Here I am again complaining about my name usage. I first wrote about issues connected with my name back last October in It’s a Name Thing. Back, then not a lot of people knew I was Stephie instead of my birth name (which I am now not using even to refer to me at all do not use whenever possible). This name thing post is about having to use my legal name (birth name). I will describe some of the instances were I must use it. Some cases where I have to use it, but can be referred to as Stephie. Then, why I don’t like having to use it. And finally, what I have and am going to do about it.
Not to long ago I posted I am Not a Sir about being misgendered. This post is related to being misgendered because my birth name is smack dab male (I won’t say what it is, and I hope to make clear why). So, if someone addresses me or refers to me by my birth name, I feel misgendered, which is one of the most dysphoric of feelings I deal with, and I feel the opposite when gendered correctly by someone using my name Stephie, like all is right with the world (or my little zone of it for that moment).
One of the worse things I encounter that bothers me is calling the cab. I am in a special discount program, and have to use my legal name. The damn thing robos “Hello . . . ” I hate it. And then the reservation taker asks my name and I have to speak it. Drives me crazy. Of course, I get misgendered. I have the same issue with having to use my legal name for some health providers over the phone. It is fine in the office, because I can use my preferred name. But, over the phone my legal name is link to my record, and using Stephie will not enable them to find my record. With a few of my providers I can use my preferred name over the phone as it is link directly to my records. Also at the pharmacy if the tech doesn’t know me I have to tell them my legal name so they can look up my orders.
I am consistently being called Stephie by those I know. Even my girlfriend now calls me Stephie, or Stephie! if she wants my attention, the majority of the time. I am almost properly referred to by feminine pronouns too by her. There are some that I know that will probably never call me Stephie. One case is a Bible believing Christian I felt compelled to come out to because she gives rides to appointments for me and my girlfriend. Another case maybe my parents. For one they don’t have the occasion to call me by my name much. And I am not even sure my mother is with it enough to realize my situation. When I came out to my parents her face was blank, not from shock or incomprehension, but from not even registering what I had said, or so it seemed. When I talk on the phone with my father he doesn’t use either name.†
So, in most of my today to today life, I am called Stephie, but there are times when I have to use my birth (or legal name). My insurance is medicare/medicaid and I have to use my legal name at times in reference to it. Like for techs at the pharmacy as I mentioned before that don’t know I am Stephie. It appears that all my doctor’s accept Stephie as my preferred name, but there still might be times when that will not be honored for some reason or another.
I am in the process of changing my name to Stephie everywhere that it does not require a legal name change. I have done this on goodreads, a social book website, where several of my friends there accepted me warmly, and have made new friends as Stephie since my name and gender change; they allow transgender woman as a gender marker. I have also change my username at Amazon. So all my reviews now appear as Stephie. When I order online I use Stephie.
I do plan on changing my name legally. Stephie will definitely be my first name; I am undecided on a middle name, although I am leaning towards Iris. My first move though on the way to a legal name change will be a change of gender marker on my state ID card. In Maryland you just need to walk into a MVA office and request that they put it on your ID or License. I was going to do it and then the coronavirus health crisis hit. So, that is postponed for now, but one of the first major things I will do when things open back up.
The legal name change I hope to do by the time hrt produces visible effects (that should be by the end of the year), and for my voice feminization training to show significant change in pitch. I don’t want to go before a judge, which is required in Maryland, looking fully masculine in my body and sounding like a man. There is also the matter of a filing fee. I believe there are organizations that can help out with that with grants, and maybe provide a lawyer to accompany you when you have your court date. I am somewhat unsure of the first and more unsure about the second of these things. But once done, my birth certificate will be able to be changed to Stephie as a legal first name and a middle name of my choosing along with the proper gender marker.
Also with this in hand and behind me I can work on changing my name on my Social Security and Medicare documents, including cards. I will also be able to change my name with the IRS although I have not needed to file for years. With the legal name change along with it being changed at Social Security I can change my name on financial documents, and with the change at Medicare I will be legally Stephie to medical providers, not just using Stephie as a preferred name. Preferred naming is nice, but it is not as of yet 100% effective in being called Stephie and being gendered correctly. It has gotten pretty good though. And I do like it very much.
So, there you have it some current things that are happening with my name, and future changes to come.
† Unfortunately, I have a new thing to add. For the first time since I came out to my parents during the holidays, my father used a name on the phone just recently, and it was not Stephie; it was my birth name. I had a sinking feeling in my heart as I heard it. He was saying he had to go to fix dinner, so I had no time to reply. Now I am unsure what to do the next time we talk on the phone. It happen again on Mother’s day when he asked to talk with my mom, and then he used my birth name once again. It looks like I am going to have to have a discussion with him.