Reflections on a Milestone

Accomplishing a goal that seems impossible throughout almost all of life is a strange sensation. On the surface what happened yesterday is straightforward: a Minnesota District Court judge granted my request for legal name change. Yet he did more. He accepted my petition for gender ID change and copied it into the court decree verbatim. That part was totally unexpected. I know other transsexual people in Minnesota with vastly differing experiences.

First of all, not one single part of this accomplishment could’ve happened without sobriety. Sobriety equals hope. Sobriety is site of a new horizon of possibility. Without sobriety I could never have seen this eventuality.

And next, I have accomplished much myself, but not without the groundwork, intervention and support of people around me. I am truly not an island. Some of these people have moved on further than myself in transition. Yet they are not all transgendered people. There are not enough transgendered people to carry the day, not statistically. I could not do this without the support of people who may not understand gender identity but do understand justice.

I’m not sure how I thought I was going to feel the day after. Words like elation, sobering, relief and emotional come to mind. What I was not prepared for was the feeling of awe. For me to realize that such a milestone is reachable requires a leap in my imagination greater than anything I’ve ever experienced.

I’m also acutely aware of what I have left behind. I’ve left more than a false identity. I’ve left a comforting world for change. I’ve left security both social and financial for uncertainty. I’ve brought along with me people in my transition who did not want to transition themselves but have engaged in my transition, out of loyalty and love. “Milestone” implies there is journey yet to happen. I’m not under any illusions of the end of problems.

God acknowledged what divine knowledge knew from the beginning during my naming ceremony at the Transgender Day of Remembrance service last year. I am created to be exactly who I am, a trans-woman created in the image of God. What first God acknowledged now society is just beginning to agree. I know of no other milestone like this.

Love, Denise


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