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Jessica Collins
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Justin, thank you for posting this.

 I would just like to add to the comments above, the following observation: never underestimate how much you *can* achieve in shaping the social facts through your will and your presentation of self in everyday life. 

 Not, at least, until you’ve actually tried it. Monday through Wednesday this week I attended the US Federal Court NY Southern District where I came very close to be chosen as a juror for the criminal trial United States v John (aka “Yanni”) Galanis, Devon Archer, and Bevan Cooney. 

 The first morning the court clerk called out my legal name and I stood up and walked all the way down the center aisle of this enormous New York Southern District Federal courtroom from the back of the room towards the bench, turned right past the prosecuting attorneys' table and took my appointed place in the jury box, just as those preceding me had done.
 But I was completely invisible!
 Neither the judge nor the clerk nor anyone else seemed to have seen me.

When I made my invisible procession to the jury box as described in a post below, the defendant John (Yanni? ... Laurel, anyone?) Galanis called out quite loudly: “Where is he?” Where indeed?
 Then the judge called out my legal name again, and I raised my hand from where I was already sitting in the jury box and said: “I’m here.”
 This was a very powerful demonstration of how one might simply *not see* what one is not expecting to see, even when one is paying attention and looking straight at it.

 But after that moment of gender confusion, Judge Abrams had decided the next morning to address me as 'Ms Collins’ and until the moment my full legal name was called when I was finally dismissed, everyone in the court avoided using my legal first name. Every one of the security people doing the X-rays and metal detection at both Federal Court buildings I attended those three days, invariably addressed me as “Ma’am” ... even when I had just produced my US passport as government ID. 

And … during those two days as prospective juror number 13 I became quite friendly with prospective juror number 18 just down the row. She is a new mom in her twenties, and nursing. At the lunch break she needed to find a place in the Federal Courtroom where she could express breast milk. I was surprised, but also very touched, that I was the one she approached when she felt she needed moral support in asking for assistance. With the help of one of the female court officials, we got it figured out. 

I was impressed.
Toggle Commented May 26, 2018 on My Preferred Pronouns? at Justin Erik Halldór Smith
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May 25, 2018