“Our 2004 wedding was unique and distinctive. It was in an aircraft hangar. The altar was a helicopter and the reverend was a flight instructor, like me. Norwood made the card—he was an artist—and we entitled it ‘The September of our Lives.’
“Norwood died eight years later. And people kept saying you’ve got to collect his Social Security. So I went in for an interview. I thought they’d accepted it because they had all the information. I had changed all my documents back in the 1970s.
“It took a year, but finally they contacted me—and summarily denied my application, saying I was not a woman at the time of my marriage. That was a direct shock.
“Well, I got so mad that I said this has got to change. And that’s when I found Lambda Legal. They fought Social Security to change their ruling about this. And they did. And they changed the policy as well.
“Valentines Day 2014 I went into my bank account and I saw a bunch of money in it and I swear to God I looked up at the sky and I said, ‘Thank you, Norwood!’”