In celebration to officially having my name changed I decided to write about one of the privileges Cis people often have over transgender folks. This privilege is the fact that trans people often have to worry about how to pay for things, or even enjoying a night out without outing oneself. This is a huge issue for the unfortunate members of the trans community who have yet to have their name changed. Having identification, or credit cards that have a name that doesn’t match your identity can become quite the burden. There are ways to get around it but there are plenty of situations that require you to use these things.
I learned early in my transition that the easiest way for me to avoid these situations is to carry cash to pay for things and basically to not go out to places that require identification. That second part was relatively difficult considering I play in a band that mostly plays in bars. I have been carded countless times over the past few years but luckily, I can actually say there hasn’t been too many complications despite that statistic. I tell myself this is because bar tenders are mostly looking at birth dates, or even better they are just swiping your ID through a machine. This may have saved me from a few awkward situations.
One of my other tricks to avoiding the need to out myself was to do my shopping online. After experiencing dysphoria from having packages sent to my birth name for too long my curiosity found me an even better perk to online shopping. I learned that most websites didn’t question the fact that I was using “Claire” instead of my birth name to make my orders. As long as I used the name that was on the card for the billing info there was never an issue. It’s amazing how much better receiving a package can be when the name on it matches your identity! Something so little had such an impact on me feeling comfortable in my own skin. I feel as though putting this into such perspective can help a lot of cis people understand us a little better.
I wanted so badly to have my name change completed early in my transition but at the time I knew nothing about what I needed to do and even worse was my financial situation. Without a lawyer I had to rely on my research skills to achieve my goal. After many mistakes and some wasted money I eventually found my way out of the maze of changing my name. I had to wait for what felt like forever but from this day forward all that will change. Even though I won’t have to deal with this anymore I will not give up our battle to make these things easier for the rest of us. The process for changing your name may be easier in some countries, but here in the U.S. they make it very challenging. The hoops we have to go through could easily be altered but this is just another example of what needs to be done to gain equality.