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What’s In A Name?

Field Notes In/On Transition

What’s In A Name? 

On Wednesday, November 28th I got up at my normal time as if I was going to work, did my normal internet fiddle faddle; got my face on and gussied up, but instead of going to work I went downtown to  do my legal change of name, before later in the day heading to VGH to find out from an Endocrinologist whether I can start taking estrogen. My regular “trans” doctor wanted to get a specialist’s opinion.

 First I had to find the Vital Stats office, and of course walked a few blocks the wrong direction, as per my usual following of directions... I was standing on the corner of Robson and Howe realizing that the office I was looking for was south of Granville, not north when I heard someone calling “Josie!” “Josie!” I wondered who downtown would know my name when a familiar face from the video store tugged on my jacket. A nice gal named Cindy who has a food truck called “Mom’s Grilled Cheese” ( was offering me a free sandwich! I hesitated unused to getting free anything, and asked if I could come back as I wanted to get the name change stuff done before doing anything else that day. So I said I had an appointment and would come back to grab a lunch.

I headed down to the Vital Stats office a couple of blocks south and fairly quickly and painlessly (aside from the expense) got my application formalized, then right away headed down Granville to a fingerprinting place (the process in BC includes getting your fingerprints done for a criminal records search... private companies are like half the price of going to VPD, and way less intimidating imho) and got that part settled. The fingerprint place sends your prints et al off to RCMP who then okays it (I have no criminal record whatsoever) and sends it on to Vital Stats in Victoria, who then around Christmas/New Years will be sending me my official certificate of legal change of name, which I can then use to change all my ID and so on. What a Christmas present!

Then and only then, in kind of a fugue state, as it was really hitting me what I had just done, I wandered back down to the food truck where I was treated to a “Hot Angie” which was on a nice french bread with some very nice capicola that wasn’t too spicy and lots of gooey cheese.  It was delicious. I highly recommend a stop at that food truck. Vancouver has gone from nothing but boring old smokies to a great varied food truck scene downtown, in the last few years) I sat there munching on the sandwich and side of kettle chips, thinking what to do with the hours I had til my next appointment at 4:30.

I wandered into a couple of shops, buying a couple of super cheap graphic novels from the Comic Book Store, before venturing (again, still in this euphoric fugue state) hitting Future Shop where I though I was going to buy a new 2 TB Hard drive, but instead wound up getting  rid of my crappy old “not so smart” phone and getting myself an Iphone 5. It costs me 10 bucks more a month, and I have a contract, but I’ve already used it more in the last two days than I use my old phone in a month. I’d been putting off doing this for months and I guess the with push of doing big things like changing my name it didn’t seem so daunting to go buy a new phone.

The staff at Granville Future Shop also get kudos from me for properly gendering me and being pretty awesome on that level. Though I did get one ageist sounding Ma’am, and got a twinge of what gals have been telling me all this time about being “Ma’am’d.”

After all this excitement I wandered back home via skytrain and my feet. Just as I got back to the Drive it started back in with the rain, so I popped into work and got my umbrella, shared my news with coworkers and anyone who would listen. I charged up my new phone at home, and got myself steeled (by buying some beer to celebrate later) and then made a kind of surreal trudge back up to Broadway and VGH where I had my appointment to find out about getting the estrogen added into my cornucopia of pills that I take. 

It was pitch dark by the time I found the office (in a very labyrinthine office setup) and saw the Endocrinologist. Right away he said, (and I’m paraphrasing) “Let me get right to it, which is that there’s no reason I can see why you can’t take estrogen.” It turns out the specialist isn’t so worried about the hypertension as much as he is the smoking of cigarettes in terms of any cancer/hypertension risk. I’ve never smoked cigarettes, so no big whoop. 

What a relief, I had pretty much given up on getting estrogen added to the mix, without having any real hard feelings about it. My hypertension is much my own doing, a life of overindulging to supplant the pain of being wrongly gendered most of my life. But as it turns out  I’m inching ever closer (starting with a minimal dosage to be careful) to the goal.

A month from now I can start “legally” being Josie; but that’s just dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s. I’m ever more myself everyday as the estrogen starts to work itself up to where it wants to be.

Holy Cow!


  1. If it's any consolation, estrogen fixed my lifelong high-blood-pressure problem. Well, not fixed it totally but made it a lot better and more stable.


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