Highway Star Rising, Act 2: Roadblock in the Bluegrass

Cameron Aubernon
by Cameron Aubernon
highway star rising act 2 roadblock in the bluegrass

Over a year has passed since my quest to regain my license began. A lot has happened since then.

For starters, I left Seattle for Louisville, with a brief stop in Columbus, Ohio. From there, I moved into a resident art gallery called OPEN Gallery as its writer-in-residence. I also wound up as its de facto publicist, then became its administrative director late in October, a post I will hold until March 2017 at the earliest.

Another post I’ve acquired? The title of editor-in-chief of an online lifestyle publication called Tab’s View. When I first learned of the publication, I thought all I would ever do was write for them like I do for Dispatches Europe (an online publication aimed at English-speaking expats living in Europe), Insider Louisville (an online news publication focused on business and culture in Louisville) and, of course, TTAC. In fact, I was brought aboard the new publication to contribute a twice-monthly automotive column under the following guidelines:

  1. I would not have to drive the cars. Instead, I would review the interior and technology of the latest and greatest.
  2. I would also interview those who, like myself, loved cars; TTAC’s own Bark M. was the first such interview, by the by.

After the previous EIC was released by the publisher, I took up the mantle as interim EIC, then formally accepted the title after launching the publication.

Through it all, though, there was one thing which still hadn’t changed:

I don’t have my license.


Let’s talk about government overreach.

The phrase has been thrown about over this year, usually around those like myself who are transgender, who simply want nothing more than to pee in peace. The phrase turns up whenever the United States government butts heads with the government of a given (usually Southern) state, such as North Carolina.

But god forbid a state government can’t commit government overreach, right? Behold the mistake of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, made in 1990, and enforced by every governor ever since: Kentucky Revised Statute 213.121, Section 5:

Upon receipt of a sworn statement by a licensed physician indicating that the gender of an individual born in the Commonwealth has been changed by surgical procedure and a certified copy of an order of a court of competent jurisdiction changing that individual’s name, the certificate of birth of the individual shall be amended as prescribed by regulation to reflect the change.

That’s right: unlike Olympia (the capital of Washington), the U.S. State Department and Social Security — all of whom only needed a note simply stating I had completed transition in order to change the sex/gender marker on my records — Frankfort (the capital of Kentucky) wants me to bleed on the operating table before they’ll even amend my birth certificate, let alone my ID.

Which leads to why I don’t have my license still. My permit and ID from Washington both have “F” next to the sex bit, as do my passport (my first ever, acquired in June 2016) and Social Security records. Thought it would be easy to exchange as is, no?


Aside from (somehow) not knowing my last name is legally Aubernon these days — it’s on my current birth certificate, for starters — the DMV office in downtown Louisville would not accept what Olympia already did unless I presented proof I had “the surgery.”

Guess what? I’m not having the surgery. Not for me. Not for you. Not for anyone. And certainly not for any national, state or local government. Because fuck that bullshit. It’s my body, and I will do what I see fit with it.

Yet, because I was born in the Commonwealth of Kentucky — the home of the Kentucky Derby, bluegrass and Corvettes — the state government in Frankfort feels the need to overreach into the operating room to ensure I have been surgically altered to their liking before they’ll make the exchange, let alone fix my birth certificate.

Thus, I still have my Washington ID and permit, the latter expired in September. My only options are:

  1. Sue Frankfort into submission; lawsuits are the only language my current governor, Matt Bevin, appears to understand.
  2. Leave.

Guess which option is now the more likely of the two?

Remember when I said I would be the administrative director of OPEN Gallery until March 2017 at the earliest?

Do you also recall when I said I write for an online expat publication called Dispatches Europe?

I was asked by my friend and editor, Terry, if I wanted to move to the Netherlands — where DE and parent company Dispatches Media is located — should the publication do well. I decided to accept the offer to move, which should occur once my he finalizes a few deals.

The latest those deals could be finalized? March 2017.

Once in the Netherlands — Eindhoven, to be exact — all I would need to finally have my license is my passport.

And then, I may be of more use to the Best & Brightest. Assuming I don’t become DE’s next EIC, first.

[Images: © 2016 Cameron Aubernon/The Truth About Cars]

Join the conversation
5 of 143 comments
  • Blueflame6 Blueflame6 on Nov 23, 2016

    Please do consider changing your passport ASAP. The procedures that make it vaguely straightforward to do now are there by executive order. You can expect that the new administration will very quickly undo that. Best wishes to you.

    • April S April S on Nov 23, 2016

      Thanks for the reminder. I better do mine too. I get the feeling the next four years are going to be tough for LGBT folks.

  • Seabrjim Seabrjim on Nov 26, 2016

    Goodbye TTAC. I cant get all lathered up over this.

    • See 1 previous
    • April S April S on Nov 27, 2016

      Seabrjim, count your lucky stars it isn't something you need to deal with.

  • Lou_BC I kinda like the blocky lines. The snout has a star wars stormtrooper look so that means it won't hit anything.
  • ToolGuy I respect the work this individual has done from the starting point he was handed ("I have been involved for about 6 months repairing this car acquired form my sister who received it from our dad"; "The car was an oily mess when I received it, had a clogged catalytic converter, and hesitated intermittently on the highway after extended driving (> 20 miles)")...But there is no need to show prospective customers the "before" or "in process" photographs. Very few customers want to see or know how the sausage is made.And rather than show extreme close-ups of the dents, call a PDR shop, and bump up your selling price.
  • Ajla "launched as the GX550 offering a 3.4-liter" I know some people rip on pick up or performance car buyers for insecurity but it is funny that premium vehicle buyers need inflated designations like this because "GX340t" won't get their d*cks hard. Although Lexus isn't alone in this, it's even better here because they went from GX470 to GX460 back in 2009 and no one died over the decrease. The IS500 and LC500 are still matched to their displacement but maybe they'd sell more if it was called LC650? 🤔
  • ToolGuy Q: Is it time for ToolGuy the non-early adopter to purchase an EV for long-term ownership?A: No, it is not.(Get this stuff ironed out and I'll be back later.)
  • Theflyersfan Why take the effort to cover the back plate when the front plate is visible in a couple shots?