Well, it’s that time of the year again. The weather is getting colder, the holiday season has officially started, and the time for reconciliation is more important than ever as we approach a new decade.
I thought I’d finish what one of my friends was trying to post on here regarding finding your identity, and making people respect that, not only for moral or ethical reasons, but also on a legal one, as well. I have had a bit of issues with this, but not nearly as much, at least not yet, anyway.
First of all, I believe that we have grown accustomed to naming and giving our kids an identity based on what their personality or physique reminds of of. No doubt we do the same with our pets. We automatically give them names that will remain with them for life, or until, if it is a human, or a pet who is smart enough to know that they like a different name and refuse to come to you when you call them by that name, they would have an opportunity to redefine their identity later.
Also, I want to emphasise that nobody here asked to be brought into this world. That’s why it is important that we not disown them or make their lives harder just for being themselves. Our parents brought us here, and their parents brought our parents here, and so on and so forth. How many people have said to themselves or others, I never wanted to be here? I’m sure we’ve been down that road. I know I have. That’s why I wrote my testimony.
I never asked to be brought into the world. I never asked to be born with a condition that would cost me my eyesight, and later, most of my hearing. I never asked to be put into conditions I have no control over now. I never asked to be dealt these cards. But, thanks to how things turned out, and thanks to the direction my life had taken, I am still living at home with an older brother who has fought for control of self-determination, and several legal battles to attend. I could’ve gone to college when I was just out of high school, but nobody told me things I was going to come across until it was too late. But, because I am being civilly disobedient, I refuse to do anything with school until the situation has been remedied.
However, there are some things I will not change about myself. I am proud of having discovered who I am, who I should’ve been born as, how I should’ve been addressed all my life, and what things I should’ve had a long time ago. The only problem is that a lot of people assume that I wasn’t born that way, I just chose to be that way and put on this persona that isn’t really me, that I am just pretending. No, I am not pretending at all. This is the true, real me. I had to grow up and grow into a new body, mind and spirit. Is it called coming out of the cupboard? Is it like coming out of one’s shell? Maybe it’s more about coming into something, finding your true name.
Have you heard of people who rechristen their crafts to improve their luck? That’s how it is for me. I rechristened myself. I gave myself the identity that was so erroneously shoved onto me by what my parents thought was appropriate for me at the time. I got rid of the identity that was associated with negative memories and had trauma and abuse attached to it. I can’t say that I grew out of it, though, because it would imply that I liked it, but I decided later that it wasn’t for me.
However, when people look at me, they don’t see the real me. They see someone who they automatically perceive to be masculine. That is not how I want to be perceived, but I can’t help the way I look. And, while I cannot see how I look, I would imagine that it would look as if I were seeing a stranger in a Photograph.
Someone told me, long ago, I was broken and it stuck. Strong Enough by Bobby Joe Valentine.
I have been asked by people in the LGBTQIA+ community why, if I don’t like being called male pronouns, do I not transition to a female binary gender? Well, I chose to legally recognise my gender as nonbinary because I think it is easier for me to look androgynous. If I could look more female, I would do it in a heartbeat. But, this is what I have to work with. That’s why, more than ever, I want these groundbreaking procedures to reach clinical trials by the 2020’s. We don’t have to be defined by anybody else. Fractal, by Kim Boekbinder.
So, it’s a bitter pill to swallow, and it’s one I have to swallow almost every day. What can I do to reduce the potency of this pill? What switches would I need to flick so that I wouldn’t have to deal with this any more? What can I do if I find somebody who says to me, I don’t care what your birth certificate, court order, ID, etc says. I’ve made up my mind and you can’t change it. I’ll call you by whatever I feel like calling you. That hasn’t happened to me yet, but I still wonder….
I heard that in some places, you can get your birth certificate changed at the administrative level without having to go to court and potentially publishing your name change in the newspaper or anywhere else. The only thing you would’ve needed was a doctor’s note or a note from a sworn health authority that affirmed your gender identity. Quite a few states are starting to legally recognise third gender markers, but the federal government is not yet one of them. Even state agencies still have to report the number of men and women they report, so even if you chose a gender that wasn’t what the Social Security Administration had on file, it should have no effect on what services you were getting. So, you would just have to choose the option that feels the least uncomfortable. But, that’s one of the things I like about the professional world. When you change your name, they will go back and update everything and make it look as if you always had that name. This doesn’t happen everywhere. For example, baptism registries will still have your old name. If you were written about in the media (good or bad) those will still have your old name. The sad news is that they have no legal obligation for them to update it. I even had to remove my Deadname from places like MyLife and various on-line listing directories. I may also choose to vote confidentially, as well.
