No, seriously…I need a witness. Two, actually.
The legal procedure for legally changing one’s name involves filing a motion in county court, submitting to two background checks and paying $320. When this is complete, one appears in court for a five minute hearing with two adult witness willing to swear that they know the petitioning party, and, to the best of their understanding, no shenanigans are in progress. A court order is then issued (at $16 per copy) making it as legal as driving with an open container of booze in Mississippi.
Once this is complete, the real fun begins, including but not limited to:
- Requesting an amended birth certificate (this is where gender legally changes) from the State of California, which is unsurprisingly rather good at this whole business
- Obtaining a new passport and social security card
- Appealing to the Board of Medical Practice for maintenance of licensure under the new name
- Changing my name and gender on every legal and financial document I have
On the plus side, I’ll probably throw a few thousand spammers and direct mail marketers off my trail for a couple of weeks. With any luck, I won’t shake off my retirement funds in the process. It’s a dizzying bit of bureaucracy, even for someone who doesn’t think that the government is particularly oversized other than one five sided building. Incidentally, for those curious why I did not opt to spell my name “Renée”, it is largely because the Social Security Administration does not recognize accents and diacritical marks. Who knew?*
So, I need witnesses, specifically on Thursday, August 21 at 9:00 AM in the Scott County Courthouse. Alas, this historical privilege is available to only a select few. Please form a queue behind the yellow line, and, as always, mind the gap. Or, better yet, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
* Other than Jørg Jürgenson and Bernabé Muñoz