Just fill out the forms, sir

“Back before I talked to chairs, I was a badass.” Clint Eastwood as Transman, the most dangerous man who ever lived or made a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

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.)

“Oh, there goes Transman trying to look smart again. Please, Transman, stop referencing me since you really have no idea what my books are about.” Michel Foucault as himself.

“I don’t mind if you want to drive traffic to my books, Transman, but you really need to write more about jazz and finish up your Friday Five Blues series already.” Bill Bogard as himself.

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29 responses to “Just fill out the forms, sir

  • Zander Keig

    Big move, brother! Congratulations!!

  • ShortButFast

    I still have a couple of documents in my old name floating about (changed passport/bank card/student ID but not driving license as I’m not driving just now and didn’t see the point). They ultimately don’t make much of a difference but I get what you’re saying about seeing the name written down “legitimizing” everything.

  • Jessica Sideways

    Yeah, I remember how rough it was for me before I got that piece of paper that officially made me Jessica Sideways. I’m very glad I did, however, as it makes for a lot less embarrassment when I have to deal with the establishment.

    • transparentguy

      Yeah, I have a feeling I have another move or two ahead of me and probably new jobs, new schools for the kids, etc., and it will just be easier to put the male name down on the forms and be done with it. I don’t necessarily want to live in stealth, but I feel like there are some people who really don’t need to know my medical history and if I have mis-matching ID, it forces me to explain the situation to everyone from the principal of my son’s school to the cashier at the grocery store.

      • Zander Keig

        I like to differentiate between being stealth (denotes secrecy) and being a non/low discloser (denotes privacy).

      • transparentguy

        Yes. Exactly. Thanks for the explanation.

      • Jessica Sideways

        Well, believe it or not, Colorado actually has some very progressive laws regarding trans* rights. However, the trans* community here has a lot of bickering and in-fighting.

        I’ve always found that interesting, and I often mused about how Houston has a sucky population but a great trans* community but Denver has a great population but a sucky trans* community.

  • Alison

    Congratulations!! I am so very happy for you and can’t wait to hear that you have those seemingly simple, yet so very important, pieces of plastic and paper in your sticky mitts!

    I really am so happy about this. I can’t imagine how you have dealt with this, and reckon you are one of the strongest people I know.

    Enjoy the first envelope correctly addressed!! xx

    • Alison

      Yikes! Just to clarify, Allan pointed out that “sticky mitts” here means that a five finger discount has taken place… Where I come from “sticky mitts” is an affectionate term for hands.

      Please know that I meant it affectionately as your hands. Not that you hold up banks…

  • transparentguy

    I understood what you meant. Don’t panic; no thoughts of bank robbing went through my mind.

    Thank you for the good wishes and support.

  • walkwiththerabbi

    Mazel Tov mon ami. If this will enhance the overall quality of your and your families lives on multiple levels, including that of safety, I’m so very pleased. You’re a great Dad. The older the kids get, the smarter you’re going to become in their eyes. Blessings to you and yours.

  • Stacie Chadwick

    Your posts always make me smile with a kind of turned down corner on one side. The pointed corner doesn’t mean I’m sad, just that I somehow understand. =/

  • kbcolorado

    Just read your in limbo piece. Congrats transman you are my hero!

  • ginak2012

    Congrats on the name change-big step! :)

  • americantransman

    Congrats brother. Big step.

    It’s been two years for me and my old name still pops up here and there. It’s hard to find all of the places it’s hiding. Hope you ferret them all out in short time.

  • SummerSolsticeGirl

    Yay for filling out the paperwork! Congratulations

  • Eris of Discord

    Hey Transman,

    I read, against my better judgement, the story ’bout the rulings of that Oklahoma judge, and it made me break down and cry. People do love to pile misery on themselves and others, don’t they? I hate to foul the word love with that truth, but it’s how it is, isn’t it. Hah, yeah, pull a fast one indeed. If I ever meet that judge I might be moved to say a few things. I doubt they’d do me or my friends and close family any credit, honestly. My temper flares hot when it comes to issues like this.

    On a note about name change, I’ve been blessed with an androgynous name that works out for me, but I’ve been thinking of changing its full version to the short one; I think I could get used to going by just Sam, you know? Especially when long versions any of the other ways (Samantha, Samson, Samuel etc.) drive me up the wall and make me grit my teeth and/or wince. It’s more out of habit now than actual pain, I’m numbed to that a bit, but I shouldn’t HAVE to be numbed to it. It’s a short name change. I sign stuff as ‘Sam’, have since I first decided I was gender fluid, and I don’t see that changing much.

    People using the familiar long version of my name in reference to me if they’re in my FAMILY or have KNOWN me for a long time, now that is common. Especially if people introduce me by that long version. I’m too shy to say ‘No, just call me Sam please’ unless I’m the one doing the introduction. It also hurts when my mother or father introduces me as ‘this is my [insert pertinent noun indicating child’s physical sex here], Sam’

    Now, I have nothing against the last part of that (the name), and I understand that rather than saying ‘insert pertinent noun indicating neutral gender here’ it’s probably easier and more convenient to just use [daughter/son], but it makes me uncomfortable anyway. ONE DAY I WILL AWAY FROM MY FAMILY’S CLUTCHES! Until then I’ll put up with their forgetfulness.

    Well I erased two paragraphs of rant, here, trying to tidy up because I don’t want to hurt your eyes, Transman, but honestly I just wish, in short, that people would get along. I don’t care about comeuppance or whose fault it ends up being at because that’s all relative junk. I just wish people didn’t need to fight and suffer over it all. We don’t all need to agree, we just need to suppress our own individual urges to crusade, to lead and alpha for everyone we consider beta– it’s ridiculous! We’ve got stars to explore and the wonders of the universe to find and we’re stuck here on this planet arguing about whether some supercosmic explosion started the world or whether it was all from an omnipotent creator, and honestly? What does it matter? We’re not going to find it out just sitting here! We need to get our butts in gear! We’re all different, we’ve always known that, but do we really need to get into fights about it???

    <3s to infinity and beyond,

    PS: Whoa off track. I also wanted to say congratulations on your name change paperwork. That's pretty cool, you know?? I know it'll all go well. I just have this feeling. Even if it's the deep south I'm sure it'll work out in your favor. I guess I'd better go grab something to eat and mow the lawn now. Just thought I'd check in (that is a thing that I do once in a while).

    • transparentguy

      I wish my parents had given me a gender-neutral name, or even one that could be shortened to such. But, no, they gave me a first and middle name that are unmistakably feminine.

      Sorry the link made you upset. I put it in so others could see some of the issues transgender people face. There’s a lot we can’t take for granted.

      You will be out of your family’s daily orbit soon enough, but the ties are always there. It’s hard to hear those pronouns and the other things that show how hard it is for the ones you love to conceive of you as you do.

      Hope the lawn is all even.

  • Fathead Follies

    Congratulations on another step in your journey.

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