Saturday night I was pulled over on the way back from the hardware store.
Having police strobing lights behind you is a stressful event to begin with, and it was doubly so for me because I still haven’t legally changed my name and updated my driver’s license. Worse, I had no idea why I was being pulled over.
I wasn’t speeding, I hadn’t been drinking, and I knew my tabs were up to date. Almost all of the other times I’ve been pulled over have been for speeding, and the last time that happened was over a decade ago. To say I was surprised and anxious would be an understatement.
While Western Washington is a progressive region and I live in a very liberal town, cops and trans people can still be a bad mix, so I worried. I worried about things going sideways if he perceived me trans. I worried about being humiliated in front of my kids. I worried about a vague, indefinable fear of something that would land me in the back of his car and being processed at the police station.
Steeling myself for at least the inevitable outing, I imagined handing over my license and registration and having to explain why I only vaguely looked like the person in the photo. After taking a few deep breaths, I asked the kids to be quiet while I talked with the officer and rolled my down my window to wait.
What I wasn’t prepared for was a smiling officer who explained that he pulled me over because I had a tail light out and then chit-chatted with me about how most people don’t know they have a tail light out and that I should get that taken care of soon. After a bit of pleasant back-and-forth and finishing his lecture, he gave me another big smile and the kids a wave and headed back to his patrol car.
During the exchange, several thoughts raced through my mind:
- ‘Is he going to ask me for my license or not?’
- ‘Will his demeanor change if he finds out I’m trans?’
- ‘Maybe the reasons I’ve been holding back on changing my name aren’t that important.’
- ‘Why is he smiling at me?’
- ‘Does he know I’m trans?’
- ‘He’s not going to ask me for my license, is he?’
- ‘Holy shit, he’s just walking back to his car.’
- ‘That was fucking close.’
- ‘It’s a good thing I live in Mayberry, USA.’
- ‘Okay, Heather. It’s time to update your name and license.’
- ‘That was…weird.’
As I drove away, I couldn’t help but wonder how that encounter would have been different just a few months ago, before transition.
Would he have been as nice to me if I was a guy? Would I have gotten a ticket? What would have happened if he asked to see my license?
There are so many unknowns in a new life.
Dose: 8 mg/day estradiol via tablets, split into AM/PM doses of 4mg/4mg.
[Looking for detailed information about male to female hormone replacement therapy dosing and effects? Read my Brief Overview of Feminizing Hormones post. You might also be interested in The Trans Woman’s Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) Tracking Chart I created.]