So You Want To Change Your Name

All right! So you've questioned your gender, tried a bunch of alternatives with your friends, and settled on a new name for your new self. Now you’re ready to take the next step: Officially changing your legal name. Congratulations! A name change is a routine legal procedure that thousands of people do every year in this country alone. Follow the twelve steps outlined below, and you’ll be on your way in no time!

  1. Fill out a petition for an adult name change. Hesitate when it asks the reason for your name change. You are, of course, changing your name because you are trans, but you are also nonbinary, and the State of New York does not believe that nonbinary genders exist, and you worry that this could cause trouble in front of a judge. Decide to say, not untruthfully, that you are an artist working under a pen name, only the pen name grew and now everyone calls you that, and you would like your legal papers to reflect the de facto situation on the ground.
    1. Sign this form in front of a Notary Public and bring it to the New York City Civil Court in the County of Kings (Brooklyn).
      1. The instructions you have seen make it sound like you need only bring your birth certificate to file this form. You are suspicious of this information, so you will bring your photo ID and a utility bill (as proof of address) as well.
      2. You will not bring your Social Security Card, however. The clerk at the court will take you to task for this, since the name on your card must match the name on your court order. If your Social Security Card bears the name “Brin R Solomon” but you print your name on your petition as “Brin Rose Solomon”, you will, apparently, be unable to change the name on your Social Security Card without a new court order for “Brin R Solomon”.
      3. To drive this point home, your utility bill omits your middle name entirely, and the clerk thus insists that you add an “aka” to your petition: “Brin Rose Solomon, aka Brin Solomon”.
      4. Do not ask how the government can determine that “Brin Solomon” and “Brin Rose Solomon” are the same for purposes of filing a name-change petition while being unable to make that determination for purposes of enacting that petition. You would probably be told that it is for your own protection. If you took a shot every time someone told you that they were erecting a barrier “for your own protection”, you would die of liver failure before even making it to the courthouse.
    2. Go to the sixth floor and present your papers to the (overworked) clerk. If everything is in order, they will tell you to go to a different floor to pay the $65 filing fee. (This must be paid in cash, in exact change.) As with everything else, this will vary with jurisdiction. In LA, it would have been $495.
    3. Once you have the receipt, return to the sixth floor and present it to the clerk, who will then assign your petition an index number, print your official petition, and make an appointment with a judge for a hearing. (The petition will clearly be a Word document in Times New Roman. You will seldom have seen anything that looks less official.) You have chosen to file in Brooklyn even tho you live in Manhattan because in Brooklyn you will usually see a judge on the day that you file. In Manhattan, the wait is 1-2 weeks. In LA, it was nine months.
    4. Ascend to the eleventh floor, and find your assigned courtroom. It will be hushed and still, and there will not be helpful signs to guide you. Put your papers in a box that seems like the right one and take your seat. Wait.
    5. The judge will be delayed due to a beer truck that crashed on the Long Island Expressway. She will enter and make a crack about the beer drinkers being sad in a thick Long Island accent. You will relax slightly that she seems to be in a good mood.
    6. The judge will have several cases to hear before yours. While she is hearing one of these, a clerk of some sort will come and take your papers from the box where you left them. She will flip thru them at her desk, and you will try to tell whether her face carries disdain, incredulity, or merely bored indifference.
    7. She will give your papers to the judge and you will be called forward. The judge will ask you a few basic questions. She will tell you that your name, “Brin”, reminds her “of the Old Country, of white gloves, fine china, and lace”. She will sign your petition, and say “Welcome to your new life.”.
    8. Bring the signed form back to the clerk on the sixth floor. She will stamp it and give you instructions regarding publication. (There are ways to get out of the publication requirement, but they involve either also changing your legal gender marker (which you are not (yet) doing), or showing that you are at risk of harassment, stalking, or the like (which you are not), so you will have to publish.) You have chosen the Irish Echo, because, at $35, it is the cheapest option. (As with the time you must wait before seeing a judge, this will vary. In LA, the cheapest option was $95.)
    9. The Irish Echo is a legit newspaper, but they also know their clientele, and when you walk in the door of their (hard-to-find) office on the second floor of a tiny building wedged impossibly between two others on Madison Avenue, you will be greeted by someone asking “Ah, you're here for a name change, then?”. Their fee must also be paid in cash.
