Changing Names as a Trans Prisoner

On February 7, the Wa DoC made a small change to their name change policy. It used to be that all they would do is add my (or anyone else’s) legal name to my file as an AKA, but insist upon continuing to call me by my dead name. Now they are still insisting on calling me by my dead name, but they have put a sticker on the back of my ID that says “(AKA) KIM, AMBER” that is to supposed to be used for access to notary and when dealing with anything outside the DoC, like the courts or what have you. Yet, they continue to argue that they cannot let a person in prison be known by multiple names when their rules have created a situation where I am officially recorded as having one name in the Wa DoC, and another literally everywhere else. I do not want to “be known by multiple names” I want to be known only as the one name.

Amber Fayefox Kim.

Thankfully, there is growing support to combat this. The Coalition for Trans Prisoners is wanting to push legislation similar to California’s Name and Dignity Act SB 310 here in Washington that would give people in prison greater access to the courts to get legal name changes done, as well as require the Wa DoC to recognize a person’s legal name as their one and only name.

I actually learned something that, while it does not surprise me, distresses me. In an earlier post I mentioned that the King County Jail has a lot of good trans policies, which at the time was true. Apparently they still have the policies, but they don’t follow them. Instead, they simply place all trans people in segregation and call it a day.

This is the kind of doublethink that I am constantly worried about. An organization can have wonderful policies, but if they don’t follow them then it’s still terrible. Conversely, an organization may have no policy what so ever, but if they treat everyone with the dignity and respect that any human being deserves, then it doesn’t matter.

Really, we only need to have all these policies and some way to make sure they are unforced because individuals in positions of power refuse to to treat people humanely. And that applies form the highest to the lowest person in a given organization.

If everyone would just play nice with others then there wouldn’t be a need for all this… pain and drama. Amazing how that works, ain’t it?

 

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