This week, I will go to the county building to submit the paperwork to begin the process of changing my name and gender marker.
What my name change means:
Last October, when I got my ears pierced, I had to show my I.D. It was the first time I had looked at it in months. It shocked me to look at my picture. I don’t look a thing like that anymore. I don’t live as that male person.
Though I identify as a heterosexual male who is transgender, there is no I. D. for that. I have lived outwardly as a woman long enough, and have proceeded long and far enough into transitioning to have confidence in this. I am not reverting to living as a male. Therefore, my I.D. needs to match up.
After my name is legally changed, I will first have my drivers license updated. My Social Security, credit cards, and everything that comes in the mail then will be changed to “Gina.”
I long to go to, for instance, my dentist, and not have to explain that my legal name is one thing and my preferred name is another. At a recent doctor’s appointment, the woman emerged and called for “Greg ELLyers” in a full waiting room. (My last name gets butchered with regularity.) I stood and said, “It’s Gina EYElers,” and gave no mind to the fifteen people who witnessed this.
About three months ago, I printed the forms for having my name changed. I still did not have my doctor’s endorsement, which I received two weeks ago, but I needed to fill out the forms to see if I were emotionally ready. As with almost everything in the process of transitioning, the first step tripped me. It was good for me to regroup and be patient. When I retrieved the forms last week and finished filling them out, I left them sitting on my computer desk where I would see them every day.
I found myself more than ready; I found myself eager.
With my forms, doctor’s endorsement letter, and birth certificate in hand, step one is to file my petition with the county. I then have to publish in the local newspaper a notice of my pending name change in case I’m trying to dodge some obligation or debt.
After I have published that three times over the course of thirty days, I proceed to the next step of having a hearing date set. From what my friends tell me, the rest is a formality.
I will legally be Gina Joy Eilers, a female person.
What my name change does not mean:
Changing my name does not mean that I despise my birth name or male sex. Many trans persons do. It is not unusual for trans folks to talk of their birth name as a “dead name,” and will not even speak it to another trans person.
I love my birth name. I rejoice in the many ways in which the Lord blessed me as a male, for the two women I married, for the five children I fathered, for holding the office of the holy Christian ministry in the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, and scores more things unique to a male. If not for this dreaded condition of mine, this transition would not be happening; none of this would be an issue.
Changing my legal name and gender marker is unrelated to my birth certificate. One of the ways I will prove that I do not despise my birth name and sex is by not changing my birth certificate.
It is no small thing that I identify as a heterosexual male who is transgender. Being faithful to the Word of God and honest with myself, through the last three years of study, prayer, conversation, prayer, being pushed and pulled and pressed, and more prayer, I have arrived at this.
I know of no other trans person who is so specific, so concerned to recognize the fact of the matter. No, I am not a woman who was born in a man’s body. No, I am not a lesbian. My male DNA informs me. That I fathered five children informs me. My marriage to Julie informs me. All of that is wrapped up in how the Word of God informs me.
Indeed, I continue to refer to myself as Julie’s husband, preferring that over the generic “spouse.” I have asked my children to continue to call me “Dad.” I’ve only asked them not to use that in public, where others might hear it and ask, “Huh?” though I’ve also said that if they do it will be okay with me.
We changed my grandparent moniker to “Gigi,” which is the coupling of my two first names. The grandchildren I get to see often took little time making the switch.
Finally, for those Christians who are troubled by me, I do not despise my baptism as a male named Gregory John. Did you know that some trans persons get rebaptized? Worry not; it is the furthest thing from my mind. I rejoice in my baptism into the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit on May 19, 1957, which is unaffected by my transitioning.
I know that I would have been fully male had my endocrine system not been disrupted so that my messed up hormones left me feeling female. I know that I will be resurrected on the Last Day as a male, that the Lord Jesus will smile at me, welcome me as Greg, and that “the former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind (Isaiah 65:17),” for everything will be peace and joy and happiness in the Paradise of eternity—the reason God the Son became the Son of Man, died for our sins, rose in victory, and ascended to heaven from where He provides for our forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation.
For MY forgiveness, life, and salvation. Alleluia!