Random Acts of Kindness in a Pink, Ruffled Shirt

Random Acts of Kindness in a Pink, Ruffled Shirt is another excerpt in my memoir. To read other excerpts, please go here.


I arrived at the Judge’s chambers wearing my J Crew flat front pants and a very special item picked out at a vintage shop with the help of my friend M.: a 1970s, pink ruffled tuxedo shirt with black piping. The shirt signified all things changing in my life: my friendships, my life, my body. The shirt also signified a kind of balls out, all in attitude I now no longer possess. Today I would arrive at a judge’s chambers in a suit. But then I needed to expose myself and hide myself. The shirt functioned both as an armor and a revelation.

The shirt I now see was also a kind of dare. Like, I dare you to be nice to me. Becauseas I moved forward with the physical changes I desired I had prepared myself to lose everything: my home, my family, my then friends. Everything.

I had not expected to receive kindness. Rejecting myself for as long as I could remember, I had not planned on easy acceptance from others. How could I expect from others what I had been unable to give to myself?

No, I had not expected to receive kindness, and not from strangers.

There I was sitting in the chambers, waiting for my name to be called. Two lawyers got called before me. Then a white woman says, “In the matter of the name change of ——,” so I stand and enter the area in front of the judge. He looks up, stunned, as I recall, and says, “Are you ——?”

“I am.”

“—, Please administer the oath to this young man.”

After swearing to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth, the Judge goes:

“Why are you here today?”
I go: “IamafemaletomaletranssexualandIamheretodaytochangemynamefrombirthnametomynewname.”

I recall he kind of bobbed his head like WTF but he would not have thought WTF since that is a blogging term and blogs didn’t really exist back then. But he sure appears amazed.

Then he goes:
“Are you sure this is the best thing for you?”

I go:
“It is.”

Then he goes:
“Then I see no reason to deny this request.” He then signs some papers, the papers, actually, the ones granting a legal change of name, and says

“I wish you the best of luck, sir.”

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