For this particular post, I urge that time is of the essence. After the next two weeks getting these ducks in a row may be much more difficult depending where you live.
For trans-folks it is essential to get your legal identification documents completed with your name change, and gender marker change on the following documents:
- Driver’s License
- Birth Certificate
- Social Security
It varies state by state on how to do this and you can find your state here.
It took me a long time to finally get my gender-marker changed on my drivers license and social security. The reason this hit so many bumps is because the only doctor in the state where I live who treats patients like me had his nurses write the gender-marker change letter. This took about three different re-writes and caused much unnecessary stress. Depending on where you are, the DMV and SS have very specific sentences that need to be in these letters. The anxiety and stress behind all this was because it was hard to know whether or not the next person I interact with to get my drivers license and social security card gender marker changed would be accepting or neutral. I’ve heard too many horror stories from my trans friends of being humiliated at the DMV or SS office. Anyway, here is a link for information about Social Security Gender Marker Change.
I need to change my Passport and Birth Certificate. I hope to get that done before the 20th.
Legal Documents to consider for Cis LGBQ folks
For those who are Cis(not-trans) and in the LGBQ(Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Queer) alphabet there are some risks to certain rights that were gained from the previous administration that can very well be dissolved or revoked such as marriages. I’m an activist and I fully support writing letters to politicians and making phone calls and forming demonstrations and all that jazz. That is certainly part of it. However, this post(and blog for that matter) is more about how to survive in the meantime.
Off the top of my head I can think of two legal options to protect yourself and your family.
The first one is for both of you to give each other power of attorney. From the link:
“In critical situations, a hospital may only allow family members to visit a patient. If you and your partner aren’t married in the eyes of the law, will your access to your partner be restricted? Will doctors defer to the opinions and wishes of your partner’s parents?
If you are an LGBT couple or an unmarried hetero couple, you should consider creating a living will and healthcare power of attorney document naming your partner as your attorney-in-fact or healthcare proxy. This legal document helps ensure your partner can be involved in your medical treatment if you’ve been incapacitated and are unable to communicate.”
Here is another guide for legal planning for same-sex couples.
This is something I’ve been meaning to do with my significant other. I also believe that if one is Asexual or someone who is not in a committed relationship that during these times it could be vital to have one of your chosen family have your back legally. Do you want someone you trust to help you during a crisis or do you want to be turned over to the State to make those decisions? That can be pretty scary when the State does not recognize our basic human rights.
The other option that I can think of is something that many gay couples had done before for legal protection. It may sound strange but adoption is an option. I’m not talking about adopting children. I mean a partner adopting their partner. Yeah, I know, that’s odd, but honestly I find this to be a brilliant idea to use when we live in a society that opposes marriage and the same legal protections that Hetero couples have from us. It is something to consider if it comes to that. Here’s another story about it.
Anyway, I hope to get these loose ends tied up for myself. Good luck, comrades.
“Nobody’s going to save you. No one’s going to cut you down, cut the thorns thick around you. No one’s going to storm the castle walls nor kiss awake your birth, climb down your hair, nor mount you onto the white steed. There is no one who will feed the yearning. Face it. You will have to do, do it yourself.”
― Gloria E. Anzaldúa