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.”