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February, 2018:

Invisalign Part II: 34 More Trays

Your groundhog said you’re getting 6 more weeks of winter.
Mine said I get 34 more weeks of Invisalign trays.

A few weeks ago, I saw my orthodontist after completing 53 weeks of Invisalign. He said my teeth are straight, and my bite is improved, but my upper and lower jaws are still out of alignment. The tech took another set of impressions and sent them off to have another set of trays created. They didn’t tell me how many more trays I’d have to wear to correct this problem. (I wore my Week 53 trays for a few weeks while my next set of trays were being made.)

I couldn’t manage to take a good photo that shows my rubber band, so I stopped trying.

Last week, I was back in the orthodontist chair (I always feel like I’m in junior high when I’m in there) and I asked, “How many more weeks do I have the pleasure, I mean privilege, of wearing Invisalign trays.” The tech laughed, but I was serious. I suspect many people who can’t afford it wish they had the means to afford Invisalign or braces. Even though I may complain that my teeth hurt or that wearing trays is a hassle, I never forget that it’s a privilege to do this.

The tech said, “34,” and I get to wear a rubber band on one side of my mouth. The tech had to move some of the anchors for my trays (aka “dinosaur teeth”) and she glued a metal “button” to one of my lower teeth. The rubber band attaches to an edge carved into my upper tray and the button. Every time I take my trays out, I’m supposed to replace the rubber band.

Looking at the calendar, I’ll be wearing this set of trays, changing the trays each week, until mid-October. Basically, I added another year to this adventure.

At first, I had the compulsion to try to chew on the rubber band, which isn’t actually possible, but now it’s a non-issue. Putting it on is easy, though in my first week, I managed to shoot a rubber band across the room and snap myself in the lip while trying to put it on. These are first world problems.

The rules with these of trays is the same: try to wear them at least 22 hours a day. Some day I’ll get to sip my coffee again. The only difference now is I must remember to bring my bag of rubber bands in addition to my tray case when I leave the house, and for now, I need a mirror to put on a rubber band. Note to self: Put a compact with a mirror in your backpack for when you’re traveling.

The only problem I’ve encountered with wearing a rubber band is I can’t sing properly. I can’t open my mouth wide enough to sing the notes. I don’t wear my trays when I have a voice lesson or perform, but I do when I’m singing in the car and around the house. Knowing me, I’ll test how well these rubber bands stretch. I hope it doesn’t hurt much if one snaps in my mouth.

Support HB2492: Tell Arizona to Allow Nonbinary Driver’s Licenses

At Phoestivus last year, I asked my friend and Arizona Representative Ken Clark to introduce a bill that would allow people in Arizona the option to select “nonbinary” as their gender on their driver’s licenses. A few weeks later, HB2492 was born.

Rainbow by Benson Kua from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

Currently, all persons must identify as “male” or “female.” You have to pick one, and you can’t leave this field blank. I had to go to the Motor Vehicles Department (MVD) last year to update my photo. I asked if I could have “X” (abbreviation for nonbinary) on my driver’s license instead of “M” or “F” for my gender, and the clerk said the system didn’t allow her to do this. I asked if I could leave this field blank, and she said the system wouldn’t process my new license unless it had a selection for the person’s sex.

When I contacted the Arizona Department of Transportation about adding the option for nonbinary to the driver’s license application, they said they couldn’t do this unless the law changed. Hence, I had to go to Ken for help.

A new law went into effect in California this year, where you can have the state re-issue your birth certificate to indicate that you are nonbinary. I was born there, so I’m going through the process to get a nonbinary birth certificate. And I want my driver’s license to match.

Photo by Jay Chatzkel Photography
Used with permission

HB2492 was assigned to the Transportation Committee, chaired by Representative Noel W. Campbell. So far, this bill has not been added to the committee’s agenda. If the bill isn’t heard by the committee, it will die and never reach a vote by the Arizona House. If this bill dies in committee, we’ll have to wait until next session to introduce it again.

If you want the Transportation Committee to hear HB 2492, please contact Representative Campbell:

And please, spread the word!

If Arizona doesn’t change its law and allows people to be legally recognized as nonbinary, the State is essentially telling me that I and people like me don’t exist. My fingers are crossed that the Transportation Committee will at least hear HB2492.

Please help me, and other nonbinary people, make this happen. Contact Representative Campbell and tell him to add HB2492 to the Transportation Committee’s agenda.