Thursday, April 14, 2022

The Name Game

 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. 

1 comment:

  1. I still need to write up a will. Since I have an original copy of my court ordered name change, I imagine that attaching it to the will is all I have to do, in order to make everything else legal. It may cause some extra work and possible delays for my beneficiaries, though, so it would be prudent for me to change everything I can while I'm alive. I was born in Arizona, so I have little hope of being able to change my birth certificate before I die (Surgery is still required in that red state). I don't know if the death certificate would have to match up with the birth certificate, as far as gender is concerned, but it should have no bearing on my legal name change. After my cremation, there will be nothing left but my name and the memories of loved ones who knew me as I am now.

    Just to add to the complications, my wife has been considering changing her name back to her maiden name. I can't argue with her on that. Firstly, our relationship is much different now than it was when she took my last name almost 50 years ago. Secondly, her maiden name was better sounding - quite poetic, really.