Around 2 months ago, I got my name legally changed. This was a more difficult task than I had anticipated, largely due to the incompetence of the circuit court, however, I thought that would be the end of it. Instead, over two months out I am still trying to get my name changed on all my accounts, IDs, and documents. It seems that every week I find another place where I need to update my name and they never make it easy. Instead, it is a hassle to get places to update their records or to change account names.
I had a pretty solid plan for after my name change. First, I had to update my name with the IRS and Social Security Administration. If these were not changed first, it would cause problems if I updated my name other places first. The next place was work, which was easy enough. All they needed was the court order. After this, it because difficult. I wanted to update my driver’s license, but they had a 90 day waiting period for appointments. I had booked an appointment in early September, but my name change took too long and wasn’t finalized in time. Not that it mattered, because it got turned away because they didn’t like my documents. This lack of a picture ID with my new name has caused some issues.
The lack of a picture ID with my new name is the first of two major issues that I have encountered. Many places, including most financial institutions, do not accept just a court order for a name change. My bank, credit card company, car insurance, and student loan provider all require that I provide both a driver’s license and name change order. This requires that I continue to use credit cards and documents with my dead name on them, which is less than ideal. The lack of a new driver’s license also makes situations where I have to show it difficult. I try to avoid situations where showing my ID might be necessary, like buying alcohol, because it requires me to effectively out myself as trans. This is always uncomfortable and has led to some weird and awkward interactions.
The other issue is that almost no systems are set up for changing first names. Whenever I try to change my name, the assumption is that I got married and need to change my last name. They can do this, but the moment I say that “actually, my first name changed“ it becomes a problem. I cannot count the number of times I have been told, “I don’t know if the system allows us to change a first name”. Society and computer systems are not set up for people changing their first names and so trying to do so is a hassle. Most of the time it requires a workaround or the creation of a new record or account. It is rarely easy and this leads to frustrations and delays.
While the quest to get my name changed everywhere has taken a while, it appears to be coming to an end. I have an appointment in a week to get an updated driver’s license and assuming that goes well, I should be able to update my name in the last few major places. There are still some places that I have forgotten, however, having a picture ID should make it much easier to update my name when it comes up. I will be very happy once I no longer need to use my deadname anymore and can stop outting myself whenever I show my driver’s license.