Birth Certificate. | Teen Ink

Birth Certificate.

March 10, 2019
By uberbearsharkm8 PLATINUM, Seminole, Florida
uberbearsharkm8 PLATINUM, Seminole, Florida
26 articles 0 photos 3 comments

“What’s your name?”

“You know my name.”

“No, I mean, what’s your real name?”

“That is my real name.”

“You know what I mean.”

“No, I don’t.”

“What’s on your birth certificate?”

When you’re openly transgender, it seems as if people care about your birth certificate much more than they do for others. You’re constantly asked your “real” name and your “real” gender; and you learn very quickly that when people say “real,” what they’re asking for is a verbal copy of your birth certificate. 

It’s interesting, really. I have never seen cisgenders be asked what they “really are” before using a restroom. I have never witnessed a single cisgender be told that they need to give strangers their “real name,” even if they were very obviously utilizing a nickname. 

I have never been asked for a reading of my birth certificate unless someone has been explicitly told that I am indeed transgender. It’s almost as if birth certificates only matter when bigots can use them to attempt to invalidate someone’s existence.

As an openly transgender youth, I have become accustomed to conversations such as these whenever I interact with the ignorant. When conversing with them, I have been forced to find ways to justify my identity despite what my legal documents may state. I address my accomplishments, my GPA, my extracurriculars, and yet, inexplicably, what I say is always overshadowed by a document collecting dust in my garage.

My birth certificate now plagues my mind constantly. I think of how it is all America’s presidential administration would acknowledge if addressing me. I understand it is all that would seem valid to those in history which I revered. I realize that to many, it is the only thing which gives me an identity. 

I only hope that someday my transgender brothers and sisters will be seen as more than a mere sheet of paper.


The author's comments:

Daily I am reminded that to millions, who I am is nothing more than my birth certificate, all because I am not the gender which corresponds to the sex I was assigned at birth. With the current political state of America, I have seen the ignorance and bigotry against myself and my transgender brethren increase, and I hope with every fiber of my being that someday I can do something to lessen these pains. I am transgender, and I am still human.


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