The Significance of Caitlyn Jenner’s Gender & Name Change
By Alex Temblador
On Friday, Caitlyn Jenner received amazing news: a judge had granted her request to have her name and gender legally changed to reflect her gender identity. This is an amazing feat for the reality star and Olympic gold winner.
Earlier this month, Jenner submitted her request to the courts and stated the reasoning for the change was to “better match my identity.” She also had to undergo a background check and a medical declaration. Now that Jenner’s name and gender has been legally recognized, she will be able to get a new driver’s license, social security card, and a passport that will reflect her name and gender.
Though this is cause for celebration for Jenner, many transgender persons in the U.S. are not able to have their name or gender legally changed. Some states do not allow transgender persons to have their gender or name changed. Additionally, it is harder for trans persons who have not fully transitioned with operations to have their gender legally recognized and for most trans persons, they cannot afford the cost of transitioning.
By making it difficult or by not allowing transgender persons to have their gender and name changed, states are subjecting trans persons to many negative aspects beyond emotional and mental distress. A trans woman in Louisiana wasn’t allowed to take her new driver’s license photo as herself and was told that she must appear in her photograph as her gender reflects. Another trans woman was recently discriminated against by airport security and subjected to an invasive search.
Every situation in which we may need to use our ID (going to the doctor, employment, adopting, speeding tickets, etc.) is a situation in which a trans person who is unable to change their ID to reflect their gender could be harassed or discriminated against. We hope that the ease by which Jenner received legal recognition for her new gender and name change will be extended to all trans persons one day, for this gross injustice is harming thousands of lives.
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