I never bothered changing my sex with Social Security because the office was a schlep to get to, and it hadn't interfered with anything employment-wise; I wasn't bothered about being listed as female on work records, and as long as the work records match Social Security's info, you can get paid. Recently, though, I found out that there was another Social Security office very near my house, so I figured I might as well get this done. I dug out my surgeon's letter from Dr. Brownstein - last used to get my passport a couple of years ago, and very nicely returned to me by the passport people - and went along to the office.

The office was nearly empty, as most people are at work in the middle of the day. I took a number and waited, and finally the only other person there finished his business and left. The nice lady called my number and I went up to the window and said I needed to change my sex on my records.

This poor nice lady did not know what to do with me. She looked completely weirded out from the moment I said what I needed right up until I left. She was, however, entirely professional in how she treated me, and I really have no complaints. When I told her what I needed, she looked at me for a minute and then asked, "Did you have a sex-change operation?" I was proud of myself for not launching straight into Trans 101, which I nearly did just by reflex; I managed to catch myself and just told her yes. She responded, "Oh! I didn't know if you meant we got it wrong." Well, in a matter of speaking, they did, but I wasn't going to go there. Her head was seconds from exploding as it was.

I gave her my driver's license and my surgeon's letter, which she took a little time looking over, still looking completely weirded out. Something had clearly short-circuited in her brain, making it hard for her to read and process what is a pretty simple letter. She took so long with it that I piped up with "My understanding is that the surgeon's letter is all that's required to change the records", to which she replied "Oh yes ... I mean, I assume so, I just need to read it" or something to that effect. She did also say, "It's a pretty unusual request!" and I smiled and agreed that it must be. Finally she worked out that Dr. Brownstein was my surgeon, and that the name at the bottom was just the person who had notarized it.

She then asked me a bunch of questions to fill in the form on her computer screen - my Social Security number (of course), birth name, current name, parents' birth names, whether I'd been born in the US, race (complete with long schpiel about my not being obligated to disclose my race and why they ask - wouldn't it be nice if they did that for sex too?), and maybe another question or two that I can't remember now. Totally not a problem. She filled everything in, printed it out, and asked me to check that the information there was all correct, which it was. Then something else printed out, which she went to retrieve, and she said that apparently it had decided to send me a new Social Security card even though I said I didn't need one and she thought she'd told it not to send one. She said there were restrictions on how many you could get in a year and how many you could get in a lifetime, and I said I only had the one currently, so she said that was completely fine. She was still looking weirded out at this point, but she said I was all set, so I smiled and thanked her and left.

I think I gave her a great story to tell her family if she goes visiting for Christmas or anything. I wonder if she gossiped to anyone else who was back there as soon as I left. "You will not believe the request I just got ..." I was highly amused by the whole thing.

It's a relief to have that done, even though it wasn't urgent or anything. Transition at this point, in terms of nuts and bolts, is just about tying up loose ends, really. I still have a hysto on my to-do list, but that's more or less it for big stuff!


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