8.12.2010

Me and my 'M"

Well today I had to surrender my provincial drivers licence in order to register and insure my car in the territories. I can't say I was too happy about that but since the rules governing insurance can't be the same in every province/territory I had to suck it up and switch. Not all is bad, I will save on insurance which is good and getting the licence was actually pretty simple, show your ID, surrender you old licence get a temporary licence until your new one arrives in the mail....approx wait time 60 days. I know, by dogsled in the summer.

I was really worried about switching over that I would negate my residency in my province but until that actually becomes and issue I will just keep paying them my health care premiums, fees, and income tax. I even tried lying about losing my drivers licence but there is always someone who has already tried that and they have policies etc...Needless to say I was in a hurry since I will be without any insurance come Tuesday.

I gathered up all the ID I could think of that I might possibly need: my passport, my birth certificate, my official change of name certificate, a pay stub, a bank statement, the carry letter from my psychiatrist, and my drivers licence hidden in my back pocket. I went to work half an hour early left a note for my supervisor and walked to the DMV so I could be the first person in line. When they opened the doors I walked into the first little booth and met a lovely woman who convinced me to surrender my licence and just get it over with. she said it wouldn't affect my residency, after all it was just a licence and it was really more important who took your money at the end of the year.

While filling out the application for drivers licence, I noticed a small box that said: change of name, change of gender and I thought to myself, what the hell let's give it a try my mom's advice ringing in my head...You'll never know unless you ask. So I asked. I asked if along with the letter from my doctor I had enough ID there to change the gender marker on my drivers licence. She looked over all the documentation, read the application form and then asked her supervisor who decided, yes. Yes I did have enough ID and yes I could absolutely have the M for male appear on my new drivers licence. So today I officially became a boy. According to the government of this territory I am now Marcus with an M not Marcus with an F.

As I walked back to work I had a hard time not skipping...seriously...I was so happy to finally have a piece of ID that doesn't make people look two or three times only to say something like: uh that's a girl's name... I will no longer have to explain why I have a girl's name on my ID unless someone needs to know my middle name which is unlikely since with most ID except your birth certificate and DL, you can get away with a middle initial. So I am now one step closer to having a coherent identity. I no longer have to be anxious about my driver's licence contradicting my gender presentation.

Interestingly, it makes me wonder why there aren't more boxes to choose from when it comes to representing your gender identity on forms. Why is it we can only choose M or F. Are they asking us for our biological sex? and if so then shouldn't the question ask that? When they ask you for your gender it may differ from your sex so are you a liar for not choosing the right box? Sex: M or F? Gender: Masculine, Feminine, Queer, Other? And moreover, what about the salutation? I am not Dr. Mrs. Mr. Ms. or Miss. and why is it that only the ladies have to reveal their marital status with a salutation? Dr. is the only one that is gender neutral but more often than not people will assume you are male....sad but true. Why can't these also be more user friendly? If the form can't request you disclose your gender then requiring you to choose a prefix gives them the next best thing, in case the computer or call-centre guy in India can't decide on your gender by your name. And why the hell are they mandatory? It's impossible to fill out an online form when you can't move forward until you pick one. Pick one, but just one. Because it's black or white, there is no middle. How can a company expect to  tailor their service sales pitch (or more likely tailor their fees) to you if they don't know your gender?

So now that I am in possession of my first M I intend to change my passport and other identification except my birth certificate. I will leave my birth certificate F as a record of what once was. I am not ashamed of who I am or who I was and although I will be a lucky enough person to experience both ends of the spectrum from now on I am not going to play nice when it comes to filling in boxes: Sex? yes please. Gender? I'll check all the boxes. As for the Mr. Mrs. Ms.? Yep you guessed it...Doctor it is! Doctor of what you say? Well that's another post entirely isn't it!

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