    10. You will have seen a judge on Monday, thus making it possible for you to publish a notice on Wednesday. While you can pick up proof of publication from the Irish Echo on that very Wednesday, you cannot present this proof to the court until Thursday. Presumably this is so that if anyone sees your name change and objects to it, they have a window of time to go to the court themself and make your life more difficult.
    11. Once you have filed you proof of publication (on the sixth floor), you must go down to the room where you paid the initial filing fee to request certified copies of your petition. While you can, of course, photocopy the order yourself, only these certified copies count as Real, Official Name Change Orders. You will have done some research as to which places require certified copies vs a regular photocopy, but it will be surprisingly difficult to determine this from the internet alone. (Furthermore, you will later discover that some places that say they require certified copies do not, and vice versa.) You can always get more copies in future, but only in person from the court in Brooklyn, so you decide to err on the side of caution and get eight. They cost $6 each and take about an hour to print, despite the fact that nothing else seems to be occupying the clerks at the counter.
    12. Congratulations! You now have a court order from the government allowing you to change your name! (NB that it is an order allowing you to change your name, not an order compelling people to recognize you by a new name. This will be important later.)
    13. Go to a copy shop and make copies of your court order for the places that don’t require a certified copy. Splurge on color. You want them to be good copies. $17.
  2. Expecting supreme lethargy from the federal government, go to the Social Security Administration to update your Social Security Card. (With relief, you will find that the name on your card matches the name on your court order exactly.) Check in at the kiosk, get a number, and wait for a very long time.
    1. Your interaction with the agent from the Social Security Administration will be brief and nondescript. This process is free. Your new card will arrive in the mail in about a week’s time.
  3. You will quickly discover that government agencies are the only places that will let you change your name without a government-issued photo ID showing your new name. Go to the DMV to obtain a new driver’s license. Realize that a New York State driver’s license requires you to bring your Social Security Card. Realize this while you are still waiting for your new one to come in the mail.
    1. Go back the next week, Social Security Card in hand. You will by this point (see steps 7.1.1–2) have a letter from a Doctor in California stating that you “should be allowed to change [your] gender marker” on government documents. Take this letter with you and check the box marked “F” where the form asks for your gender. You will, after all, be signing to say the information is true and correct to the best of your knowledge and ability.
    2. Check in at the kiosk. Get a number. Wait for a very long time.
    3. Hand your papers to the clerk, along with your previous license. Get your photo taken. Wait.
    4. The next clerk will be the one to actually process your application. They will tell you that the note from your doctor will not be returned, and you ask if they can copy it for you. They say that they will. They will be listening to music via earbuds and bopping along quite intensely. In fact, they will be so wrapped up in the song they are listening to that they will occasionally mumble lyrics aloud. Given the acoustics of the space, you will not be certain whether or not these are questions or comments directed at you. Stress.
    5. Your application will be approved and you will receive a copy of your doctor’s note. This costs $65. You will be given a temporary license (which cannot be used for ID or for name change purposes) and told that your new license will come in two weeks.
    6. Your license will not come in two weeks.
    7. After four weeks, call to inquire as to its whereabouts. You will be told to call again if it hasn’t shown up after six weeks.
    8. Sometime in the seventh week, call again. Several days later, you will receive two copies of your new license in the mail, as tho the initial copy got wedged in the outgoing mail chute, and your new copy dislodged it the day it was dispatched. Strangely, the photos will not be exactly identical. Decide on which one to keep and which to shred based on which photo you like better.
    9. Congratulations! You are now ready to begin changing your name everywhere else.
  4. Go to your bank and present them with your court order and your license. They will tell you that they cannot make a new card for you on site, but that one will be coming in the mail shortly. Double check with them that you can still use the old card, and fret every time you do about which signature you should use on the receipt. Request checks with your new name.
    1. While you are waiting for your new bank card to arrive in the mail, someone will steal the info from your old card. Go to the same bank branch as before to sort this out. After they get over the confusion of your having two card numbers at the same time, they will go into the back and make a new bank card for you. The one they said they were mailing to you will never arrive.
    2. A few weeks later, go back to the bank to get quarters for the laundromat. Inquire as to the status of your new checks. Be told that the order does not seem to have been placed, or perhaps it was cancelled in the identity theft kerfuffle. Request checks with your new name.
    3. At the start of the next month, look over your bank statement. Notice that the online system is still using your old name, in a field you cannot change on your end. Call to inquire about this. Discover that they don't actually have a system for automatically transferring account name changes to the names used in their online system. The representative says they will change it for you.
