Ever feel like you’ve melted into a groove? Not quite a well-oiled machine, but life is pretty manageable. And then you get that cosmic curve ball where all of the sudden your day-to-day is immersed in something bigger. Something you didn’t quite have planned. Most of you are out there shaking your head. This is life, right? The Universe constantly challenges us.
For parents of gender diverse kids, it’s a little more than the usual parent revelations like, “Oh, Billy needs braces. I didn’t see that coming.” It’s legal name changes and Tanner stages and pediatric endocrinologists. And choices. Choices that alter your child’s path in this world. Big stuff.
Last week Hope mentioned that she wanted to make it so that she and other people only saw her name on all documents. Translated – legal name change. Most people look at me funny when I explain that we haven’t gone through this yet. Like it’s on the gender diverse kids checklist, whatever that is (but if you see one, email me Some people have given me the awkward ‘You don’t practice what you preach!” look when they hear that my child hasn’t legally changed her name to date. Like I’m in some sort of denial about her legal name given at birth.
In our eyes nothing could be farther from the truth. Every single step we’ve taken on this journey with Hope has been instigated by HER. Not me. Not her dad. Not her therapist. Her. So why would we push a name change when it really never was an issue before. Obviously we notice as she is getting older how this will benefit her, passport changes and all, but we’re talking right now in her life. In a weird way, it’s like it never came up so we just listened for her cues.
Let’s face it, an 8 year old isn’t going to be so savvy announcing that she’s ready for a legal name change. Although who knows, some may request it if their friends have gone through legal name changes. Hope’s friends haven’t. For the most part they were fortunate to all have gender ambiguous names to start with. So she opened the conversation with the fact that she hears her old name at the doctor’s office and when she sees the insurance cards and such and she doesn’t want that. She wants her real name 24/7, 365, forever. This new piece of info led to a pretty lengthy discussion about what a legal name change means and what it takes.
Despite not wanting people to discuss her private life openly in court, she’s game. And so are we. Now to the next task of researching, collecting information and compiling letters and legal help. If you have knowledge in this area, comment here or email me at Jen@JenniferCarrBooks.com. The more I know the better this experience will be for all of us.
Trust me, I’m not complaining. This is life and I’m particularly grateful for it. If this is the next step for my child to feel right in her skin, to feel completely whole, I’m in. Let’s go to court.