I’m going under the knife tomorrow to get rid of a bunch of little (and some not-so-little) benign fatty lumps called lipomas that live all over my body, and I had to go through an intake process yesterday, the first such one I’ve ever done as Joyce.

Not wanting to hide anything, but also not wanting to declare to every nurse and receptionist that I was a transsexual, I decided I’d answer everything truthfully, volunteer nothing more, and see how long it took before I was “busted” as being “really a man.”

My first test came on the phone, when the surgery center called to get my basic information. One of the questions was, “Are you married?” Yes, I responded. “What’s your husband’s name?”

“Mary Jo.” Pause.

“O… K…. So….. his name is Mary Jo?”

Her name is Mary Jo,” I said.

“I see,” said the voice on the other end, “You’re in a same sex relationship.” Yes, I said, and encountered no problems at all. I think the same-sex relationship rationale is much higher on people’s list of explanations for a Joyce-and-MaryJo relationship than “oh, she used to be a man, and Mary Jo was his wife, and now that he’s changed his name and sex, he answers this way about his/her spouse.”

My second test took the form of Beverly, the surgical intake nurse, who examined me, took blood, and did an EKG yesterday. She and I hit it off just great, talking about the Beatles, my riding boots with low heels, my jewelry, and many other chatty subjects. When we did the EKG, I had to lift my shirt up to my neck for all those sticky pads, and I was quite glad for torso laser hair removal, which (I assume) makes for a plausibly female torso. In going through the questionnaire, she asked if I had had a hysterectomy, to which I said no. “OK,” she said without looking up from her clipboard, “Do you still have periods?” I answered no, and she was satisfied, even though the word “still” implies that I once had periods. Again, her script to explain this is menopause, which is a lot simpler than “she must be a transsexual.”

She sent me to X-ray for chest film (my third test), and I had to fill out this very small form that asked a) Is there any chance you could be pregnant? b) Date of last period, and the answers were No and N/A. The nurse said, “Why is that? Has it been more than a year?” Yes, I said, and the x-ray desk was satisfied that I was post-menopausal.

My fourth test was the x-ray technician herself. Being disrobed above the waist, I felt a bit vulnerable, but was again happy to have invested taking all those hormones and getting rid of all that hair.

I went back and Beverly told me all about the rules for surgery, emphasizing no makeup (rats!) and only clear nail polish, among the more serious prohibitions like no aspirin, no food after midnight, no blood thinners, and those sorts of things.

Now, my friends, this is clearly a very mundane encounter, but you can tell from what I’ve chosen to focus on that I’m kind of surprised there’s not a big note in red letters in my file that says “She’s a Tranny!” I am also curious as to what you feel is appropriate to answer about hysterectomies, periods, husbands, and those sorts of questions. I toyed with the idea of answering, “I was born without a uterus” as my explanation, and that’s true, of course, without explaining that I was also born with some other equipment, instead. [I don’t know how they would react if I checked “prostate exam” and “mammogram” as two procedures I was having done.]

I am not in stealth mode and am happy to answer with the full truth if it’s material to the subject at hand, but it seems to me I’ve disclosed quite enough in talking about my hormones, surgeries, doctors, insurance cards, photo id’s, and marital status.