I received several responses to my post about attending a virtual seminar on wills, trusts and end of life options. Two mentioned what a person could go through if their life insurance policies needed to be corrected if the insurance does not reflect a legal name change.
At that point my mind began to wander back to the days when I was legally changing my gender markers, or name. I can't speak for many of you but I went through many different feminine names before I sat down with my daughter and came up with an agreed upon name which would be easy for the three grandkids to use.
After quite a bit of thought, I decided to choose a name which reflected pride in the family. I decided to use my maternal grandfather's name and femininize it slightly. From Jesse to Jessie. Perhaps the more interesting choice came when I chose my middle name, Jeanne. Jeanne was my Mom's name. As you may, or may not remember she had no understanding of what I was trying to tell her when I told her I was a transvestite way back when I finished my military duty. When the new name was all said and done, the grandkids could call be "J.J.". Even though my Mom didn't accept me, I decided to still honor her by using her name. After all, without her perseverance I wouldn't be here today.
|From the Jessie Hart Collection|
As it turned out, the name choice was the easy part. I had to set out to secure approval by the local legal entities. Where I lived, I needed to pay to put a classified ad in the newspaper informing anyone who cared what I was up to. Locally, the process was fairly non expensive, around fifty dollars. After thirty days, I needed to appear before a local judge to have the name change approved. At that point I considered the process could become a little tricky because I knew the judge to be very conservative. However, all my worries were baseless and he quickly signed off on my new name. After the papers were signed, it was a fairly easy process to have my social security name changed as well as my driver's license updated to a new "F" under gender.
In my case, since I have chosen to be under the Veteran's Association health care, I needed to and couldn't wait to have my name change and gender updated on certain VA forms I dealt with on a regular basis. It was at that point my VA therapist jumped in and provided me with all the necessary paperwork I needed to make sure I could accomplish what I needed to do in a timely matter. Which can be a factor when one deals with the VA.
What I haven't done yet is take advantage of the relatively new ruling in my native State of Ohio regarding the changing of gender on a birth certificate. By nature I am a procrastinator so I am just going to make it a priority.
All of this brings me full circle back to the two small life insurance policies I have. I know for a fact one says I am male and the other says I am female. At some point in time I am going to have to get the one resolved. Or maybe both. The entire process proves once again how being transgender is a lifetime process and one which is so complex. As soon as I have more information, I will be sure to share it with you. In the meantime:
The " name game" is just a facet of the whole transgender experience.