Name Change Adventures Continue and Sexism Veiled as “Feminism”

My new birth certificate arrived on Wednesday. Today, I went back to Service Canada and Service BC to order new ID with my new name. I also had to go to my cable provider and bank to update my name. For the most part, it was a much better experience than last week. But, I still have stories.

Regardless of the stories — I will share them shortly — it was a mostly positive experience. Then, I arrived home. My mood changed very quickly.

I received a text from Kid2 — who is 14 — informing me that some female, who calls herself a feminist, told him, “All guys have no feelings and only like girls for sex.” He wanted to know what I thought about that statement because he was having an argument with a “feminist.” I’m putting “feminist” in quotes because, and I think most would agree, that type of comment is not what feminists believe. I also told him that some feminists would say that type of thinking is patriarchal and not feminism.

But, of course, there are those who label themselves as feminist who truly believe that all men are sex craved, emotionless pigs.

It is the sex craved, emotionless pigs brand of “feminism” that is the prevailing school of thought where I live. I grew up with this brand of “feminism.” It is what kept me “in the closet” for so long. It is one of the major contributing factors to the huge amounts of anxiety and panic that build up every time I go to talk or write about being a FTM transgender individual.

I grew up being told men were evil bastards by women who labelled themselves as “feminists.”

I had really hoped by the time my boys reached the age of “manhood” that this type of thinking would no longer be prevalent. I suppose I was wrong.

No-one should be on the receiving end of such hate, regardless of what genitals hang/sit between their legs. It is completely unacceptable.

I really dislike the fact that it appears that my boys are growing up in the same type of environment that I grew up in; one that forced me to remain in the closet for far too long. I really wish they lived in this world I only get to read about on the Internet. A world where feminists don’t hate men and are not transphobic. Because it is certainly not our “in meat space” reality.

While it is great to have knowledge that not all feminists think this way, without any reoccurring real life experiences with the good brand of feminism, at times it is difficult to believe it exists. I have met something like a thousand women in my life. By meet, I mean in physical space, not just online. I can count on two hands the number of them who were not either transphobic or believed all men are pigs, while labelling themselves as feminists. While close to a thousand isn’t a huge number, real life experiences do play a role in these things. And when the large majority have treated you one way, believing in the other can be difficult.

Some may take issue with this comment. Maybe if you reverse the situation, you can understand it to some degree. If you grew up in an area that has a lot of misogyny, then I’d understand why you fight so hard for equality for women, even if that isn’t the fight I grew up with, and that my boys are growing up with.

I have many more thoughts about this. Most of them are not really appropriate for public consumption.

To the feminists who are not under the belief that men are pigs, and who are not transphobic: Please be louder! I’d really like it if you brand of feminism reached my area and my boys and I no longer have feel like we have to mentally/emotionally guard ourselves around women. Also, you need to drown out the above mentioned “feminists” because they really are not doing an favours for something that, at its very basic bones, is about equality for all, and not a belief that one sex or gender is better than the other. I really like that you exist. I really want to see a day where I didn’t feel like you were unicorns.

Please don’t hate me for the unicorn comment.

All of the above being said, despite our anti-discrimination laws, the treatment I received last week when I went to Service Canada and Service BC regarding my legal name change no longer surprises me.

I can say this week was mostly better.

When I went to Service Canada, it was the same lady at the reception. She remembered me. Though, this time, she didn’t make me repeat my name three times. Again, she did the head shake thing, but it wasn’t as noticeable.

When I was speaking with the Service Canada agent, they just didn’t bother mentioning my name at all. Whether it was for privacy reasons — the office was pretty full — or because she was uncomfortable saying it, I’ll never know. I’m going to give her the benefit of the doubt and think it is for privacy reasons, even though she did make me say my parents names out loud, and spell my mother’s birth name, out loud.

So… I have very mixed feeling about that encounter, especially considering the awesome that was the visit to Service BC.

HUGE improvement over last week.

This time, the agent was male. It was the same agent who, last month, gave me the name change application and answered the buckets of questions I had.

So, I handed him my new birth certificate and legal name change certificate and he smiled when he saw my new name. Then, he used “Jules” frequently and without indicating that he thought it was weird that I gave myself two masculine names. Each time he said my name, it was with a barely visible smile. Part of my brain thinks he “knows.” Then, he would say “Jules” in one sentence, and “hun” in the next. Then, when it came time to take my photo, and I couldn’t get my bangs out of my eyes, he made a comment about how I need to have his 2mm hair. It was very difficult to not continue laughing during the taking of the second photo (the first had to be deleted because of bangs over my eyes).

So, that was an extremely wonderful and comfortable experience. It took much longer than the Service Canada visit because there were a lot more records that needed to be changed.

Shaw — my cable provider — was also a good experience. The lady there said she thought Jules was a really nice name.

The bank was a good experience, except for something unrelated to the name change thing. If my sponsorship cheque does turn out to be fraudulent, that story will be told another day.

But, the account manager lady with whom I dealt really liked my first name and she found my middle name to be really interesting. She had all sorts of questions about it. I didn’t get into gender identity. I just told her that Jules is the name I’ve gone by my entire life. I don’t even know people are talking about me/ to me if they used my birth name. As for the middle name, because of heritage reasons.

She also had to update my self-employment information, and told me that she thought I was funny when I said, after telling her that I do podcasting, website design, and freelance writing, “I’m never really sure how to answer that question. Normally, I say I entertain geeks for a living. But, most people I come across in my real life don’t understand what that means.”

Then, when I got home, I had to phone Telus and update my name with them. The guy made no comments about my new name, so that was good.

Now, all I have to do is update my information with the boys’ school and I’m done! Though, I kinda feel weird about that one, because it is the same school I went to for high school, and a lot of my old teachers are still there.

In 10 – 15 businesses days, I should have my new SIN card and my BC Services Card — a new thing that is photo ID, and combines your BC Carecard and BC Driver’s Licence, though I didn’t renew my licence, for reasons.

TL;DR – Today was another mixed day. While dealing with sexism, especially when directed towards my 14-year-old, was really shitastic, my experiences finalizing all name change things was mostly very positive. So, I’ll consider today a major win. And with that major win in mind, I’ll remind myself that things are getting better. I may wish that they get better quicker, but they are getting better.

At the end of the day, that is what matter. Right?

One Response to Name Change Adventures Continue and Sexism Veiled as “Feminism”

  1. Shirley says:

    Glad this week’s experience was better. Maybe I’m a unicorn, but if I am, so are my IRL friends. I’m a feminist, a socialist and a few other ists as well. I believe we’re all equal, and have different skills and abilities that we should just celebrate rather than let them drive us apart. I care most about what you’re like, how you treat others, not what’s betwixt your legs. In my life, most of the people I know think that, too. Maybe I’m just very blessed.

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