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Name change game

As I have started to more formally direct my transition, having come out professionally at work and personally through a few different channels, I have also begun the process of updating my name across the vastness that is the Internet...
What you quickly realize is how cis male-centric a lot of thinking is with respect to personal information. Specifically, name changes are quite common, except for cis men. 

For cis men, the need to change name is exceedingly rare. It happens, of course, but not as a common practice. However, for trans people and cis women, this a fairly common thing. The result of that name change can impact in a few places, but often usernames, email address and, of course, the actual name. 

Why does this matter that it should be easy to update? 

Well, consider for trans people that the continued use of our deadnames can be quite painful and many, in fact, will see it as a form of violence. Reactions will depend on history and past relationship to their name, but understand that many in the trans community have been through very difficult circumstances and their relationship with the past can be very complicated and painful.

For cis women, this could be tied to either marriage or divorce. Similar to trans people, how a cis woman sees her relationship with her current or previous last name is again part of their own history. In some cases, continuing to see a particular last name could be quite traumatic and painful. She may have no choice but to close her account, such as could happen with Gmail, simply because she can't change her email address which contains that information.

In places where a legal name change is required, for specific and legitimate reasons, I can understand the extra steps. Nevertheless, these are rare in volume compared to the ones that don't, such as Skype or Flickr, for example. It's also possible to help, even here. A great example is my medical clinic which must record and work with my legal name for billing and prescription reason, but also includes my true name and pronouns for communicating and interacting with me. My voice therapy is the same.

At the end of the day, names are powerful. For the trans community, in particular, getting it right can go a long way to help with self-esteem, confidence, and general mental health. Like pronouns, when they are correct, they have a huge positive influence, when they are wrong, they can be quite damaging. This should all be easier.


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