    4. Call again the next week when it still has not been changed. The representative says they will change it for you, and this time it works. Inquire as to the status of your new checks. Be told that no new order for checks has been placed. Insist that such an order should have been placed. The representative will grudgingly place the order for you, but will also explain that in future, there will be a fee for this. This time your checks will actually arrive. Burn the old ones.
  5. Update your credit card. This will involve mailing a copy of your court order to Salt Lake City. Other than the postage, this is free.
  6. Try to figure out how to change your name with the credit tracking bureaus. Come away with only confusion, doubt, and a renewed hatred for Debt Capitalism.
  7. Updating Your Birth Certificate: International Brouhaha Edition:
    1. You were born in Australia, so updating your birth certificate is going to require intercontinental government bureaucracy. Brace yourself.
      1. Discover that Australia actually recognizes nonbinary genders. Moreover, they do not require you to take hormones or get surgery or live your life in any other way to change the gender marker on your documentation. Inexplicably, they will still require a letter from a doctor saying that you identify with the gender you are changing your marker to. (Remember, trans people are inherently devious and must be gatekept at every opportunity.)
      2. Reach out to your doctor in California and acquire such a letter.
      3. This process requires a valid driver's license. Wait for yours to come in the mail.
      4. Realize that, while the guidelines for the recognition of sex and gender are set at the national level, they are implemented at the local level. You will be dealing with the office of Births, Deaths, and Marriages in the Australian Capital Territory. The ACT requires a signed form from your doctor certifying that you have undergone “appropriate clinical treatment” for the alteration of your sex. (This form must be notarized.)
      5. Reach out to someone from the office of Births, Deaths, and Marriages in the ACT to ask what “appropriate clinical treatment” means for a nonbinary person in a legal system that explicitly and specifically has no medical requirements for legal gender changes. They will inform you in writing that all your doctor is certifying is that you “identify with a nonbinary gender”. These are the actual words they will use. (Remember, this form must be notarized.)
      6. Refrain from pointing out that this form is literally meaningless. Refrain from questioning why it apparently takes years of advanced technical study in unrelated fields to hear the words coming out of a person's mouth and tell someone else about them.
      7. Inform your doctor in California that you need this form signed instead of a letter, and reassure him that despite the “clinical treatment” language, he’s literally only certifying that you came in and said “Hey, so I’m nonbinary.”.
      8. He will adamantly refuse to sign this form, claiming that under the United States legal system, it takes a psychologist to make a gender diagnosis, this despite the fact that he has already written a letter making the exact equivalent of such a “diagnosis”, and that the form from an Australian government is clearly not a part of the United States legal apparatus.
      9. He will stop answering your e-mails.
      10. Make an appointment at New York University. Bring the Australian Guidelines On The Recognition Of Sex And Gender as well as a printout of the e-mail where the person from the ACT office of Births, Deaths, and Marriages confirms that the “clinical treatment” mentioned in the form can comprise nothing more than you stating your identity to the doctor in question. 
      11. The doctor will thank you for bringing all of these things in, then go out into the hallway to confer with someone higher up the chain of command. You will hear them repeatedly and unapologetically misgender you thru the door of the hospital room.
      12. The doctor will ask for a few days to consult the legal department, but she will ultimately sign the form. She will message you to say that the notary wasn’t in, and suggest that you take the form to a notary to get it notarized.
      13. You will have to explain to your doctor how a notary works.
      14. Send your completed forms along with your original birth certificate and the required forms of identification to Australia. Postage is $33.95.
      15. Two and a half months later, you will receive a letter from the ACT office of Births, Deaths, and Marriages informing you that the doctor who signed your paperwork was not, in fact, qualified to do so, as she was a Nurse Practitioner instead of a General Practitioner, and apparently Nurse Practitioners are incapable of determining if you are lying when you tell them your gender. (Remember, trans people are inherently deceptive and must be gatekept at every opportunity.)
      16. They will, however, charge you $84.60 to process your name change.
      17. Repeat the entire form signing process with someone who has the necessary qualifications, and send the new form back to Australia. Postage is $14.55
      18. At some point while this new form is in transit, or while it has yet to be processed, the ACT office of Births, Deaths, and Marriages will helpfully decide to process just your name change and mail you a new birth certificate that has your new name but your old gender. (This will cost $49.59, tho that is, of course, dependent on the exact exchange rate at that moment.) Even tho this will be sent by certified mail, it will be delivered without anyone signing for it. This will be the only piece of certified mail your apartment will ever successfully receive.
