This Pride Month, Queerty is highlighting global technology payments company Mastercard as the company expands a card feature that helps solve a very real problem worldwide. True Name® empowers trans and non-binary people to display their preferred names (rather than deadnames) on credit, debit, and prepaid cards without the requirement of a legal name change.
Mastercard continues to expand True Name® by adding issuing and fintech partners in North America and globally to help ensure cardholders worldwide can leverage their chosen name on their Mastercard cards and embrace who they truly are.
Trans writer Niko Stratis celebrates the initiative (and company) with examples drawn from the everyday life of trans people everywhere.
1. We no longer have to be reminded of who we’re not whenever we use a card
When trans people can’t have their proper name printed on something as simple as a debit card, it creates a constant reminder of a life that’s inauthentic. We want to be able to live as freely as everyone else—and avoid unnecessarily painful reminders of a life that isn’t ours. Something as simple as using your card at the checkout might seem easy to you, but it’s a source of constant stress and anxiety for transgender and non-binary people. With Mastercard’s True Name, that anxiety vanishes, leaving the confidence of feeling comfortable using a card that reflects the real people we are.
2. It empowers us to feel free to be who we are in all areas of life, even in the checkout line
With the True Name card feature, trans people don’t have to worry about what we look like, how we dress, talk or move when leaving the house to meet a friend for coffee, buying groceries, the simple pleasures of everyday life. Knowing the name on a card accurately reflects their presentation to the world means they’re free to let that presentation be what they chose, and not what an old name on a card tells the world they should be.
Too often, trans people present their card only to have it checked, double-checked, and questioned.
When cards cling to dead names, the cashier might stare, as if trying to decode the layers of deception. We might just be trying to buy groceries or a cup of coffee, but suddenly everything becomes complicated.
Is this really you? is the all-too-common refrain when they’re just trying to do daily tasks. Some even hide who they are, knowing we’ll be using our credit or bank card in public, choosing the shame of hiding our authentic selves over the fear and humiliation of being outed by the cashier. This is not a choice anyone should have to make and True Name means they don’t have to.
3. It means not having to worry about calling customer service
When we choose a name, we use a name.
But when we have to call into customer service and say, Hi my name is ____ and the response is sorry, there is no customer by that name, do you mean deadname? we feel like a liar even though we are really finally being honest. It’s a humiliating thing to have to choose between denying oneself and lying to oneself.
Calling customer service when our legal and real name doesn’t line up is stressful. Oftentimes, we avoid doing it entirely to avoid the shame attached to feeling othered. With True Name, identity will be respected. Dealing with financial matters is stressful enough, the added layer of having to suffer the stings of deadnames on the phone is too much. Trans and non-binary people just want to know that when you call, they will be treated with the care and respect everyone deserves.
4. It lets people use their real name while waiting to process paperwork
We know our names well before the courts recognized them. But every time we pay for something it is like living a lie, chipping a little piece of humanity away because we didn’t have the legal paperwork to make the name on a card line up with the name we are using. It’s hard, ordering something online to pick up at the store only to show up and have to say, The order says ___ but the card says deadname. It’s a dance of shame we have to do for anywhere from a few months to a few years.
Filing paperwork for a legal name change can be a long, daunting and expensive process. Mastercard’s True Name feature means that you can display your preferred name without the requirement of a legal name change. Even if you’re unsure if this is the name you’re going to keep, you can still use the name that’s right for you. It’s about owning who we are and not letting red tape get in the way of living authentically.
5. It tells us that companies are committed to inclusion beyond simply checking a box
Too often, companies say they stand with us, but they don’t do anything to show you that they consider you worth their investment. True Name is not just words.
The True Name card feature shows that sometimes it just takes a little respect to make a world of difference.
Watch the True Name video: