WHY do you want to change your name? Print all the reasons.
Randy stared at the clump of jumbled letters on the page. He really had to focus in order to make them into words again. Seven sections to fill out. The application was twenty pages long. He squinted at the blank lines waiting to be filled.
So, why did Randy want to change his name? He sighed before putting pen to paper. I am transgender, and I no longer wish to be known by my female name. I want to live the rest of my life as a man and be addressed by my male name in all government communications.
I am transgender. He’d never written those words down on paper before. They looked funny. Should he have put “transsexual” instead? That might sound more medical, make it seem like there would be some horrible health impact if the government didn’t grant his request. Maybe he should write more. Should he? No, it was fine the way it was. Max was always telling him to maintain a positive outlook.
Certainly, transitioning from female to male seemed like a good reason for a name change to Randy, and to Max, and even to his mother, but the government made the final decision. Boy, was he ever lucky to have such a supportive mom, not to mention a boyfriend who fully accepted him as a guy. Randy smiled at the application form. This was the first step to being formally acknowledged as the man he knew he was. How could he not be happy?
The bells on the shop door jingled downstairs, and Randy’s heart jumped into his throat. Shit! Max was back from the market already! He thought he’d have more time to work on this thing, but Max’s feet were already thumping up the staircase. Randy considered cramming his application beneath the couch cushions, but he didn’t want it to get all crumpled. Where could he hide a stack of paper?
Pulling last month’s copy of Men’s Health from the floor, Randy jammed his forms at the back. He tossed the magazine to the ground and picked up his laptop from the coffee table just as Max’s heel hit the top step.
“I saw that,” Max said, laughing. Randy’s hunka hunka burning bleach blond boyfriend traipsed into the kitchen with a big black shopping bag in each hand. “Reading magazines when you’re supposed to be getting the website up and running? For shame!”
Randy could tell from the chuckle in Max’s voice that he was joking. Still, he didn’t want Max thinking he was being a lazy ass. Randy had taken on the task of expanding Max’s brick-and-mortar antiques business into the cyber sphere, and the race was on to get the job done in time for the Christmas rush. There was no time for lounging on the couch or reading about core strength exercises.
Setting his computer back on the coffee table, Randy picked up the magazine and walked to the second-floor kitchen. There was another kitchen downstairs in back of the shop, but that one was stacked with papers and other assorted junk. In fact, pretty much every inch of this house was packed with Max’s “treasures.” The mess made Randy claustrophobic.
“I wasn’t reading a magazine,” Randy said as Max loaded up the fridge. He let the white printer paper fall into his hand from between the glossy pages. “I’m trying to finish filling out my damn change of name forms, but it’s taking forever. There’s so much repetition, and some of it’s straightforward, but then there’s stuff about liens against my personal property. What does that even mean?”
For a muscle god, Max had the puppy dog eyes down pat. He rose away from the fridge, letting the door close against his shopping bags, and drew Randy into a tender embrace. How could Randy resist a sweet kiss from Max’s full pink lips? How could he retreat from a warm hug when Max held his head against that impeccable chest? Randy took a deep breath in and smelled the winter air in the fibers of Max’s puffy vest. Pulling down the zipper, he took in the masculine aroma of sweat tempered with Irish soap. God, he wanted to smell like that. He wanted to smell like a man.
“What the hell is a guarantor?” Randy moaned.
Max laughed. “Why? Do you need one to change your name? Oh, I guess you would, yeah.”
Turning around in Max’s arms, Randy rested his back against Max’s chest and flipped through the papers so Max could see them. “Yeah, it asks for a guarantor, but it doesn’t tell me what a guarantor is.”
Although Max was only a few years older than he was, Randy kind of felt like “the kid” in their budding relationship—probably because he was thin and short and sorely lacking facial hair. That would change when he started on T, but first things first: he wanted to change his name.
“Let’s see,” Max reflected. “A guarantor… a guarantor is someone with a professional designation who’s known you for more than… I don’t know, two years, or five years, or something like that? It’s a person who can attest to who you are. Didn’t you need one when you got your passport?”
Randy leaned in against Max as he thought back on the passport process. “Oh, yeah. My aunt signed the thing—she’s a nurse.”
“There you go,” Max said. He gave Randy’s shoulders a good squeeze before slapping him on the back and returning to the half-closed fridge. “Your aunt can sign it.”
Rolling his eyes even though Max wasn’t looking, Randy pulled out the nearest chair from the kitchen table. He’d cleared the crap from this spot three days ago, and he wasn’t going to let it get overrun with yet more junk. “Auntie Nora signed a passport application for Jennifer. God only knows if she’ll sign a change of name form for Randy.”
Max closed the fridge door and opened the cupboard. A box of coffee filters fell out, followed by a closed—thank God—canister of coffee. It was a scramble, but Max somehow managed to catch both. “I thought your family was cool about the transition.”
“My mom is,” Randy said. “But my aunt… I don’t know. I haven't seen her much since she moved north. Way more nursing jobs up there, and the pay is unbelievable. But I don’t know how she’ll take it when I tell her about all this.”
“And there’s the question of how you’d get her to sign it if she lives all the way up north.”
Randy shook his head as he watched Max cram food willy-nilly into the cupboard, and then snap the door shut before anything could fall out. For all Max’s wonderful qualities, he was the most disorganized person Randy had ever met. And that brought him to the next point of contention. “Actually, Auntie Nora’s coming to the city for Christmas dinner, so I’ll get to see her then.”
When Max turned to look at Randy, he seemed to move in slow motion. “She’s coming here for Christmas dinner?”
Swallowing hard, Randy looked down at his papers and shuffled them nervously. “No… uh, not here. She’s coming to my mom’s place for Christmas dinner.”
He didn’t even look up. Randy knew what Max was going to say. “I thought your mother was coming here for Christmas. I thought it was all arranged.”