Letters of the law
It's taken me a couple days to get this written. I have been enjoying some kiddo time and haven't had a chance to write. Friday was an incredibly significant day in my transition process. On Friday a petition to legally change my name went to court and was approved.
I have called myself Patricia or Trish since I decided on that name and decided to transition. Most of my friends and family used the name out of respect as well. I could not, however, use my name in an official capacity. Many people may think that this is not that important a thing. Here is why it is. A transgender person has to out themselves every single time they go shopping. I present myself as female but my debit card has my birth name on it, as does my drivers license. So every time I have to present my ID the person I interact with gets a reinforcement of my old identity and I am outed once again.
Likewise, most companies do not have a listing for Mr. Or Miss in their records. When you call them they take their gender cues from the name on file. So based on my name they would assume I am a man, even if my voice is feminine over the phone. Changing your name legally means changing your bank information, your license information, your information with your billers and even the key tag for your petsmart account.
This process allowed you to apply for jobs and housing in your proper gender as well. Most trams people find that the more genuinely that they can live, the easier things are, and when applying for a job you prefer not to have to out yourself if possible.
Lastly, and of equal importance, changing your legal name makes it feel real. Nobody can take that from you.
The process of changing your name legally can be either lengthily, expensive, or both depending on your state. There are forms to fill out, information to collect, and court dates. After this is over you must change your name at places like the DMV, social security office, bank etc. it can take quite a while.
The process of changing your gender marker can be more complicated and it varies depending on where you live. I have a letter from my doctor which will allow me to change my gender with the social security administration, passport agency, Colorado DMV and my South Carolina birth certificate.with that my gender will legally become female as well.
It feels good to be able to be recognized legally the way that I see myself. In the coming weeks I will change my information everywhere. I have more exciting things to write about as time goes on. Thank you all for reading.
One last thing. You will notice that www.transbutterfly.com now takes you to a full blown website. This is a startup and a work in progress. I will continue to improve it in an effort to better serve the trans* community and our allies. Thank you for your support.
"Nothing is too girly and nothing is too masculine. But I do love color, and maybe that's a little girly - especially pink." Stacy London