Nine months ago, nearly to the day, I carved out a little corner of the internet to call my own, and to declare myself Ashley Cooper. Today, that statement is finally true not just in my heart, but legally. When my fiancée handed me the envelope, I wouldn’t even let myself believe it was real until it was open and sitting in my hand.
I stood there for a couple minutes, just looking at my name change document and new birth certificate, flooded with emotions. Part of me was so happy I could cry (I did a little), part of me thought it was silly to feel so strongly about a legal formality. Part of me was relieved by the idea of being able to change all my identification and accounts over. Part of me was overwhelmed by the idea of having to change all my identification and accounts over.
While most people have been pretty cool about me handing them ID that doesn’t match the person in front of them, nothing feels quite so invalidating. It feels as if the silent exchange is a confession of sorts, showing them the ‘real me’ while I stand in front of them, unconvincing in my attempt to fool them.
So much is made of trans people’s identities, and try as we might to claim them for our own, and fight to have them respected, it’s a war we fight every day. There are too many days I like I’m not making progress, but today feels like a win, and I’ll take those where I can get them.