My brain has been stuck in rant mode for over 24 hours now. Ah, the perils of a public coming out and transition; a transition that will never be “complete” by some people’s standards.
If you follow me on Twitter, then you may have seen me rant yesterday about a PR person who contacted me and addressed me by the wrong name. It is important to know that this person is not someone with whom I’ve previously worked.
People with whom I’ve worked for years first became a contact long before I came out as a trans man. When dealing with companies that have a good-sized PR team, sometimes it can take some time for all contact information to be updated. And because of the sheer volume of different people with whom I’m associated, I’m not always aware that contact information is incorrect until I’m sent an email or something comes in the mail and it’s addressed to the wrong person.
But, when it comes to new people–new meaning within the last almost three years since I came out in public and changed my name in all online spaces–my brain thinks there isn’t an excuse. If my name is listed as Jules Sherred on the site that brought me to someone’s attention, what possible excuse is there to address me by the wrong name?
The problem is that my long established email address contained the wrong name. Well, I really didn’t think it was too much of a problem. After all, my real name is listed everywhere. So, right or wrong, I just assumed common sense would be to refer to someone by the name they have listed everywhere, and not the name that is attached to a domain name that is no longer active.
But, I guess I was wrong to make such an assumption, as new people continually contact me and address me by the wrong name, instead of my actual real and legal name that is listed everywhere.
I know I keep repeating “listed everywhere” but that is very important to me. And not only is it listed everywhere online (in places that I’m currently active) but it also the name on my birth certificate and all of my ID. You see, when you change your name in Canada (exception being Quebec), they don’t simply amend your birth certificate. They completely destroy your original birth records and create new ones. For all intent and purposes, it is a rebirth. The other identity does not exist.
It is really important to me that the other identity completely dies. As I’ve written before, I can’t do physical transitions. All I have is personal agency and my real name.
In response to yesterday’s events, I did something I should have done three years ago. I changed my email addresses. Now begins the near impossible task of contacting thousands of people with the new contact information.
This is why I didn’t do it sooner. It’s a complete pain. Yesterday, I spent eight hours updating various accounts and informing people of the new address, and I haven’t even put a dent in this whole affair. It may take months before this is complete.
But, I fear it will never be enough. I fear that the wrong name will never go away.
Because my coming out happened on the internet. Once something is on the internet, it is always on the internet. I did a search yesterday to find places I may have forgotten and saw that one of the audio books I published under the wrong name has been uploaded to free mp3 sites. Someone actually took the time to rip the audio from Bandcamp and pirate it! That’s weird. But, the point is, I had planned to redo the audio book and the eBook and republish it under my now legal and right name. I’ll still do so, when I find the time, but those old files will still forever be on the internet, along with many other things. Plus, there are many other places where my name is listed wrong that I cannot control. And, there is the fact I made my wrong name known in my coming out post, which I wrote in order to help other trans people, so I’m reluctant to scrub it there.
At the end of last year, an article I wrote made national headline news. Despite it saying my real name that is listed everywhere, when my family shared it, they would say, “Look! My [insert feminine family label] [insert wrong name] is in the news! How cool is that?”
You want to know what’s not cool? That you shared it by using the wrong name despite the real name and the name that is listed everywhere being the name mentioned in the article! My family will never change. This is just one of many reasons why I have absolutely no contact with them.
When family does it, it hurts. When strangers do it, it hurts, too. I think when strangers do it, it hurts me even more. Why?
Because strangers have no reason to call me by the wrong name. They’ve never known me by the wrong name. They’ve only ever seen my name listed as Jules Sherred. So why on earth would they address by anything else?
I actually had a PR person say to me, “Sorry. I can’t call you Jules. It’s a masculine name.” DUH! That’s the point! That is also the last time I’ll have any contact with you, you transphobic PR person.
I’m currently feeling a little bit of envy for my trans sisters and brothers who can transition and move to a new place and be stealth. Unfortunately, as someone who, by virtue of their job, lives on the internet, I can never go stealth. My wrong name will always have the potential of catching up with my real name.
Some may think, “So what? It’s just a name.” When your name is one of the few things you can control about your gender expression, it means everything. This is a big deal.
It may also be beneficial to know that there are people who use my wrong name as a way to harass and attack me, while calling me a pedo and a tranny and threatening to kill me.
I’m just really tired of people ignoring my identity. I’m really tired of people who have absolutely no cause to call me by the wrong name, calling me by the wrong name. I’m really tired of having to repeatedly correct people about my preferred pronouns, despite mentioning them multiple times and writing about it. I’m really tired of people feminizing me. I’m just really tired of living on the internet. I’m just really tired of it all.
One day, I may create business cards and change all of my bios to simply read: Jules “My Actual Legal Name, Thanks” Sherred.
Please don’t call me by anything else. I’m at the point where I don’t have the patience to be polite about this anymore. I’m at the point where I’m want to start calling people by names that are opposite to their expressed gender and using the opposite personal pronouns.
My name is Jules.