What’s in a name? A lot of things.

Around noon today, I drove to my bank and had them sign my last notary for my name change, because I had to post my intention to my county courthouse and wait 10 days.  But because that fell on a Saturday, I had to wait until Monday.  I worked until 2am on Sunday night at Wendy’s, where I’ve been working for the last month.  Unfortunately, I had to take my Dad to the airport because he’s spending the week in Colorado with my mother because they are looking at houses.  My parents are in the process of moving because the deal was they would move to Colorado and retire, and my mother can retire in May.  She’s probably not going to retire, but leave her company with those benefits, and my parents will live there.  I’m excited for them.  So I had to drive to the airport at 6:30, which is an hour drive from my house with no traffic.  I also started my summer courses at 9am on Monday, so I had to drive straight to school and sit in a 3 hour long class.

Thankfully, this professor has had me before, and so no one knows my birth name, which I thought North Carolina would be changing.  I always dread the first day of classes because of my name, because nothing outs me faster as not being “100% guy” as someone saying Patricia.  I can watch 30 people instantly register that I’m trans.  I’m pretty open about myself, but not until after I’ve gotten to know people.  This is a safety measure I’ve taken.  You just never know.  After being on T for 15 months, most of the time I’m read as sir. I would have gone to court after class on Monday, but I had 200 pages of homework and I was running on two hours of sleep and I had to be at work at 7pm.

I was dreading court today, because I’ve been fighting my name change battle since October.  I asked if I needed a lawyer, they said no.  I did my federal background check twice. Apparently there were issues with my first one.  I had to find two witnesses that have known me for a year. I’ve only been in North Carolina for almost 2 years.  And those friends had to live in my county, so I had to have friends from school that were willing to go to court with me, that lived in my county.  That wasn’t many people.  I had to fill out the forms 4 times because each time before they were wrong, and I asked if someone could tell me how to get the correct forms, they said check online because we are legally unable to help you, it’s against the law.  I had to get forms from the capital county and then go in and manually change all of them to my county.  Then when I went in to post my intention, the thing you have to do to wait 10 days, she told me that I didn’t have the correct form.  I calmly said this is my petition form, and she said okay I’ll clock that in, but you have to bring in another one (which meant another trip to a Notary) and you have to wait until that Monday.

Apparently I didn’t have child support payment proof.  I told her I don’t have any kids.  She said they need proof I don’t owe anyone child support.  Then she said I didn’t have my local background check.  I said that a federal background check covers it.  She said it didn’t.  Then I found out that my birth state requires 3 months to process a new birth certificate, because I was born after January of 1990, by 11 months.  I also wouldn’t have time to wait for the local background check.  I leave for England in 3 months and 2 weeks.  I can’t get a visa or an updated passport, since mine expires January of 2017, and I’ll still be on my visa, without an updated birth certificate.  I have to apply for my visa in 2 weeks.  I’ve already started the paperwork.

So I went to my car and I took a deep breath before calling my mother to explain.  I tried not to cry.  It’s frustrating when you see people openly discriminating against you and you can do nothing about it, because there are no laws in place for you.  And I kept thinking of the stats people like me have.  This is one reason I have to get out of the south.  I know it’s better in Europe, and it’s really great in Manchester.  But I have to get there.

I was trying not to yell, or say anything terrible on the phone with my mother.  At one point she stopped me and said, so what do you want to do?  I said I made my choice last year when I got in, and we felt I hadn’t been healthy long enough, and we would have had to rush everything to get my visa.  I didn’t get to go.  I am getting to England, I just really hope that they don’t discriminate against me at Customs.  She said, oh, they won’t.

But recently there was a study found that people on hormones bodies change, which I knew.  But when you go through security, if your body is in an in-between gender stage, the body scans flag you because it doesn’t know what to do with you and your body is registering as different, and therefore dangerous.  Every time I’ve flown, my body has been flagged.  The last time, when I was leaving California in March, my mother saw me go through security and have 3 body scans, a pat down, and the threat of a strip search.  

There’s also a statistic that 1 in 12 trans people are murdered.  I’ve known that one for years.  I’ve made peace with that.  I also know that our suicide rate is at 50%.  Our estimated mortality rate is 70%.  I’ve accepted that I don’t know how long I’m going to live.  I’m at a catch-22 with some things.  My body needs testosterone.  If I don’t have it, I get very sick.  I will start to get more tumors because if they put me on estrogen, I will get sick again.  My body rejected it and it resulted in my hysterectomy 2 summers ago.  But we don’t know the long term effects of testosterone use.  And our medical care is not great.  A lot of doctors aren’t trained on it. I know this is better in Europe, but it’s still a factor.

I didn’t know this one, and I found out about it a few weeks ago.  The average age of death for us is 23-33. Our estimated life expectancy is 23. It’s hard to know for sure because there’s cases where people have been murdered, and weren’t reported as being trans, or their parents chose not to share that information.  But it’s clear that it’s rare for us to make it to 40.  We’re either killed, or we die from medical complications, or we kill ourselves.  I’ll be 24 in November.  I am in that critical age where I am most likely to die.  I couldn’t help but feel, that on some level, as they denied my name change today, that they signed my death warrant.

I can’t change my name until about 5 years from now when I’m a UK citizen.