Part of top surgery for me has meant the ability to change the gender marker on my driver’s license. As evidenced by the URL of this blog, I live in Tennessee. In my state there is not a written law on the books about how to change your gender marker, but it is anecdotally understood that if you have a form of sexual reassignment surgery (SRS), you can change your gender marker. The type of SRS is also not specified which is why so many transsexual people (particularly trans women) in my state can run into issues when trying to complete this important milestone in transition. Below, I will recount what happened to me when I tried to change my gender marker in the hopes that it will help another trans man down the line.
I went to my local DMV with my surgery letter from Dr. Garramone stating that he had performed SRS on me and that my “transition was now complete and I should be recognized as male”, or language similar to that. I apparently had the pleasure of getting the one woman there that not only was not going to do her job, but also make a fuss and passive aggressively state her personal opinions regarding the federal government and changing one’s gender marker. The regular supervisor happened to be on vacation that week and the interim supervisor apparently also did not know how to do their job. I was turned away and told to come back the following week when the regular supervisor would be back from vacation. I don’t think I need to go into how frustrated and angry I was at this treatment.
So, at great inconvenience to me, I went back the next week with the same letter. By some universal joke, I got to deal with the same lady as before. I asked to speak to her supervisor and presented my letter and forms again. She took it back to him and after a few minutes returned with another employee of the DMV. It was this new employee who handed me my number and got everything rolling. She was very professional and nice. I also overheard her saying to the other difficult DMV employee, “See, I told you so. And you made him come all the way back down here.”
When my number was finally called, the next employee I dealt with was very nice, calm and professional. She gave me a comment card and I gave her outstanding remarks. Then, I let the DMV have it about my previous experience. Will it do any good? Who knows, but I feel that it’s important to let people know when things haven’t been done correctly or professionally. I left that day with my gender marker changed and all is well!
The bottom line is this: Don’t take “no” for an answer, know your rights and stand up for yourself.