Wednesday, October 15, 2008

let me get this straight.

When I tried to change my name last year, I was denied by the judge because I hadn't provided "proof of a sex change" and I was going from (in his opinion!) a female name to a male name.

It makes me just spitting mad to think about the prejudice I (and many others) have faced when trying to do something as simple as getting a namechange....particularly when I read that this girl has no problems changing her name to "CutOutDissection.com", or I remember that would-be Senator in Idaho who changed his name to "Pro-Life."

So, let's see. "CutOutDissection.com" is a fine, valid legal name. "Eli" is not.

Many, many other trans folks have faced and continue to face this same problem- being pressured to provide "proof" of various and arbitrary medical procedures before being allowed to choose a different name for themselves, and having to jump through hoops and hurdles and obstacles, which they may or may not have had time to pursue. I was fortunate- I had a full-time, well-benefitted job at which I'd accrued personal time that I used in order to make the multiple trips down to the Courthouse during business hours. Eventually, I had contacts at the ACLU that allowed me to get a lawyer to file a brief on my behalf and let me get my name changed. Many other trans people don't have such resources and, more importantly, they shouldn't have to!

I believe CutOut and ProLife have the right to change their names to whatever they want, no matter how far-out their motivation. Because hey, guess what? If you're not trying to avoid debt or commit fraud, you are legally allowed to change your name to whatever you want!

It's just another example of how trans people get systematically discriminated against. No one asks you about the status of your genitals if you try to change your name, regardless if it's Jane Doe or VoteForObama McGee or Sugarplum PezDispenser...unless you're a transsexual! Then they want proof of what's in your pants.

3 comments:

Mordecai said...

that is serious bullshit (the injustice you pointed out, not the fact that you pointed it out). And that's all I have to say about that

kkryno said...

It's not within this judge's power to tell someone whether they can change their name. It's only the ability to grant the name change that has been given to the judicial system. Once again, the legal system has over-stepped the boundaries that the people have outlined as their function. Amazing!

trent said...

what's incredibly odd is that eli is (in MY opinion!) one of the more gender-neutral names you could have chosen. i mean, i know like half a dozen girls named eli. it's a very common "girl" name.

for what it's worth, my county court was like, 'eh, whatevs,' when i changed my name. it was a total non-event. i didn't even have to see a judge! i just filled out a little form and the secretary whisked it away to be signed.

i wonder if these difficulties have to do with name-changers disclosing that they're trans or have gender-related motivations for a name change? again, it sucks that transfolks would think to hide their identity just to grease legal wheels, but in the case of a name change, disclosure is really not necessary. i thought it best to just leave my transness out of the equation when i applied for a name change -- i think i wrote in 'i like trent better' or 'personal preference' on my application. seriously! whether this uncomplicated the process for me or not, i have no idea -- but i will say no one gave me or my paperwork a second glance.

not backing up these douchebags, just saying there are (at times) simple/painless/lawyerless ways to get around them, get what you want, and get gone.