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What’s in a name? When you’re transgender, everything

On Behalf of | Oct 2, 2020 | Uncategorized |

A lot of people hate their names. After all, a name is something that’s usually handed to you right after you are born, so it isn’t like anybody asked your permission before hanging it on you. That causes a lot of people to grow up with names that they feel ill-suited to carry.

For a transgender person, however, a name that doesn’t suit them is much more than a mild annoyance or something they prefer to hide under a nickname. Their “dead name,” or the name they used prior to coming out and transitioning, can be a weight they continue to carry around with them long after they have virtually erased that prior identity.

It can also be a big source of stress and fear. Carrying around identification with a name that seems to belong to a person of another gender can create a lot of problems and emotional discomfort whenever they have to pull out those documents.

Imagine, for example, being a trans woman who worries about being challenged over the bathroom she uses and having an ID that carries a male name in her pocket. Imagine having to worry about whether the receptionist at your doctor’s office is transphobic if you’re a trans man who has insurance cards and an ID with a female name.

These are more than just fears. A survey of transgender Americans indicated that 32% of those with IDs that conflict with their gender presentation had experienced harassment, intimidation, physical assaults, refusal of service or a denial of benefits as a result.

Changing your name legally isn’t that hard — but it can be intimidating to try to handle it on your own when your transgender. If you’re ready to make a new name for yourself, contact our office today. We can help.