Since I haven’t written much since last week’s story broke, I wanted to share a couple of thoughts.
First of all, THANK YOU! THANK YOU! to everyone who called, texted, commented and wrote to share their support. To my friend, Ronelle Grier, who wrote an incredible article, beautifully capturing our journey, thank you. To the Detroit Jewish News for allowing the story to grace its cover, thank you.
By the way, the story appeared on July 31, and Hunter arrived home, after being at camp for six weeks, on August 1. This definitely added to the excitement of the homecoming.
On the heels of our story going public, we received an official court date to change Hunter’s name. In about a month, Olivia Lauren will forever more be known as Hunter Jordan. Once that is final, we can change his name on the social security card, the birth certificate and passport. Since he is not yet driving, we don’t have to worry about changing the license.
Now here is the “salt on the wound” piece. While changing one’s name is just some paperwork and a little money, changing one’s gender marker gets trickier. Many states require an affidavit from a qualified physician indicating that the individual has undergone sex reassignment surgery (SRS). Not every transgender person has surgery but still identifies with and presents as a gender other than what was assigned at birth.
Hunter was born in Florida and that is the law there (and Michigan, too). It doesn’t matter where you live. In order to change your birth certificate you have to abide by the state in which you were born. the good news is that to change your gender on a passport, you just need to show proof of hormone therapy and the name change. My guess is that I don’t have these facts exactly right on the passport process but when we get there I will report with 100% accuracy.
Here is a list of state-by-state guidelines from Lambda Legal for anyone who is interested.
As a side note, we recognize how very lucky we are to have so much support and to live in a community that is so accepting. There are many individuals around the globe who are not nearly as fortunate. Whether an adult is coming out and faces losing his/her children and spouse or a teen who is fearful to share his true feelings with his parents, many are struggling. My heart goes out to all of them. Each day I wish for a more tolerant global society. We would all benefit greatly.
Even worse is how many insurances, Medicare (it’s slowly being unlisted but for the most part “case-by-case” analysis isn’t allowable), and especially Medicaid (being challenged in at least 5 states tho), won’t cover trans-related surgeries and openly deny healthcare to trans people. Governor Christie (I’m a Jersey boy) vetoed a bill that would lifted the SRS requirement because it could increase chances of “fraud”.
However, some states will allow as little as chest surgery to qualify, especially trans men, because the surgeries available to us are nowhere as complete or medically safe as those required for female surgery. While insurance may cover a double mastectomy, you often will have to pay our of pocket for reconstructive parts so your chest looks “manly”.
But the name change will be easier for Hunter as he goes off to college or some other tertiary education to get his degree. And often the requirements for a drivers license or government photo ID are much less stringent than for those for birth certificates. Keep the government ID and SS card and use those as proof of citizenship, and he can remain in stealth if necessary when job hunting or doing whatever as he grows older, because far fewer states protect trans than they do GLB people.
And more of us are dissing the “sex change” label for “gender affirmation” surgery/therapy. Thought I might add that 😉
It’s great that you’re on your way with the name change. In Illinois we found changing the gender marker to be rather easy with the exception of the birth certificate. And as far as the passport goes- I’m not sure. We still have to change his birth certificate- the name at least.
You are lucky to have such a supportive community! 🙂
Besides, birth certificate, where did you change gender marker?
He changed the gender marker on his drivers license and health and auto insurance. We still have to change his social security card. I guess some laws changed since he changed his name on it.