Tuesday, February 27, 2024

What's My Name?

Right before the pandemic hit in March 2020, my husband and I went to the DMV and obtained our REAL IDs from the Commonwealth of Virginia.

This identification is recognized by the state and federal governments.

When I married, I chose to drop my maiden name. I changed my Social Security card. I changed my driver's license. Some places would not make the change no matter how often I complained about it, like hospitals and oddly enough the women's college I attended. So even though officially, as far as I was concerned, I was First Name, Middle Name, Married Name, the Maiden Name has followed me around.

When I went in to get my Real ID, I had to take along identifying documents that my husband didn't need. I had to take my birth certificate, my marriage license, and some kind of bill that had my name on it. The latter was difficult because when we married 40 years ago, the utilities were put in my husband's name. That is how it was done back them. I mean, we were only 9 years out from women being able to have a credit card when I married. 

Most of the documents I had in my possession were not the documents the state needed for my Real ID, but they had them on file. I had to pay for the copies so they could then use them to get my driver's license. It seemed a little obscene, because they could pull it up and look at it right there, but I later needed the documents for some of my husband's retirement paperwork, so it all worked out in the end.

Still, I consider the ID requirements to be gender biased and discriminatory against women. Taking your husband's name is what people do. I know some people hyphenate or sometimes they keep their maiden name, but the majority of women who marry a man take the man's name. They've been doing this for hundreds of years. The marriage license is on file with the state; they pulled it up and looked at it. It was right there. Yet it cost me considerably more to get the Real ID than it cost my husband because I had to get hard copies of those documents.

A Real ID is supposed to be the most valid ID you can have next to a passport. I don't have a passport, but I do have Real ID. The state recognizes my name as First Name, Middle Name, Married Name. 

So, imagine my surprise when last week an officer at a banking institution informed me that she would need a document with ALL of my names on it - first name, middle name, maiden name, married name. How many women do you know who have documents with all of that on it? Not many women have all of that on their driver's license, I bet.

I argued with her that the Real ID should be enough. I also told her if she was going to make this difficult, then the reason we were talking would go away quickly enough as it was just something we used for convenience. I don't need to deal with this bank, although I have dealt with this bank for almost 40 years. I am even a stockholder in this bank, which makes this oddball requirement all the more egregious.

We are still trying to work this out. But now I don't know who I am, if my Real ID isn't good enough for a bank but is good enough for the state and the federal government. 


  1. What a hassle! Definitely the left hand not talking to the right hand.

  2. I had to get a new certified copy of our marriage certificate to show to get my real ID. Now we need to get a passport in case we tale a cruise this year. We will see. As of, I can't fly because of my ear that is healing. Stomach now bothering me because of the antibiotics. Did your voice come back?

  3. The double standard for women is alive and well in the USA. I feel like I have a front row seat for watching women's rights disappear. I'm sorry they gave you this awful hard time.


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