Unfortunately, I was told that there may be certain entities that will not accept a birth certificate as proof of name change. I mean, you could say, Well, who can argue the validity of the certificate? You can’t argue with a doctor. Similarly, you can’t argue with a lawyer or judge, especially if they have PH.Ds. It is official as it gets. However, I was lucky in that Oregon has amended a statute that wouldn’t require you to go to a hearing or publish the name change in the newspaper. All I needed to do was attest that I was going through surgical, hormonal, or other treatment for the purposes of affirming gender identity. That resulted in the judge ordering that my old name be replaced with my new legal name… the name I’ve always wanted and should’ve had, as well as legally recognising me as gender nonbinary. The judge also ordered the court records to be sealed, so that nobody could access them. What that means depends on the state you are in. For example, in Colorado, they can destroy and expunge the record after a few years. In other states, they are simply suppressed from the public. That is in case you need to buy extra copies of your court order.
Not everybody is so lucky. There is a judge here in Oregon who is refusing to issue gender nonbinary markers, of which several amici curiae briefs have been prepared by Basic Rights Oregon and American Civil Liberties Union. UPDATE: We won our case at the Oregon Supreme Court in July of 2020.
Anyway, I have thought hard about what I should do now that I have a key to unlock many locks. Could I use it in a situation where someone insists on Deadnaming or misgendering me? I found this Quora post to be pretty interesting. My therapist said that I should not jump to the big things, but rather, think on a micro-level scale first before going to the macro-level. For example, should I sue someone just because they called me sir or man? Why not see if they are willing to listen and be trained accordingly? I have thought of how I would want to be respectfully addressed if I didn’t feel comfortable with either sir or ma’am. I found a nonbinary style guide that lists some alternatives to using gendered language.
Because of my hearing loss, I have a greater tendency to sound more masculine when I talk on the phone, but sometimes I am called madamme and I always feel warm and fuzzy when they do. Of course, it’s hard to do that in person, unless the person I was talking to was completely blind. This actually happened to me a few months ago when I went to a retreat. Someone addressed me as lady, girl, and possibly something else, and oh my gosh! How I loved it when they did!!!
Sometimes, though, it can have really bad repercussions when your voice tells others which gender you most likely are, and it doesn’t match your name. In May of 2018, for instance, I called my bank to check my account, and the interactive voice response system told me that there were some suspicious charges, but I recognised all of them, so I tried to mark them as such. Unfortunately, there was a technical glitch in their system, and I ended up being transferred to a customer service representative. I told them my Deadname and everything since this was before I had legally changed it, but they said that they were not able to access my account. I told them that I was already aware of the potential fraudulent activity, and I told them who I was, and they asked me to verify all of my personal information, which I did accordingly. They said that my caller ID didn’t match the name they had on file, so they advised me to go to my branch. So, I decided to call from a different phone, but I still had the same issue. I told them that I had Legal and ID Shield, and that I was going to follow up with them. So, when I went to the branch later that morning to get that sorted out, the banker told me that there were some comments about how a female had called, yelling about how she was going to call an attorney, and I was, like, that female was I! I was the one who called and said that. They initially thought that I had someone who helped me with my banking, and I said that no one else knew my personal information except my mother, who never accessed my bank account, anyway.
Anyhow, I would like to detail two situations, both good and bad, in which I was able to redirect the conversation. In the first situation, I went to accompany the majority of the group participants to an activity, and I met somebody there who remembered me from my O&M days. Of course, I didn’t know anything about them. So, when they asked me what my name was, I gave them my new, legal name. Sometime later, they asked me if I knew Deadname. I was, like, huh? Did I hear you aright? I asked them to repeat the question. I said that I didn’t know anyone with that name. They were, like, ‘Oh, well, he was in your group, too.’ I felt so happy when that person couldn’t associate me with that name!
A few days later, my mum and I went somewhere. One thing to note, however, was that I have estranged from certain family members and relatives. I do not want them to know about my legal name change until after I had moved out, and I am a long distance away from them. Therefore, when we went to this place, she had informed the staff what my name was. Only, of course, she didn’t know that I had legally changed it. Instead, she gave them my Deadname. So, when I got home and saw the E-mails I have requested, they all bore my old legal name. So, I wrote back and attached the court order to prove to them that I no longer used that name.