      19. Several months later, e-mail to inquire about the status of your application. Be told that it is being processed. Wait.
      20. Eventually, you will be notified that your new birth certificate has been mailed. You will never receive this certificate. The gender-change fee is $83.47.
      21. After several weeks, e-mail to say that you never received the new certificate, and ask if there is any tracking information you can look at to find out where it might be. They will not have tracking information available for that mailing, but they will post you a new certificate free of charge, complete with tracking number.
      22. This tracking number, when entered on the Australia Post website, will be returned as invalid. When you remove the letters at the start of the code, it will be accepted, but they will tell you that the item has not yet been scanned. This will never change.
      23. Several weeks later, inform your contact at the office of Births, Deaths, and Marriages for the ACT that you did not receive this certificate and cannot use the tracking number provided. Suggest that the issue is with your apartment complex receiving certified mail, and ask to have the certificate mailed to your school address instead. They will do this in several weeks, once your contact returns from their summer vacation.
      24. The new certificate will successfully arrive at your school, but it will have your old name on the back in two places. Resign yourself to this as a byproduct of a bureaucracy that prioritizes the completeness of its own internal records over the comfort and safety of trans people, and blot it out with permanent marker and whiteout.
      25. Your contact at the office of Births, Deaths, and Marriages for the ACT will then e-mail you to confirm receipt of the latest certificate. Decide that, since you are going to have to write back anyway, you might as well inquire about the possibility of getting a certificate that doesn't include your deadname.
      26. When you do not receive a response, assume that this was a bridge too far.
      27. Two weeks later, your contact will e-mail you to say that your deadname was printed on your birth certificate as a result of an “administrative error”, and that a new certificate is on its way. (This is, in total, the fifth new birth certificate that you will have been mailed.)
      28. The new, correct certificate will arrive in the first week of October, almost exactly one year after you first posted your documents to Australia.
    2. Because you were born in Australia, you have a Consular Report of Birth Abroad just to really prove that you are 100% definitely a US Citizen for reals. You have never needed this form, but given the rising tide of xenophobia, it seems prudent to update it regardless. Decide that you would also like to update the gender marker, as you would like all your documents to be as consistent as possible while the permissiveness of the Obama era lasts.
      1. Make another appointment with another doctor at NYU Health. Tell this person, with whom you have never interacted prior to this meeting, that you would like your gender marker to be changed on your Consular Report of Birth Abroad and also your passport.
      2. This person will then write a letter on official letterhead certifying that you have received “appropriate clinical treatment for gender transition”. For the purposes of US law at the time, “appropriate clinical treatment” does not require surgery, hormones, or concrete evidence of full-time social transition. Marvel again at the discrepancy between the utter meaninglessness of gender markers on government identification documents and the rigamarole with which you are required to procure documents officially asserting absolutely nothing. Wonder how cis people can get anything done if they require someone with an advanced degree to write down a stranger’s words before they will believe that said stranger said those words.
      3. Mail this letter along with a form, your old certificate, a certified copy of your court order, and a check for $50 to the pertinent government office. Postage comes to $6.50.
  8. Anticipating an anti-queer crackdown from the Christian supremacist vice president of the incoming fascist regime, update your passport.
    1. You can get new passport photos at Walgreens for $15.23.
    2. The fee to process changes to a passport (i.e. your name and gender) is $25. The fee to get an actual replacement passport is $110. You must pay both of these.
    3. Go to a post office of your choosing and see the pertinent clerk to send off the photos, the forms, the court order, the gender-change letter, and your old passport. Take a moment to look thru the various stamps and visas from your adolescence. You will never see them again.
    4. Wait.
    5. After several weeks, you will not have received your passport. Check the online tracking system, which will tell you that your passport has been marked “delivered” by the USPS.
    6. Connect the dots and draw the conclusion that your passport was stolen when your apartment mailbox was broken into while you were on winter vacation. Brace yourself for further bureaucracy.
    7. Call the passport office to report a stolen passport. They will inform you that, since you didn't actually see the passport, technically you are reporting the “non-receipt” of a passport, which requires a different form.
    8. Prepare this form and send it in, which must be done by certified mail. $6.45.
    9. The passport office will then need to call you. They will, of course, only do this while you are in class, and they will not leave messages, nor will you be able to return their calls. If you try calling the passport office directly, they will not be able to help you.
    10. Eventually, make your excuses to a professor and skip out of class when they call. The person from the passport office will go over everything that you told the previous person when you reported the initial non-receipt of your passport, and will not ask for any further details. They will then send you a new and updated passport, which will arrive safely and not be stolen.
