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Thread: So you think having a Birth Certificate with "female" is all fun and games!

  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2006

    So you think having a Birth Certificate with "female" is all fun and games!

    The first thing you have to know is that my name is really Michelle.

    The second is that my Great Grandmother was from Imperial Russia, and escaped after the Revolution.

    When I was born my Mother wanted to name me Michael Steven. Steven being my fathers name. My Dad was in the Army and was in Vietnam when I was born; which ironically set the tone for most of my life. My Mom's Grandma had come up to stay with her while she in the last month of her pregnancy. We lived just a bit too far for her parents to casually visit.

    The day came and Mom had a long delivery, after which she more or less passed out. When the registrar came by ( remember this was when the babies were in the nursery and the Moms were in their rooms) to get my name my Great Grandmother ( who had French tutors and other staff) told her/him that it was Meechelle Stephanov "Smith". Well, the registrar heard Great Grandmas heavy accent and wrote down Michelle Stephanie "Smith" and checked "female".

    Of course back then you really didn't need a birth certificate for much of anything. It wasn't until I tried to join the Army, the first time, that I found out the mistake on my birth certificate. At first I thought I might have had a deceased twin and asked my Mom what was going on. She went down to the Court House with me and sure enough, that was my birth certificate. Right father, right Mother, right date. Wrong name and sex.

    We tried to get this changed but California required that for a change to a birth certificate dealing with the sex of the child, two people had to sign affidavits saying they knew the child from birth to the present day and that the sex was in error. Ok.....well, my Mom was still alive but the only two people who were present at in the hospital on the day of my birth were my Great Grandmother who passed in 1970 and the family Doctor who delivered me, who passed in 1977.

    We went to court. The judge was sympathetic but said his hands were tied. And I was unable to join the Army. Shortly afterwards we got a call from the Judge's Clerk who asked us to come down to his office. It turns out that even if I could get the sex straightened out I would not be able to change the name on my BC. I could legally change my name but it wouldn't effect my BC.

    What he did do was have my parents sign affidavits after which I was granted a delayed BC. I got into the Army and all was right with the world......

    Great right? Not so much.

    I later had to get a security clearance and this whole thing came back to bite me in the butt. My original BC turned up in the background check and since my Grandmother and her parents were from Russia, it threw up all sorts of flags. The short version of a very long story is that my service records were amended with my original BC and name, with a memorandum explaining the whole history.

    The biggest problem is that my Social Security Number was issued to Michelle, not Michael. I entered the Army with Michelle's SSN, but Michael's BC. At one point in my security clearance struggle Michael was issued his own SSN. Which the Army used for a short time until they found it caused all sorts of pay issues and paperwork issues and reverted back to Michelles SSN.

    Post Army I had to make the decision as to which SSN to use. My Tax man said it would be smart to use Michelle's because all the quarters and money already built up in that SS account. GREAT! Ok, so I did. Now that I am getting ready for Social Security they have data mismatch and say that it can't be my account because of a data miss match. My BC says female but everything else says Male. I'm still working this out.

    Have you tried to get a Drivers licence with a bc with the "wrong" sex? NOT a lot of fun. I do however; have a Court document from California that let me get a DL in California using my original BC. Ohio wouldn't accept it, and that led to lots of problems back in the day. Ohio has more lienient laws now..but it doesn't make any diff because now I live 24/7 and it has finally, worked in my favor, mostly. Usually.

    Have you tried to marry a woman back in the 80s with a bc that says YOUR a woman? Easy as Pie NOW. Almost impossible then. If I had not had the Court memoranda I would not have been allowed to get a Marriage lic.!

    How about proving you are the father of your children? Not real hard for their BC as you don't have to show your's to fill out theirs. However when the above Background check was done.....and pay and allowances are determined by your dependents....

    How about claiming my children on taxes when my SS records clearly say I'm a woman, based on my SSN; AND they already have a Mom?
    That one actually bugged me as I peacefully claimed them for many years till I got divorced and my ex decided to screw with me.

