Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Ohio's Name Change Policy is Bullshit.

So, I thought I was going to spaz about this more, but it turns out, weddings are stressful. That said, my fiance and I have been going through a song and dance about what we're doing with our names, and I would like to take a moment to talk about that.

If you're one of those assholes that doesn't think I'm entitled to everything that he is, and are going to be easily offended by the idea that I don't want to give up my name, don't read. We'll both be happier for it. Unless you decide to fight me and then, ultimately only I will be happier for it : ]

Trigger Warnings: Abuse, Transphobia, Excessive Swearing, Legitimately the State of the Fucking World Right Now

So we're having this conversation about what to do about our last names. Ultimately, there are only two options on the table. Either he hyphenates with me or we each keep our own. And I can already hear old people in the distance yelling "foul"; please see yourselves out. I don't have time to entertain people in my life who think I'm worth less than my fiance, and when you tell me I owe it to him to change my name when he doesn't have to, that's what you're saying.

Ohio is a pretty good state in a lot of ways. Right now, it's not being super great, though. It turns out, the process to change your name in Ohio is a long and sordid complicated process, for one thing. First, there's paperwork. That you have to pay for. You have to run an ad in the paper 30 days before you can actually change it, which you have to pay for. You have to have a hearing and they might not even let you change it at that point.

Of course there is one free name change allowed when you get married...but they only cover it if it's the wife changing her name to her husband's. Not hyphenating, not if he's changing his name to hers, only if she's changing hers to his. Hello, I thought it was 2018?

I don't even want to hear anyone try to explain this to me, let's not pretend you and I don't both know what this is about. It's antiquated. Once upon a time, a wedding was more of a business transaction and then guys decided they wanted to cling to that because they felt like it was what they were owed by virtue of having fragile dangly bits. I guess this idea that it should just be a given that a woman gives up a part of herself to be with you is kind of armor for those squishy parts.

But for whatever reason it's probably going to be about 400$ total if we decide to hyphenate and that's not even getting into the fees it's going to take to go about changing our names on unrelated paperwork.

Oh, but if I sit down and roll over like a good little girl it's free.

Fuck you, Ohio.

And that's not even getting into what a pain in the ass it has to be for trans people wanting to legally change their names? I'm sorry, they have to run an ad in the fucking paper about it? I don't think I have to go and get the statistics regarding how many are murdered each year because some dude panicked and decided their existence was an attack on his once again fragile squishy dangly bits, but you know, this is a thing that happens.

Oh, and don't get me started on women who have been abused and are trying to get away from their abusers. Having to run an ad. In the paper. To get their name changed to get away from some asswipe. My abuser didn't look for me that hard once I left his life. That was probably a smart decision on his part. Not because of my dad, not because of my uncles, not because of my grandfather, not because of my brothers, though all of them are very capable of putting him in the hospital. Not even because of my mother, who scared the principal of my high school enough that he locked himself in his office rather than speak to her when he was being unfair to my brother.

Because of me.

Real talk, not everyone is lucky enough to have a good enough support group that they can recover from being systematically rammed into the ground like that. Let me paint you a fucking picture. Abusers want you to feel like you're lower than dirt and they start subtle. It's all love and compliments and then they start slipping in little slights here and there. Small insults. Things that you think 'well, that isn't worth getting angry over, I can forgive it'.

Then suddenly it's half and half. Then suddenly they only say nice things when they think you're asleep and can't hear it anyway. Then at the point when you start to think 'wow, maybe I am as worthless as they say I am', they start breaking your things. Then they're putting you through the fucking dry wall.

That shit can happen to anyone. Anyone can be brainwashed like that.

Not just anyone has enough people that love them and are willing to put the time in to build them back up. It takes strength to get the fuck out. And it causes so much fucking paranoia. I can't even tell you how many friends I abandoned because I was afraid they'd tell my ex where I was and what I was doing--he was the kind of asshole that would show up because someone mentioned it without knowing the whole story.

And we were only together for two years. Now imagine going through that for ten or better. Imagine getting out and thinking 'this is the fresh start, and I will be someone else now' and being told 'no, you can't even apply to do this unless you advertise it in the fucking newspaper where he will probably see it'.

At this point, I just want to hyphenate my name. We still haven't for sure decided to do it yet. Josh has legitimate reasons to hesitate and he doesn't expect me to take his if he isn't going to add mine as well. This is a discussion. We both have decisions to make.

But Ohio. Seriously. Loki's perfectly sculpted posterior, you need a reality check. Bare minimum, you need to move the 'ad in the paper' step until /after/ the hearing, /if/ you think it's still merited to do it. Those laws are not in place to stop battered women from being safe or trans people from being who they are. For fuck's sake stop penalizing people who don't deserve it because somebody might be dodging bankruptcy.

Fortune's Furious,
Megan R. Miller

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