'I'm the sole provider and care taker:' gender, class and name changing in New York City, 1892-2012
(Conferences / Seminars / Lectures)
This essay's close look at the name change petitions housed in the New York City Civil Court over the course of a century allows us to see the ways that women and transgender people throughout the 20th and 21st centuries increasingly came to use name changing as a tool to empower themselves, to shape their gender identities and to challenge gender norms. At the same time, however, the petitions also indicate the repressive elements of name change law, as women and transgender people have increasingly felt it necessary to undertake the bureaucratic difficulties associated with name changing in order to establish the personal identity and familial authority that non-trans men are granted automatically in United States legal tradition. Examining the name change petitions of non-trans women and transgender people (both men and women) illustrates both the promise of name changing, and its limitation, as a vehicle for restructuring gender norms. more information...