Oh, and one more situation that I didn’t remember until now: I have had a bit of a problem changing my name with Experian and CreditKarma because I have been getting correspondences from them under my old name. So, I called my LegalShield provider firm and told them the situation. They were able to write up a letter, and we heard back from them, and they sent me a new credit report with my new legal name on it.
Now, it’s a matter of fact before I need to let other people know. For instance, if my mother writes a will, she may use my old legal name. But I think it should be okay if I still have a copy of the court order and birth certificate that show my old and new legal name.
Basically, because I’ve worked so hard on this name change, I call it a transition more than anything because this represented a sort of self discovery and me finding out who I really was, rather than something a small amount of closed-minded people said that what they refer me as is what they think I am and what they think I should be.
That’s how little and how unfavourably and how disconnected I was to that name. I didn’t feel like me. Of course, when I filled out the paperwork, I had to give a more compelling reason because I knew that just saying I didn’t like it, while it may or might not have been sufficient, to me to just simply say I didn’t like it as a reason wasn’t good enough in terms of effort. I’m sure most judges would accept ‘because I just don’t like it’ as a reason, but I wanted the judge to have some sympathy for me as far as the fact that, in most states, in order to change your name, you need to publish your intentions in a newspaper. Being forced to publish that in the newspaper would’ve jeopardised my safety, as I would’ve had to give them so much personal information, it’s unreal. All digressing aside, I’m glad I’m part of a protected group. I used the fact that we still live in a world where it’s still unsafe to be LGBT, and the judge basically waived all fees, waived my requirement to publish my name change and even sealed my case after it was all done, and after a while those case documents get destroyed.
With me, though, I don’t think I have much a case to sue anyone for disrespecting my name choice because, although I’m LGBT (being that I’m gay) I’m” not trans or gender queer or non binary so I can’t really use that as a cause of action, as I went from one name to another for the same gender.
But I digress. I was this 15 or 16 year old who wrote songs about coming out in my own identity, but I didn’t even know what the hell it meant to have an identity, let alone what it meant to come into my own! Now I see what it really means to have an identity and to come into your own. I look at it like this, and this may make me very unpopular in the LGBT community, maybe even hated, but why should I come out of the closet? It seems so inauthentic and like I’m drawing too much attention to myself. The way I see it, if someone asks me, ‘Am I out?’ we should just say, ‘Out? Out of where? I’m in, I came into my own.’ What do I need to come out from under, and why should I come out of a closet I never knew I was even supposed to be in in the first place!
Franzen Crosby. So, Show me love on this living planet. Emma’s Revolution and Hundred Waters.
Those are some snippets of stuff one of my friends had written. Basically, no matter whether you are transgender, gender nonbinary, or gender nonconforming, or even someone who is not in the LGBTQIA+ community, you would still be going through a transition. I think the word transition should not only be used to refer to people who change from one gender identity to another, but to anyone who changes any aspect of their life in a significant way.
Therefore, if and when I have children, I will try to give them gender-neutral identities and refer to them as my child, and have them call me by portmanteaus of parent, mother, father, mum, dad, aunt, aunkle, niece, nephew, etc. Or, I can just have them call me by my first name, or an entirely made-up name or something in a different language. When they’re old enough to the point they start talking, I’ll have an initial conversation about whether they like their identity. I’ll have this conversation with them periodically at each milestone they complete. I want them to realise that they can’t rely on me to define who they are. They need to live their lives for themselves. I’ll be like, ‘Do you like your name? Do you like being called these pronouns?’ If they say yes, that’s great. If they say no, then we’ll have a discusson on how we can address the problem, so that they won’t have to go through what I, and so many others, had to go through.
So, together we’ll shout it out like a bird set free. Sia.
Though the world may be cold and bitter, and we may be delicate and bruised, we will neither be destroyed nor our roots be pulled. Witch Hazel by Tom Gala. And believe me, we’ll make it, one way or another. We must learn to help one another through these times and do whatever we can to uplift one another.
So, Now that I’ve about covered nearly all my past history since the last time I’ve posted in 2014 to 2019, I wanted to talk a little more about some of the mysteries of the brain based on some new experiences I’ve had and information I’ve gathered. Starting in the new year, I will talk about some interesting things that might bring us closer to winning a long-fought war.