Transman went and filled out paperwork for his official name change this week. He is tired of having the female name on paperwork, employee emails, etc., being incongruent with his physical presentation. Not only does it have a negative impact on Transman every time he sees the name, it makes him feel vulnerable. People who ask for his ID and see a woman’s name and picture while Transman looks and sounds like a guy may not always be understanding and sympathetic. Transman doesn’t want to give anyone a reason to try to hurt him or his family, and unfortunately, living in the Deep South does put them at risk for physical attack if people think he’s “trying to pull a fast one.”
If all goes well, in a few weeks, there will be no excuse for people to use the old name. On the job, people will have to use the correct name even if they have personal disagreements with what Transman is doing. His friends can openly call him by his male name. It will also reinforce things with his family.
Most important, Transman will feel comfortable introducing himself as himself. As silly as it may sound, Transman sometimes doesn’t know how to introduce himself to new people. If people from his past are present, he sometimes has a hard time saying the male name if they aren’t in on the transition (such as the coworkers who haven’t been informed of his transition by management yet) or if they’re not consistent about using his male name. Sometimes, he simply feels weird giving a name that he doesn’t have matching ID for.
Transman knows people go by nicknames or their middle names all the time, but he never has, so introducing himself by the male name sometimes seems like he’s pretending. On one level, Transman knows a piece of paper or plastic bearing a name doesn’t make it any more real than a name that is spoken aloud. But, having a legal name change will be one more step in legitimizing Transman’s identity (yes, Foucault and Bogard, you win; I fully participate in the panopticonic/telematic societies of your writings.)