“Before I had any documentation that matched my public presentation and my gender identity, it was uncomfortable and could be scary—and it was a disincentive to apply for certain types of jobs. But then in California I was able to get a driver’s license with a new name and gender.
“There was definitely a psychological affirmation that yes, this is who I am, this is what I look like, and I feel comfortable passing this around with friends. Whenever anyone says, ‘Let me see your driver’s license picture,’ I feel good doing that.
“I live in Michigan now, and so far I’ve been very lucky because the places I have gotten work have already had gender identity as a protected class in the nondiscrimination policies.
“But I can’t go in and get my Michigan driver’s license by taking my California license and my passport or my social security card to the secretary of state’s office. The laws here are different, so I would have to go and get my name officially changed and get my gender marker changed on my social security account. There’s the financial barrier there, and then just the bureaucracy of it is enough to make me want to throw my hands up in the air.”