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Celebrate Your Unique Self by Using Your True Name

Robyn Exton

Dec 07, 2021

Celebrate Your Unique Self by Using Your True Name

What’s in a name? Names are extremely important for the trans community. A chosen name validates your gender identity and allows you to be your authentic self. Depending on where you are in the world, it can be a difficult and often expensive process to change your name on all of your documents, IDs, and bank cards. But the value of having your true name on everything can’t be underestimated.

For trans people, being faced with your deadname on your documents and cards every day can worsen gender dysphoria and induce feelings of shame. It can also make misgendering more likely.

If a shopkeeper, colleague, acquaintance, or someone you’re newly dating sees your card, they could find out your deadname or have questions about why your name doesn’t align with your gender identity. It’s important that the process of changing your name should be as quick and easy (and inexpensive) as possible to avoid these issues.

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Mastercard Empowers LGBTQIA+ People with New Feature

Thankfully, some companies are beginning to realize this issue and change their processes to make changing your name easier, allowing trans people to be their authentic selves all the time. Mastercard has recently introduced a new feature to empower trans and non-binary people to use their ‘True Name’ on their documents. The company has said: “We believe in everyone’s right to be their true self and proudly commit to playing our part to make that happen.”

Now, even if you’re still in the process of changing your legal name and gender, or struggling with the process, you can have your authentic name on your bank cards, reducing gender dysphoria and potential discrimination. Mastercard announced the new initiative at World Pride in New York City back in 2019, and now it’s a reality for cardholders. Because a name is so much more than just a name – it’s your identity, your authentic self, and a statement of who you are. It deserves to be recognized as such.

Trans and Non-binary Card Holders Get to Choose Their True Name

For transgender and non-binary cardholders, Mastercard has committed to making it as easy as possible to get your true name on your bank cards. Since it was first announced, a number of Mastercard’s partner banks have started to offer this service on their bank cards too, so there are lots of different options for trans people looking for a bank with their best interests at heart. Participating banks include Citi, BMO Harris Bank, TSYS, One, Marqeta, FIS, and more. This is still expanding. BM Technologies and Republic Bank & Trust Company both recently agreed to begin offering the service to their customers as well, enabling even more people to have their true name reflected on their credit cards, debit cards, and prepaid cards.

Mastercard is also planning to expand its True Name service across the globe, offering the service to cardholders in Europe, the Middle East, and Latin America soon. In Europe, bunq and Monzo will be two of the first banks to enable their cardholders to use their chosen name on all of their cards.  Wherever they are, trans people deserve to be validated, which includes using their correct names and pronouns. It’s important for each of us to take an individual responsibility to do this, but it’s also vital for companies to take it upon themselves to do the same.

Safe and Secure Payments

When people think about safe and secure payments, they generally think about keeping their details secure, cybersecurity with online banking and card payments, and being safe from fraud. For trans and non-binary people, it can be so much more than that. It’s about physical and emotional safety as well. According to the National Center for Transgender Equality, nearly a third (32%) of people who have shown an ID with a name or gender not matching their gender identity or presentation had a negative experience. This included being harassed, denied services, and attacked. This is why it’s so important to make the process of changing someone’s name on documents and cards as easy as possible. 

In the advert for the new service, trans star Frankie explained: “For transgender people, a secure payment doesn’t mean protecting yourself from someone buying sneakers with your card. No. If you’re transgender, a secure payment means paying for something without being judged, questioned, disrespected, humiliated, harassed, even assaulted simply because the name on your card doesn’t match how you identify. This is about more than just keeping your card safe, it’s about keeping us safe.” We couldn’t agree more.

Sign of Acceptance

At the end of the day, we all just want to be accepted. For trans people, changing your name can be an important marker of self-acceptance. It’s a key step in embracing who you are and having the bravery to introduce your true self to the world. It can be a long journey to accept yourself, and all many trans and non-binary people want is for the world to accept them in the same way.

Being accepted by companies is also important. We have to interact with companies every day. They are our employers, our service providers, our landlords, and insurers. We rely on them for our food, our finances, our communication, and our social lives. So, the importance of company’s showing their commitment to inclusion cannot be underestimated. For trans people, these companies can cause huge personal issues when they don’t take trans people into account when they design their services. Trans people belong everywhere and deserve to be included and accepted everywhere. It’s time for companies to understand this and make sure their policies and practices reflect this.

Accessible for Credit Cards, Debit Cards and Prepaid Cards

Mastercard offers its new ‘True Name’ option for all of its different cards, including credit cards, debit cards, and prepaid cards. So, no matter what your financial situation is or how you spend money, you can be sure that it’s available to you. Trans people, of course, share one key thing in common, but they’re also a broad and diverse community, including people from all different walks of life. It’s important that services for trans people cater to all trans people, no matter what their personal situation or experiences are. 

This is an amazing service, and all we can hope for is that other companies start taking notice, and taking steps to actively include trans people, and make their lives easier through their services. Mastercard’s EVP of marketing and communications Cheryl Guerin said: “Inclusion is the foundation of what we stand for as a company, which is why we continue to call on the industry to join this effort and enable cardholders to leverage their chosen name because everyone deserves financial products that reflect their true identity.” Companies everywhere, take note.

No More Painful Daily Reminders

If you’re a trans or non-binary person, you know how difficult it can be to face your deadname day after day. It’s like being misgendered, but by your own belongings. By companies that you rely on for your finances and your livelihood. Thankfully, this is soon to become a thing of the past, and it couldn’t come soon enough. 

With your new card, your life can be free of those small moments of shame and fear. You can lean fully into your authentic self and be exactly who you are, all the time. When Mastercard first launched the feature, Cheryl Guerin said: “Since introducing the True Name feature, we’ve received incredible feedback from our partners and allies within the transgender and non-binary communities on how the capability has eased a major pain point in their lives.” Now, you can take advantage of this too.

Find Your Inner Circle with HER

Having a community of like-minded people around you who can understand your experiences and know what you’re going through is vital. If you’re a transgender or non-binary person, wouldn’t it be amazing to have someone to give you tips on navigating trans life – like getting your true name on your documents, or finding resources? HER is a safe space for LGBTQ+ to meet, share experiences and make lifelong connections. 

With HER’s Communities section, you can join conversations specifically with other trans and non-binary people. There, people will know what you’re going through. You don’t have to worry about being understood or accepted. You can just be completely and unapologetically yourself. Whether you’re looking for love, for a hook-up or to build an LGBTQ+ support system, you can find it on HER.

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Robyn Exton

Robyn is the CEO & Founder of HER. Find her on Twitter.

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