My full name

15 Mar

I have been going by the short version of my name for a few months now, which for the purposes of anonymity I’m going to say is Alex as opposed to Alexandra (neutral as opposed to feminine). The other day I was filling out yet another online form, which asked for my “full name.” I reflexively typed Alexandra.

Then I felt hot all over, and vaguely sick, and started at the blank for much longer than necessary before saying “Fuck it!” and changing it to Alex. I immediately felt a bit better … but the uneasy feeling lingered for several hours.

This is the first time my dysphoria has been triggered by my full name. In this situation, I had the benefit of not really needing to put my full name, because it wasn’t asking for the name on my credit card or my social security card. It was just an online poll and potential gift card win.

But this isn’t the usual situation. In most situations where I’ll be asked to write my name on a form, I’m going to have to put my full legal name. Apparently I’m going to be tripping over dysphoria every time I have to fill out an official form.

I would go out and change it this year, but I’m moving in with Girlfriend in a few years, and we’ve already decided to change our names when we move in together. I don’t want to have to change my social security card, bank info, etc., twice in such a short amount of time. I guess I could go ahead and hyphenate my last name with hers, but I was looking forward to doing it alongside her.

My impression of the process is that it’s not that difficult, legally, although there’s tons of paperwork. I assume that because I’m just shortening my name, rather than changing it entirely or to a definitively masculine name, it will be easier to convince a judge to let me change my first name. Since Girlfriend and I will most likely be living in a liberal area, I also assume getting our last names hyphenated without a marriage certificate will not be that difficult.

I know that others do not have those privileges, and I feel awful knowing some people must face transphobic judges. I know I also have an easy time of getting people to call me Alex and don’t have to fight about it. My family has been doing it for years, and my offline friends were mostly just slightly confused and then accepting because hey, it’s still kind of the name they’ve always been calling me.

Which makes the road easier, for me. Hopefully it won’t be too long until the paperwork issue is also sorted out, and I have one less thing to trigger the dysphoria.


6 Responses to “My full name”

  1. maddox March 15, 2011 at 10:05 PM #

    I’m in this exact situation at the moment, where my close family and friends have always called me by the shortened name as a nickname, and now inadvertently people at work also call me by that, which means it has become more of an identity / gender issue than it was before.

    I am from another country (two others), but live in the US, which brings the total to 3 countries, so I’m don’t know if legally changing my name is a good idea. Besides, I’m unsure if I want to keep the shortened version (which honestly sounds a bit awkward in English, but it is mine and my parents’) or change it to another one, or leave it be and just deal.

    • ace eccentric March 15, 2011 at 11:11 PM #

      I always feel very embarassed on behalf of the US immigration/citizenship/etc. system. I don’t know what the legal complications could be, but if it has bad consequences and prevents you from doing something you want I’m sorry you have to deal with that.

      There are a lot of options when it comes to names. I hope you find something that fits you and that you’re comfortable with using all the time, even if you decide not to (or can’t) get it changed legally.

  2. TomboySissie March 15, 2011 at 10:12 PM #

    I know the feeling. It hurts even more for me that there is no gender-neutral short form of my name. Luckily, I live in an area where changing your name is very easy. All I have to do is fill out the paperwork and get fingerprinted for a criminal record check.

    I suspect you’ve already checked on the requirements, so it might not be true for you, but a lot of places have removed the requirement to talk to a judge.

    This is a positive change, I feel.

    • ace eccentric March 15, 2011 at 10:24 PM #

      I haven’t checked the specific requirements, since I’ll be living in another state when I go to get it changed, but I know in my state you have to speak to a judge. My parents recently went to court for their divorce, and before the judge heard our case, there was a girl getting her name changed.

      It would be a positive change if more areas went to a more streamlined system like that. It would be much easier to access. I hope your name-change goes smoothly!

  3. Meike March 19, 2011 at 9:16 PM #

    I also know the feeling. The jury is still out on the name change (no pun intended), but the legal name/preferred name dilemma been somewhat of an issue for me with all this ridiculous paperwork Germany’s bureaucracy needs me to fill out every other week just to study here. Very frustrating.

    • ace eccentric March 19, 2011 at 9:40 PM #

      Ahh, bureaucracy. I’ve luckily not had to deal with such paperwork issues in my life (yet) but my mom has dealt with a lot of bureaucracy and I know it can be completely awful. I hope the rest of your stay in Germany (however long it is) goes as smoothly as possible.

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