Seda and I sit looking across a broad wooden desk at our insurance agent who keeps her eyes on the form she is filling out in our stead as a request for a new life insurance policy. Every frank question she poses requires an answer of inscrutable honesty.

“Have you, in the last six years, seen a doctor or psychologist?” she asks Seda.

“Well, yes, both,” Seda answers.


“Yes, Seda, what’s it on the books for?” I ask.

“Depression, I think. Yes, that was it. Then the doctor for hormone therapy,” she says.

The agent scribbles this jargon quickly, looking relieved.

“Will they take you off the ‘preferred’ rates for having gender dysphoria?” I ask.

“I don’t think so. I don’t know,” she says. The agent declines comment. “It was never an official diagnosis, and the gender psych I see in Portland is on a cash-only basis — no paper trail.”

“They probably won’t even notice,” I tell her. “Unless they look at that little box that’s now checked ‘female.’ Then they’ll probably wonder. The name change, you know. But, hey, no formal diagnosis. It’s an at-home transition. Something in your Wheaties.”

Our agent cannot suppress a giggle, but keeps her eyes on the paperwork, unsure about our relationship and her role in supporting us.

“Come to think of it,” I add, “it must have been the Fruit Loops. I thought I warned you about those.” Seda and I laugh out loud.

“Have you been advised to have an operation?” comes the question from behind the desk.

“Yes,” says Seda demurely. Then she turns to me. “Is that the right answer?”

“NO,” I tell her.

“Oh,” she says, and folds her hands in her lap. “Well, the Association of — but, then, ‘No,’ I’ve not been personally advised by a doctor to have an operation.”

She’ll have one, of course. And by the time that policy is up, the physical exam itself could not argue with that little box marked “female.”

Not that it would matter if they did. She is who she is, though certainly not the man I married.

“Are you — will you… stay married?” the agent asks uncertainly.

“It looks good on paper, doesn’t it?” I say.

“That’s about the extent of it,” says Seda.

“For as long as we share children and a sense of humor, perhaps.”

The ancient Chinese blessing-in-a-curse: May you live in interesting times.