On signatures

25 12 2010

There is a lot of stuff out there on various aspects of life during and after transition. Ya know, hormones, surgery, getting letters, changing names and sex designation, how to deal with family, colleagues, medical practitioners. All that stuff. But as with anything, there are things that you don’t realise you will have to deal with until they come up. Lots of little things.

For example, it struck me early on that I would have to re-learn how to sign my name! When I started having to sign Jacky XXXX instead of Nancy YYYY (HA! Ironic association of letters with genders there!), it felt so . . . weird. I hadn’t put any thought at all into my signature until my early teens, when I “naturally” adopted my own unique individual way of signing my name. Before that, I had experimented with different ways of “fancifying” my signature, with froo-froo ways of adding little twists and curls to the first letter of my first and last names and so forth. At some point, I wound up signing with a block letter (non-script) version of the first letter of each name, with the rest of each name in non-fancy script form. It stuck and, when I think about it, my signature reflects my general character: somewhat plain and straightforward looking on the surface, with ideosyncracies that become more apparent upon examination.

In any case, my signature remained unchanged for over 20 years. And as lots of us know, when one does the same thing over and over again on a nearly daily basis for that amount of time, it becomes second nature. Changing it on account of having to *think* about it can feel a bit unnatural. So, like the mistake many of us make in any given January when we write the previous year on our cheques, I started many a signature early in my transition with Na—. Then when I would cross out the mistake and start signing Jacky XXXX, it always felt a little like I was trying to commit fraud by signing someone else’s name. It took quite a few months before signing my new name felt natural, but eventually I was able to ease into signing with the same style that I had signed my old one for all that time. But even now, after a couple of years, I sometimes double check because I wonder if I accidentally signed Nancy YYYY!

So note to people embarking on this exciting journey of officially changing one’s name, for whatever reason: start practising your signature as soon as you pick your new name : )

I’d love to hear about other people’s experiences with changing their signature in the comments section!

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8 responses

25 12 2010
On adjectives « Tboy Jacky

[…] my life up until transition when saying Je suis pleine or Je suis certaine. Suddenly, as with the signature issue, I would catch myself about to use an adjective with a feminine ending rather than with a […]

25 12 2010
genderkid

I love this series of posts about the “little things”. Something I struggled with a lot was my email address — at one point I had one address with my birth name (for use with family), one with my chosen name (for friends who knew), and one which was neutral (for classmates who didn’t know I was transitioning).

About signatures — when I started identifying as male, but wasn’t actively presenting as male everywhere, I didn’t want to sign my birth name, but didn’t want to explain why I was signing with a male name, either. Also, I was afraid that it would be rejected; for instance, if I was filling out a form with my legal name and signing with a different one. (That’s still a problem because trans people can’t change their names in Argentina without a huge fight. A new law might pass next year, though!)

So I started signing my last name. Luckily, my handwriting is so terrible that you can’t really read what my signature says; and now it has evolved into a scribble that doesn’t say anything (at least not in the Roman alphabet!)

25 12 2010
Jacky V.

Wow, it must’ve been a pain to keep track of those different email addresses! Funny about the scribble though! That is kind of an advantage for signatures. They don’t usually need to be legible, they just need to match what’s on cards and such. So if the scribble is consistent, I don’t think there are problems 🙂 Well, that is the case here anyway, not sure about your part of the world.

Thanks for commenting, Genderkid!

26 12 2010
Jarv Emmerson

my signature has stayed the same, i have the same first initial. Handy!

26 12 2010
Jacky V.

That’s awesome Jarv! Makes things a bit easier I bet!

I neglected to mention that I changed my last name as well as my first name. I took on my Mom’s last name – something I’d wanted to do for a long time since I didn’t really like my Dad’s family name. Nothing to do with my dad, but more of the general family associated with the name. I named myself after him though – he was Jacques in French, Jack to anglophones so in the end it works out.

Thanks for the comment!

27 12 2010
nix

i put a lot of thought into my first signature when i was in my early teens, and as a result it was a very teenage-looking signature, which was clearly my first (traditionally female/feminine) name with a few embellishments! however, i’d also taken to using my initials as a shorthand, unofficial signature in the few years before i changed my name. my new signature is based on that with my new initial at the front (my old name is my middle name now). it was strange changing my signature with banks, etc. and worrying that it was going to be an issue, but it went smoothly, thank goodness!

28 12 2010
Jacky V.

Nix, the teenage signature thing sounds like me! I changed my signature a few times back then. Especially the first letters of the names. Glad to know everything went smoothly for you with signing official paperwork.

6 01 2014
On adjectives | Jacky with a Y

[…] my life up until transition when saying Je suis pleine or Je suis certaine. Suddenly, as with the signature issue, I would catch myself about to use an adjective with a feminine ending rather than with a […]

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