Month: September 2015

Becoming a (Sort of) Official Person

The good news: It was ridiculously easy to add an additional cardholder to my regular credit cards. Just went to their website and filled out a form.

Still need to call them to request the version of the card with your photo on it, since you can’t order that from the website.

The bad news: The credit card company that handles Lane Bryant’s and Torrid’s cards said there’s no way to shorten my first name to just an initial without a legal name change. Grrr. I have a feeling it’ll be the same with other department store cards. (Fortunately as it turned out later, it wasn’t a huge deal to add an additional cardholder to these as well.)

Unfortunately the bank, as expected, doesn’t allow “authorized users” for ATM cards, you have to add a joint account holder.

But… I’m now the proud owner of a Visa and Mastercard with “Marlena” on the card. It was an oddly moving moment when I activated the cards online, and confirmation page page said “Customer name: Marlena [LastName]”.

Admittedly it’s a bit silly, but it felt like “Wow, Marlena is becoming an official person.”

“ID Please” – Embracing the Suck When You’re Betwixt and Between

So I made a quick trip out of down for a long Labor Day weekend — both needing a change of scenery and to escape the brutal heat wave we’ve been having (like a lot of older homes in the Bay Area, I don’t have A/C).

Checking in my hotel, I tell the clerk that I’ve got a reservation under [last name]. He replies, “[First name]?” Thanks asshole. Do I look like [first name], given I’ve got a woman’s hairstyle, make-up and wearing a sundress?

Now in fairness, I think it was done out obliviousness rather than intentionally. But damn, after a similar experiences during my Vegas trip, I realize I really hate having legal ID that doesn’t match my gender presentation.

To the point I briefly thought about getting a fake ID for checking into hotels, so that I could have an ID that matched a credit card with a feminine name. Yeah, yeah, I know…. bad idea. Plus it doesn’t solve the issue when flying and I need to show my legal ID.

Which is a bit weird given that I just assume that I’m visibly trans. But I suppose it’s a the difference mentally between having some plausible deniability — i.e. “yeah, they probably read me as trans, but they’re still treating me as a woman, so maybe they don’t read me as male-bodied” and having the reality that they know I’m not a woman rubbed in my face.

It did get me thinking more seriously about a legal name change to something gender neutral — kind of along the lines of what I’m guessing a friend did. OTOH, none of the gender neutral names I’ve thought of so far particularly grab me. And it would be pain to change it once and then potentially it again a few years later.

It’s also kind of crystalized a feeling that Marlena doesn’t fit as a real-world name — mostly I just don’t like the way it sounds in combination with my actual last name, but there’s probably also a feeling like fully transitioning* would mark a different phase in my life that merits a different name. Weird and totally unexpected.

* Though part of thinking about the issue was the desire to get a credit card with a feminine name, which I could still use in situations that don’t also require a photo ID, as a way to avoid outing myself.

It’s less that I personally have a problem moving between genders, it’s just that I wish I could be seen as congruent with the gender I’m presenting as.

Life betwixt and between can be a PITA sometimes… <sigh>

Not Belonging to Any Club That Would Have Me as Member

I confess that outside the My Husband Betty forum and visits with particular trans folks, I don’t really hang out much with my fellow travelers. In large part because I’ve had some off-putting reactions a number of trans folks — to the folks on the pink rocket sled toward transition; to those determined to see others transition in order to validate their own transition; and also the cross-dressers who (as helen once said in the MHB book) had a curious lack of curiosity about women’s lives. Or even those whose outings are confined to safe spaces, since I’m just in a different — not necessarily better/worse — place given I’ve got a long history being out in public.

It’s meant I’ve felt like I haven’t really had as much in common at a personal level, even if I feel commonalities at a broader level. Then again, it’s far from the first time I feel a group affinity, even if I don’t relate to all the individuals within that group.