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Dreaming of my name-change ceremony

February 17, 2011

Like many people daydream about their future wedding, I’ve been thinking about my name-change ceremony lately. I don’t really think there’s a ceremony, but there is a trial in a courtroom involving three witnesses.

In my mind, I’ve been picking my witnesses like others pick their groomsmen or bridesmaids (or bridesmen or groomspersons or…), except with a bit more strategy. I’m 19 and my closest friends are around my same age, and although I know they’re responsible –and they’re the people who know me best– the judge will be more likely to trust older people. So I might choose one friend, one teacher and one family member.

I’m very lucky that I can count on several people to stand up for me. I have enough close friends to make it hard to pick just one; a few family members might agree to go; and I can ask my old Art History, Photography, Journalism and Psychology teachers (I don’t know if they’d all be willing go to court, which is scary and serious, but it’s worth a try).

I don’t know if I’ll have to go through a trial because I’m not yet ready to change my name legally, and trans rights might be approved in Congress very soon, turning it into a matter of routine paperwork instead of having to sue the state. But if I did go through an ordeal involving witnesses, I think I’d cry uncontrollably from the sheer weight of knowing that people are there for me. The very thought overwhelms me sometimes already, but the formal recognition of that support would push me into tearland.

Maybe that’s why people cry at weddings.

Note: since writing this, I’ve learned that it’s a really unromantic affair, and witnesses have to testify on their own in an office. Oh well. I can still daydream about the day name-change laws are modified, which will be much more important than any individual triumph.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. February 18, 2011 7:19 am

    Wow! You have to have a trial to change your name?

    Here in Queensland, Australia you can just call yourself anything you like without even any formalities, so long as the name isn’t offensive.

    In order to legally change your name (so that you can have the name on legal documents like a passport) you just go to the court registry, fill in an application, pay the fee, have a witness sign the document to say that you really are the person you say you are (i.e. they just sign to say they’ve known you for X years) and Bob’s your uncle – you have a new name.

    Then, whenever you need to show your birth certificate etc (e.g. to get a passport) you just show birth certificate and deed poll paper (the formal name for the name change document).

    Here, the name change has no relevance to gender. It’s just you name. E.g. if I wanted to legally change my name to Herby I would just fill in a form, pay the fee and I’m legally Herby. If I didn’t want to bother with legally changing it, I just start calling myself Herby and start using that name as my preferred name on documents.

    I hope your trial goes well if you decide to go through with it.

    I’m loving reading your experiences because it makes me realise just how easy I’ve had it (despite starting my transition way back in 1998).

  2. February 28, 2013 1:19 am

    I found this post while looking up name change ceremonies online. I just finished the legal process of changing my first name, and I plan to hold an event to commemorate it with the people who have been the most supportive of me. Have you changed your name yet? Have you or will you hold your own ceremony?

  3. genderkid permalink*
    February 28, 2013 11:12 pm

    Wow, this post is only two years old but things have REALLY changed! Since Argentina’s gender identity law passed last year, it’s super easy to get a name change. You just take your old ID to an office, sign a few papers and that’s it.

    R. Oranger: I didn’t really hold a ceremony. My mom went with me when I did my paperwork and afterwards we had lunch at a nice restaurant in celebration. The actual legal name-change was pretty anticlimactic: I had been using my new name for so long that it didn’t feel like a big milestone (although it was really important). By that point in my life, I had lots of new friends who didn’t even know about my past, so it’s not like I could’ve invited all my friends to celebrate.

    But I love the idea of organizing some sort of event to honor moments like these! Sometimes I regret not holding a “one year on T” party or a “I’m having top surgery” party :D

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