Changes, changes

I’ve been thinking about all the changes in my life over the past 19 years. First, and most obvious, is the change from “him” to Cat. As a sidenote to that, I was the other woman in my own divorce.

Changing my name was a bit of an adventure as well. First, I had to decide upon a name. Some people choose to go with a feminised version of their male name. That didn’t appeal to me. Being left with having to choose a new name, I remembered my mother telling me that had I been born female, she was going to call me “Catharine”, so I decided to go with that. The city in which I lived had, as an acquaintance observed, had a “high redneck quotient”. Keeping in mind my sons were all in school I decided to change my surname as well, just to offer them some degree of separation from me. One more change I’m thinking of making is to reclaim my original surname. It’s been twenty years and the boys have moved away from that city, as have I.

Obviously my appearance has changed. I’ve also noticed a couple of minor changes in things as well. As “him” I would never wear shorts and I insisted upon always wearing shoes, even around the house. Now I much prefer miniskirts and never seem to wear shoes or socks when home. And I love my fishnets. Just minor things as I said, but a complete turnaround from before.

What else has changed? Well, I couldn’t find employment in my chosen field, so I drove a taxi for seven years until I got injured as the result of an accident, not an assault in the cab. Now that I’ve retired, I’ve become a photographer and writer. I write mainly blogs such as this one, as well as short fiction. I’ve also written my autobiography. I decided to end it with the new provincial documentation showing the new gender on my birth certificate. My life is, to be blunt, very white bread, so nothing would be gained by carrying it on further.

There are probably more changes, but at the moment I can’t think of any worth writing about, so, I’ll finish in my normal manner:

Enjoy your weekend and remember to hug an artist – we need love too.

Cat.

Making yourself official

If you were like me and wanted something issued in your new name, not just changed documents, you got a library card. Things have changed greatly since the mid-nineties.

Just before Thanksgiving of 2012 (early October in Canada) the Ontario government quietly slipped out a new piece of legislation. This act made it possible for transpeople to change the gender on their birth certificates without undergoing surgery, but with a doctor’s letter saying it is necessary. My adventures with this are chronicled in my posting “The 4,000 mile birth certificate” of October 21, 2013. The 4,000 miles refers to the total distance my documents travelled between my home and the office of the Registrar-General in Thunder Bay, Ontario before I finally received my new birth certificate.

Once I had the birth certificate, it was possible to change my health card and obtain an Ontario identification card, since I no longer have a driver’s permit.

In February of this year, the federal Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration, just as quietly as their provincial counterparts, changed their rules so that transpeople can self-identify and change the gender on their federal documents – Social Insurance card; any old age documents, and anywhere else gender is recorded. This requires only provincial documentation showing the person’s gender. There is no charge for any of this except for the fee to change your birth certificate in the first place. Federally, the only exception appears to be the passport. This requires a passport renewal, which has a fee attached – I was quoted $160 but I believe that is for a 10 year passport.

I have visited various provincial and federal offices and have changed everything but the passport. When you’re on a government pension, an extra $160 isn’t easy to find. Does it make a difference in my daily dealings with others? Of course not. But knowing that I am officially recognized as female by both the province of Ontario and the federal government makes me feel better about myself. No more looking hot and having my papers show that cursed designation “M”.

Enjoy your day and remember to hug an artist – we need love too.

Cat.