Guess what my new state-issued ID calls me…
This morning I had my court date at Daley Center, and it was crazy easy. I was nervous because I knew nothing about the judge, and he could deny my request, and all that money would have been for nothing and I would be stuck with my girly birth name.
We got to the court room early, and waited outside for Hunter, the TJLPI volunteer who was going to sit with me and be legal support. He’s not a lawyer, but he has been though the name change process himself, and was familiar with the proceedings.
There was one other person there, a woman trying to change her name, and her situation put mine in perspective. She hadn’t filled out her paperwork. She couldn’t remember how to spell her name, and was uncertain what year she was born in. Watching her in front of the judge was just heart wrenching. The judge, thankfully, was very kind. He tried to help her, and clearly wanted to grant her request, but as he put it, “What kind of judge would grant a petition to someone who can’t verify their own name, or birthdate, or birth place?” She was obviously mentally unstable, and I was thankful for Hunter and the judge this morning. They both were really kind, treated her respectfully, and tried their best to help her–she just didn’t have all the necessary information. Oh, and some other dude there, who seemed very much of sound mind and body, didn’t even bring any paperwork with him: he just showed up to court empty handed and in blue jeans–dafuck is wrong with people?
When my number was called (there were only a handful of us in the court room–this room was for name change petitions only), I approached the bench and was sworn in. But the swearing in was for naught: the judge looked at my petition and judgment order, my birth certificate and xeroxed copy of my state ID, then glanced up at me and said, “Well, this all appears to be in order,” and then indicated that I should go sit back down.
So I did.
The judge got up and left. The bailiff declared that court was in recess. I sat in awkward silence, not sure what was happening or what signal I was waiting for. A few minutes later the clerk called my case number again, wrote “ok to certify” on the bottom of my petition, said, “Here ya go,” and handed it back to me. And that was it. Elias Michael was born.
Hunter, Kae, and I went down a few floors to get the judgment order certified. We had to get multiple copies certified because places like the Social Security Administration and the DMV won’t take some broke ass xerox copy. They want the real deal:
After paying ten bucks a piece, I had multiple uber legit state documents proving my new legal name is, well, legal.
So we walked across the street to the Thompson Center, which in Chicago is a super futuristic mall with a food court and DMV in the basement.
After the first clerk refused to accept my printed-from-the-internet electric bill as proof of residency, and the second clerk got all lippy in my face about shit he didn’t understand, I finally talked to someone that treated me like a person. He was totally cool, said my electric bill was a fine piece of corroborating evidence of my residence, and so thoroughly understood where I was coming from that as he said “Now, Elias,” he pointed down at my gender marker and asked, “is this changing today too?” I said no, and he said, “Oh, that’s fine. We get you guys in here all the time.” And suddenly I felt much more at ease. I’m not happy with my picture on my ID, but no one is. What’s important is the name.
So of course the legal name change is just the tip of the ice berg. Now I have to change my name with:
-Student Loan Companies
-Credit Card Companies/Banks
-The Public Library
-Credit Reporting Agencies
-My Oncologist/Other Doctors
-The Sun Magazine (my one and only magazine subscription)
And the Social Security administration for a new SS card. And that, in turn, is what I need to change my name with my employer. Oh, and I’m sure lots of other places I’m forgetting.
But, all in all, today was a good day, a success, and there was a nice cool breeze that came along with it.
In closing, my first birthday:
And my second:
Cheers, and be nice to yourselves!
Your Pal Eli