  9. Update your college diploma, just in case.
    1. Yale diplomas are in Latin, which mercifully means you don’t have to deal with any gender nonsense, only a name change. Name changes ordinarily cost $125 and result in a new diploma with the old name on the back, but for trans alumns, the fee is lowered to $25 and the name on the back can be omitted.
    2. Do not ask them how they verify which alumns are trans.
    3. The fee, however, must be paid by money order, so it actually costs $26.50, plus another $6.45 for shipping.
  10. By the end of your name change process, you will have gathered that PayPal has rather a reputation for being Bad About Name Changes, but you will be blissfully unaware of this when you start the process.
    1. As per the instructions on their website, send in PDFs of your court order and your driver’s license.
    2. Wait.
    3. Over a month later, call to inquire about the status of your name change. You will be told that it is marked “processing”, and that there is nothing more to be done at this time.
    4. Wait some more.
    5. A month or so later, decide that you've waited long enough, and re-submit your forms.
    6. The next day, receive an e-mail saying that your name change has been denied.
    7. Call to ask what's up with this.
    8. The person on the phone will tell you that you cannot transfer ownership of a PayPal account from one person to another. Explain to them that that is not, in fact, what is happening, you’re just changing your first and last names. Assure them repeatedly that you are the same person as you have always been.
    9. They will remain adamant on this point.
    10. Ask to be transferred to a manager.
    11. The manager will tell you that yes, they understand that you retain ontological continuity with your past self, but that still doesn’t solve the problem: Apparently PayPal’s database is hard coded such that changing both names “counts as” transferring account ownership and is thus prohibited. Ask explicitly about cases in which someone changes their first name via court order and then, some time later, gets married and tries to change their last name; be told in response that that would not be possible to execute in PayPal’s system.
    12. The manager will ask if you want to delete your account and open a new one, this apparently being the only way to get the new name recognized. Ask if you would be able to transfer various regular-donor privileges that you’ve accumulated thru steady donations to various causes over the years. Be told that this is impossible, you would have to start from scratch with all of them. Convey your deep dissatisfaction with this policy and decline to delete your account. End the call in considerable frustration.
    13. Over winter break, ask one of your relatives in law school whether PayPal can ignore a court order like this. Be told that technically the court order doesn't actually require anyone except the government to recognize your new name, but that what PayPal is doing still sounds fishy. This relative will then give you some contact info for various LGBTQ Rights Organizations.
    14. All of these organizations will be swamped with people trying to update their legal documents before the inauguration, and so none will be able to help you directly. One person will suggest that if you can get PayPal’s policy in writing, you might be able to file a complaint with the New York Human Rights Commission. This person will also take a potshot at the Human Rights Campaign, noting that PayPal is given a perfect score in their Corporate Equality Index.
    15. Decide that you’re maybe actually stubborn enough to do this and send PayPal your name change paperwork for a third time. As expected, your request for a name change will be denied.
    16. Call their help number. The first person you talk to will tell you that name changes are “only for women, and only for when they get married, for their last names”. Since this is clearly wrong, ask to be transferred to a manager.
    17. Your phone will be disconnected while you are on hold. Call again.
    18. This new person will listen to your story, then tell you that you actually need to talk to an Account Specialist, which you can do by calling a different number, which they will then give you.
    19. This number will turn out to be exactly the same as the generic PayPal help line number.
    20. Call again.
    21. This third person of the day will offer to transfer you to an Account Specialist. Wait on hold again.
    22. Brace yourself for the Account Specialist to realize that you are changing both of your names and tell you that you cannot do this.
    23. Instead, they will say that the PDF you submitted of your court order appears to be entirely blank.
    24. Pull the PDF up on your own computer, just to confirm that you can see everything fine. The Account Specialist will ask you to re-upload it.
    25. Do so.
    26. For the Account Specialist, it will still be blank.
    27. Thank your lucky stars that you were calling from home, run into the other room, and get the hard copy of your court order. Take pictures of each page with your cell phone, upload those photos to your drive, download them onto your computer, then upload them into PayPal’s system.
    28. This will, miraculously, work. The Account Specialist will change the name on your account and you will be all set.
    29. Yes, seriously.
  11. Some time later, set about changing your name and gender in ASCAP.
    1. While ASCAP apparently has no requirements whatsoever regarding gender changes, in order to change the name on your account, they require two signed forms, your driver's license, your court order, your social security card, and a W9 form, thus making this the most heavily documented ID change you will ever make.
