Af­ter splashy de­but, bu­reau­cracy awaits Cait­lyn Jen­ner

The China Post - - ARTS - BY AN­THONY MCCART­NEY

A glam­orous Van­ity Fair cover served as Cait­lyn Jen­ner’s in­tro­duc­tion to the world, but far more mun­dane mat­ters await the Olympic cham­pion be­fore she can legally as­sume her new iden­tity.

Ap­pli­ca­tions, af­fi­davits, a back­ground check, a pos­si­ble court ap­pear­ance and even a trip to the dreaded Depart­ment of Mo­tor Ve­hi­cles with some de­cid­edly less art­ful photography are in store for Jen­ner.

The pa­per­work that will for­mally tran­si­tion Bruce Jen­ner into Cait­lyn Jen­ner is con­sid­er­ably less glossy and aro­matic than the pages of the celebrity mag­a­zine that her­alded her new iden­tity on Mon­day, set­ting a Twit­ter record and spark­ing re­newed dis­cus­sion of her tran­si­tion.

Es­tab­lish­ing her changed

life of­fi­cially will in­volve get­ting new iden­tity doc­u­ments, such as a driver’s li­cense, birth cer­tifi­cate and So­cial Se­cu­rity card, as well as chang­ing bank and fi­nan­cial records.

Jen­ner, who won a gold medal in the 1976 Olympics in the de­cathlon and is familiar to a younger gen­er­a­tion as the pa­tri­arch on “Keep­ing Up With the Kar­dashi­ans,” will have plenty of help nav­i­gat­ing the maze of pa­per­work. But some things he’ll have to do on his own.

It can take months to get a court to ap­prove a name and gen­der change ap­pli­ca­tion, time that can leave a per­son in an emo­tional limbo af­ter al­ready tak­ing dif­fi­cult steps to tran­si­tion into their new iden­tity. “They’ve made this tran­si­tion and are ready to live this life,” said Erd­man, a civil at­tor­ney whose firm started han­dling gen- der change cases 10 years ago be­cause of a lack of lawyers han­dling them in the Los An­ge­les area.

A lawyer can as­sist with ob­tain­ing the court or­der chang­ing a per­son’s name and gen­der, but se­cur­ing a new driver’s li­cense, birth cer­tifi­cate, So­cial Se­cu­rity card and other doc­u­ments gen­er­ally falls to the in­di­vid­ual. Some of the changes can be done by mail, but Jen­ner can’t es­cape the wait to get a new driver’s li­cense.

Jen­ner will likely re­ceive help from ex­pe­ri­enced at­tor­neys, just as Chaz Bono did in 2009 when he tran­si­tioned from be­ing Chastity Bono, the daugh­ter of Sonny Bono and Cher.

Some of the steps Jen­ner will take are ex­pected to be an el­e­ment of a se­ries doc­u­ment­ing Jen­ner’s tran­si­tion, “I Am Cait” that will pre­miere on E! En­ter­tain­ment Tele­vi­sion in July.

Los An­ge­les County, where Jen­ner lives, re­quires peo­ple chang­ing their names to sub­mit a back­ground check. In 2011, the check briefly de­layed NBA player Ron Artest’s pe­ti­tion to change his name to Metta World Peace un­til he re­solved sev­eral out­stand­ing traf­fic ci­ta­tions. The ci­ta­tions had turned into war­rants, but the name change was ap­proved three weeks later.

Jen­ner was in­volved in a fa­tal traf­fic col­li­sion ear­lier this year that re­mains un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion by sher­iff’s of­fi­cials, but that is un­likely to im­pact his court pe­ti­tion when it is filed. The back­ground check fo­cuses on cases that have been ad­ju­di­cated by a court, and the traf­fic case has not been pre­sented to pros­e­cu­tors for re­view.

Jen­ner, 65, will also have to sub­mit dec­la­ra­tions from a physi­cian as part of the court process and in or­der to ob­tain a new driver’s li­cense.

In all, it can take seven or eight sep­a­rate forms to suc­cess­fully change one’s name and gen­der in Los An­ge­les, said Sasha Buchert, an at­tor­ney with the San Fran­cisco-based Trans­gen­der Law Cen­ter.

The pa­per­work, and fees to file it and ob­tain the back­ground check, can be a ma­jor bar­rier for trans­gen­der peo­ple ob­tain­ing up­dated iden­tity doc­u­ments. Trans­gen­der peo­ple go­ing through the process some­times face ha­rass­ment at court­houses and gov­ern­ment of­fices, which cre­ates an­other ob­sta­cle, Buchert said.

Yet proper iden­tity doc­u­ments im­pact whether a per­son can open a bank ac­count, get a job and even get a gym membership, she said.

The Trans­gen­der Law Cen­ter has an on­line guide to help peo­ple nav­i­gate the process, as well as a tele­phone helpline. “I want peo­ple to un­der­stand there are re­sources,” she said.

Buchert knows. She is trans­gen­der and had to nav­i­gate the process her­self.

AP

This 2015 im­age pro­vided by E! shows Cait­lyn Jen­ner in the first of­fi­cial pro­mo­tional trailer for the new doc­u­men­tary se­ries, “I Am Cait,” in South­ern Cal­i­for­nia.

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