In what feels like record processing time, my legal name change application was processed less than two weeks after filing it.
Here is what was required to change your name in the Province of Alberta:
- Obtain the application package from your local registry office, you can’t get it online, only hard copy.
- Fill out the consent to have your name change published in the Alberta Gazette;
- Swear an affidavit before a Notary or Commissioner of Oaths;
- Visit your local police detachment so they can electronically fingerprint, then check that against various databases. The fee in Peace River was $50, cash, exact change only.
- Your birth certificate, the original, you’re surrendering it,
- A copy of your driver’s licence or other ID.
- $214 in filing fees (what I paid in Peace River).
Once you have secured all of that you trundle off to your local registry office and they will process it for you – I was told three to four months processing time, but in my case, it was processed after six working days.
I was hugely impressed by Service Alberta and Vital Statistics Alberta.
Why it mattered…
This is the name that will be etched on my tombstone. While that may sound grim, morbid, and final, it’s reality and it’s the most effective way to outline the significance.
A legal name is how the system interacts with you, it’s the name on my tax forms, the name on my medical records, the name on my birth record, and the name on my pay stubs. A name is a critical component of a person’s identity. I knew deep down this would be something significant for me, far more significant that starting Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT). I totally underestimated what it would feel like when it happened.
The moment I found out, I initially was silent, detached, and even disassociated. My mail carrier had intercepted me on the way from my home to my car, I was on my way back to work after lunch. The mail carrier stopped me because they had a package of clothes my partner had ordered, there was also an envelope from Service Alberta – ironically addressed to my old name.
My drive to work is less than five minutes but about halfway there I burst into tears. I balled my eyes out pulling into my parking spot. I sat and cried for another five minutes in my idling car before getting myself together. I got out of the car, plugged it in and walked to my office, it was minus 37 Celsius and the drying tears in my eyes started to freeze within seconds.
After getting inside my office, I ran into a coworker/friend, I couldn’t find any words whatsoever, so I handed them the certificate. They read it, I watched realization dawn on their face when they congratulated me and I burst into uncontrollable crying again.
With my friend’s help, I pulled myself together a bit, got some kleenex and was about to head to my desk when another coworker/friend appeared. The process repeated itself again. Between tears, I think I managed to say, “I so happy but I can’t stop crying.”
Eventually, I did stop crying and I returned to my life already in progress, this time, legally, officially, etc. Autumn Hulme.
Changing my name legally was very important to me, I think this is a common feeling for many trans people. While it was a pain in the ass, I am so glad it’s done.
The next step is a new birth certificate….