    2. ASCAP does not have an “Mx” honorific in their system, but the system requires an honorific regardless, so your new name will be “Other Brin Rose Solomon”.
    3. Since you used to work under a common nickname of your legal name (think “Beth” instead of “Elizabeth”), you have an old nickname of your deadname listed in your account. There is no process to remove this in the account.
    4. Tag ASCAP on Twitter when you complain about the inherent transphobia of this.
    5. Receive, to your surprise, a very apologetic phone call from a member of their staff to talk about this.
    6. ASCAP’s official position is that they can’t remove old names, even names that have never been your legal name, because theoretically if you worked under them, there could be some music with those old names out there, and ASCAP needs to be able to give you your royalties even if you no longer use that name.
    7. Inform them that you are actually entirely willing to give up that kind of royalty money if it means getting your deadname entirely removed from your account, especially since you’ve pretty thoroly destroyed any old scores that deadname you. The ASCAP agent will say “Well, all right, I’ll talk to our tech team and see what they can do.”.
    8. The ultimate solution that they settle on will be to casually re-name your old alias. So you will still have the same number of alternate names on your profile, but they will now all be variants of your actual name, instead of including your deadname.
    9. You will also need them to manually change the name on your old bank account. This account no longer exists, and the bank it was with has since been acquired by a larger entity, but ASCAP doesn’t actually have the ability to delete old bank accounts from your profile. They can easily change the name listed as belonging to the account tho, which you will see as a perfectly acceptable, if deeply silly, solution.
  12. During and after all of the above, continuously find new and surprising places that have your deadname, each with their own quirks regarding updating their records. Some highlights:
    1. Your student loan collector will periodically and randomly revert to your deadname on your entire account because somewhere in some computer between the federal government and them, your name has not been changed. No one will care enough to track this down and fix it for good, you'll just have to call them every couple months because of it.
    2. When you update your name with your internet provider, they will delete your account instead of re-naming it. Your roommates will be Quite Perplexed by the sudden absence of internet service in the apartment.
    3. Renew your hatred of having to create an account on every ticketing service under the sun when random ticketing accounts you used once four years ago remember your deadname and print it on your tickets. Some services will let you change your name yourself, others won’t. When you call one, you will get a very concerned employee who doesn’t actually know if they have the power to change the name on an account. (They do. It will be fine. Everyone will learn something that day.)
      1. Perhaps the culmination of this will be the New York Philharmonic. Despite ordering the ticket with your current name on the card and in the billing information, the ticket will be held under your deadname, which the system will have remembered from one single purchase you made over two years prior. A photo ID is required at the will call window, and the clerk will initially refuse to give you your ticket. When you explain that you are trans and have had a legal name change, you will see a brief internal struggle as they balance potentially giving a ticket out to an impostor against potentially embroiling the Philharmonic in a public relations fiasco by discriminating against a transgender patron. Fear of the fiasco will win out, but only barely.
    4. A surprising number of places, actually, have no established protocol for name changes. You will lose track of the number of customer service representatives who react to an inquiry about changing the name on your account with a flustered admission that they’ve never had to deal with this before and don’t have a clue what they are doing. Be patient with these people; reserve your bile for the upper management that refuses to provide adequate training to entry-level employees.
    5. You will discover that a particular online clothing retailer has three different e-mail databases, none of them automatically updated, when you continue being periodically misgendered in some of their targeted advertising despite having re-named your account years ago. You will have to call their customer service line each time you discover a new flavor of newsletter that hasn’t been fixed yet.
    6. Your landlord will claim that they never received a copy of your court order. At first you will think this is your fault, but when it takes them six months to fix your invoices after you send them another copy, you will grow suspicious. (You will call every month and be told by that the landlord is just “not around the office a lot”. Sometimes you will be told this by the landlord himself.)
    7. Decide your name change is Officially Finished. Immediately discover a new place that has been hiding your deadname all along. Repeat this indefinitely until you die.

The total cost of all these endeavors will be $677.24. This does not include the hours spent researching, waiting in waiting rooms, waiting on hold, patiently explaining what's going on to the fourth person you’ve been transferred to, and so on. This total also does not include the mental drain of keeping tabs on everything currently in process so that you can call and nag when too much time has elapsed — such drag, of course, to be calculated from a position of working thru grad school while dissociating constantly and losing weeks at a time to putting one foot in front of the other. If you think reading this was exhausting, imagine living it.