I’ve been working on my name change over the past year. Getting your name changed legally is only the first hurdle, there are so many other things to do and hoops to jump through. You need the legal document to make all the actual changes. Social Security, Drivers License those are the two big, immediate ones that are needed. Then you follow the rabbit down the name game hole. Car & Home insurance, credit cards were oddly the easiest things to change for me, all their customer service reps were very helpful. Utilities weren’t hard to change at all, I did most of them over the phone. I had a bit of a problem with our ISP (Comporium) but it got sorted in the end. Store cards were very hard to change, like Lowe’s (hardware store), it took some time to get it changed. I recently got our marriage certificate changed in Asheville, they were very nice and it didn’t cost a thing!
The real problem is that many who have an online presence, still had that deadname displayed when I signed in. “Welcome, [Deadname]!” There it was, just staring me in the face, and I had to look at it while I paid their bills. I was able to get some of them changed by talking to their customer service about that issue specifically, some are still present even now. I’ve had good results for those customer service people who know what to look for, what tables to change. But some of these companies have remote websites, not handled by the companies themselves, that is where the problem is I believe. It doesn’t kill me to see the name, but I have worked hard to seperate that name from my life. While it doesn’t kill me, it’s painful. It represents not only my condition, being born transgender, but it also reminds me of my inability to come out until so late in life. This name is now so much harder to shake because of my cowardice, my willingness to live such a long time for other people to be comfortable. So that battle is ongoing and I may never completely fix every instance of “deadnaming by database”.
I was able to get both our vehicle titles changed, so I was really happy about this. I did, I jumped up and down a little and exclaimed to my wife. I was worried, as I had mailed off both titles, name change form, legal name change document and checks months ago. I hadn’t heard anything at all and I wondered where I would even start my phone calls to find out what was going on or if there was something more I needed to do. Turns out, the DMV takes a while. I received both in the mail at the same time, my relief was palpable.
I had sent out my DD-214 (military service record) change request and my Consular Report of Birth Abroad amendment request at the same time as the vehicle titles. I was wondering what had become of both of these and a few days after my titles came in, I got an email from the Board Analysis Division, AFBCMR letting me know that my application for changes to my DD-214 is now in review! Nothing yet on my Birth certificate, but it would take a while as it has to go through review from the American consulate in Germany and with the covid-19 most things are either shut down or slowed down. I remain optimistic that these will pass review and they will be changed to reflect the correct information. The hardest part is waiting, but once these steps complete I shouldn’t have any more deadname surprises?… she says quizzically.
Aside from this topic, I want to acknowledge that this is a very stressful time for everyone. A virus doesn’t care about your political affiliation, conspiracy theories or the sudden expertise of non-medical laymen. Please stay inside and be safe if you can. Essential workers, like me, don’t want anyone to get sick and suffer the lingering effects of the virus even if you survive it. Follow the rules, wear your mask, keep your distance. Get through this. Here are some links that may help.
Trans specific information on Covid-19. https://transequality.org/covid19
Trans resource and support. https://www.translifeline.org/
Free validation text service for Trans people https://www.validationstation.net/
A list of LGBTQ funding resources https://lgbtfunders.org/covid-19-response/