All week-long I’ve been singing snippets from Alice’s Restaurant; Arlo Guthrie’s long shaggy dog song about being inducted into the Army. I got processed to go back to work part-time as a consultant at Transit.
Elvis at his Army physical, 1958. Photo by Don Cravens / Time Life Pictures / Getty Images
It took four months for my paperwork to crawl through the bureaucracy and get approval from the ethics board. It took another month for Human Resources to give me an appointment to get processed. As Yogi Berra said – It’s deja vu all over again.
My first day at Transit was my worst day on the job. I was a self-conscious chubby 22-year-old out of the closet baby butch lesbian. It was my first day out of jeans. I did my best to dress for success. I wore clean underwear and a normal bra, a pair of grey wool slacks, a pink Oxford cloth button-down shirt, and a tweed blazer. I wore a strand of pearls to make sure everyone knew I was a girl, even if I wasn’t so sure about it myself. Continue reading →
October 19, 2013 was the first anniversary of my legal name change. It is the best thing I ever did for myself.
I first thought about changing my name in my early twenties. A lot of butch women (wimmin, womyn, or w/o men) did. They chose names like Willow, Blue, Shad, Birch, and Sky. They used their initials like JP and DJ. They took nicknames; Barbara became Bobby, Andrea became Andy. They did not take names like Michael, David, James, or Robert (the top four boy’s names the year I was born). I told Donna that I was going to take an urban name like Concrete, Asphalt, or Fire Hydrant. She did not take me seriously. Continue reading →
I have a hard time asking for help or for directions. I like to figure things out for myself. I have a bookcase full of books on women’s studies, lesbian herstory, gay liberation, butch-femme dynamics, queer theory, and transgender rights. I’ve got another one full of cookbooks and dog behavior. But, the book that helped me the most was written by a straight, white, upper-class, married woman with children, who lives on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. It is a New York TImes best-seller. It is pop-psychology. Welcome to “The Happiness Project.”
I was not trying to get happy. I was trying to understand why I was discontent and ill at ease in my life. Why I procrastinated. The answer was on page 18. Gretchen Rubin outlined her Twelve Commandments and I got stuck on the first one, which is “Be Gretchen.” Continue reading →
Last year I legally changed my name from Amy Caren to Jamie Ray. If you have changed your name you know it is a complicated thing to do, socially and legally. Once you get the court order, you have to change all of your paperwork. All of it. And I didn’t want to keep seeing mail with my old name on it.
When I changed my name I kept my sex marker at F. This irks me, because if I could, I would set it to N/A, or N/F, or ∏, or Q. Something more descriptive than F. I could handle two markers, one for sex (Female) and one for gender (Butch, Queer, or Trans*). It would be more honest.