    Speaking of divorces. My lawyer told me that if I didn't want to, I did not have to get a divorce since, in Ohio, I wasn't legally married. Because in Ohio, I am legally a woman and always have been. Something I didn't know till then. However; because California recognized the marriage as legal and I wanted to establish jurisdiction in Ohio I proceeded with it anyway.

    When one of my daughters wanted to come live with me my ex wife fought it tooth and nail because she couldn't afford to lose the child support. She initially got the California Court (who were completely ignoring the Ohio Court's decisions) to deny my petition because I couldn't be the parent as they had established that my ex was the Mom and I was a woman. Therefore I couldn't be the father. Thankfully the Court memoranda saved my butt...again.

    There is a lot more, but you get the message. It really is not something I would wish on anyone.

  2. #2
    Goddess-In-Training Macey's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2018
    United States, East Coast
    Wow. This is the world we've built, where the paperwork and records with all of their clerical errors dictate life more than reality does.

  3. #3
    Platinum Member
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    Dec 2008
    S.E.Baltimore Co. Maryland USA
    Hi Michelle , Oh my that is quite a story, Once I started I just had to read the whole story.

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  4. #4
    Silver Member Helen_Highwater's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Midlands UK

    Wow, what a read! Who could think a simple mis-stroke of a pen could cause so much trouble?

    I must admit to thinking what if you at some point decided to transition, went for full gender reassignment surgery. What a can of worms that could turn out to be!

  5. #5
    Senior Member Crissy 107's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
    Virginia USA
    Michelle, That was a very interesting read, hard to believe it could get so screwed up.

  6. #6
    Connie Connie D50's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Southeast WI.
    Wow what a story I feel so bad for you and the mess it caused.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
    Oh my goodness. That is a story that needs to be turned into a television special to inform the world of what a mess we create with all these documents that are chipped in stone and covered with bronze so they can last forever. I feel so badly for your situation. It is the nightmare of nightmares. And I admire how well you have handled it all. Kudos to you for your incredible perseverance. The strangest aspect is that you are a variety of trans person, but that does not stop all the inconsistencies and conflicts. There has to be a better way to deal with these documents than the way we have in the past which continues to haunt us no matter what happens.

  8. #8
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Western Washington
    This story would make a great documentary for public television. I would recommend if you're considering using your veteran's benefit of internment in a national cemetery you do a precertification so your next of kin does not have this hassle.

  9. #9
    Silver Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Orange County, California
    Sorry, Michelle, but I had a lot of laughs. I now guess that if any government entity was involved, a rose by any other name would NOT smell the same.

  10. #10
    Lady By Choice Leslie Langford's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    near Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Amazing story of bureaucracy run amok!

    I wonder how many lawyers' children you helped send through university with all the legal bills these court battles entailed?

  11. #11
    Gold Member Maria in heels's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    NY & PA
    Hi Michelle! WOW what a dilemma and shocking story. It seems that no matter what you do, they just can't agree on what is right and worse yet is when they give you "hall passes" that don't seem to work everywhere. I wish that they can finally fix this for you and you should be very proud that you have dealt with this for such a long time and still persevere with this roadblock
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  12. #12
    Platinum Member Beverley Sims's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Lowestoft UK. Beverley was here.
    I agree every time you want to do something you have to establish yourself.

    Incorrect identities are a burden when looking for a passport also.
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  13. #13
    New Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    New York
    As an aside to the name miss-handling in the start of this thread, I can relate that my birth certificate said WALTER, when i was enrolled in to a Catholic school in a Polish parish they said that Walter was a German name and the name is really Wladiswav. So be it, then the church said that my name should be Ladislaous which I guess is the Roman equivalent. You can guess where this went down hill when I joined the Navy and they said, Who the hell are you? Getting a security clearance was a whole new chapter. If you want to hear more, PM me.

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