Rep Ayanna Presley’s bill would fix transgender and nonbinary credit report issues

  • After my gender-affirming legal name change, I had a hard time getting an apartment.
  • I was accused of identity theft and fraud because my credit report was split in two.
  • A new bill proposed by Rep. Ayanna Pressley could change things for other trans and non-binary people.

The day the court approved my gender-affirming legal name change was one of the happiest days of my life.

After taking the decree to change my legal name in the courthouse, I danced outside the building. I FaceTimed to share the good news with my sisters and my closest friends. We cried, laughed, and celebrated this major milestone together.

Even though it was one of the happiest parts of my gender transition, I still don’t understand how the financial system we all depend on is inadequate to care for transgender and non-binary people.

I experienced housing discrimination because the credit bureaus did not process my name change correctly

After changing my legal name, I did all the next recommended steps. I have updated my name and gender with the Social Security Administration. I dutifully waited in line at the DMV to update my driver’s license and registration. I have updated my name in my bank accounts.

Six months later, it was time for me to find a new apartment gender confirmation surgery, When I was applying for apartments, I told potential landlords that I was transgender, explaining that they might see a different name on my previous financial records.

Even when I paid the credit and background check fees, three reputable management companies in Los Angeles completely trusted me after disclosing that information. Finally, a management company told me they were having trouble processing my application because I was split. credit report – One under my dead name, and the other under my new legal name.

I was repeatedly accused of fraud, and had to pay an additional security deposit

Desperate to secure stable housing months before receiving a major surgery, I complied with the only management company that was willing to take the time to work with me. They asked for several different forms of identification, both under my new legal name and my deceased name, to verify the split credit report.

The management company asked why my social security number came in 2004 if I was born in 1991. I told that I am a Filipino immigrant who came here in my teens. Then he asked to see my certificate of naturalization to prove what I was saying. Luckily, I had it on hand, but I wondered how many cisgender people would have to submit their certificate of naturalization to get an apartment in the first place.

When I finally got approval for the apartment, I had to install the utilities for my new home. Because of my split credit report, I had to go to a branch to set up my account in person as I was not allowed to do it over the phone. I also needed to make a $200 deposit to turn on my utilities, because my split credit report made me less creditworthy.

It Can Take Years to Change My Name on My Credit Report

Only of the three major credit bureaus Experian Has publicly expressed support for the transgender and non-binary community. and late Procedure to change my legal name on my credit report Quite straightforward with Equifax, TransUnion requires trans and non-binary people to call every individual financial institution on its report – meaning every institution you’ve ever dealt with, not just your current bank. and lenders – to report their legal name change.

Every time I need to report my legal name change to a financial institution, I worry that I will experience transphobia, homophobia, or other forms of violence by opting out myself. Even after investing your time and energy into reporting my legal name change, it can take months for the credit bureaus to process the change.

Because of my split credit report, I’m afraid to move out of my apartment and go through the same housing discrimination again. I fear it may prevent me from being able to buy a home one day – or, if I qualify for a mortgage, it will just be with a higher interest rate.

A new bill proposed by Rep. Ayanna Presley could make things easier for trans and nonbinary people

Unfortunately, my story is common in my community. A 2016 study by National Center for Transgender Equality shows that 19% of transgender and non-binary people have been denied housing because of their gender identity.

But a new bill proposed today by Representative Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) could change things. If enacted, credit reporting accuracy following the Legal Name Change Act will ensure that trans and non-binary people don’t have to jump through the same hoops as I have.

The bill would mandate credit bureaus to stop using dead names and to start referring to trans and non-binary people by their correct names. It will also direct the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to put in place a system where consumers can submit a single request to all bureaus to update their legal name to ensure that no credit history is lost and no reports are made. is not divided.

Pressley says, “In this country, your credit score is your financial reputation. The credit reporting system perpetuates inequalities that marginalize our most valuable consumers – including our trans and nonbinary siblings. Passing the bill will be a meaningful step as we work towards long overdue economic justice for the trans community.”

Update, 3:58 pm This story has been updated to include details about the bill’s direction to the CFPB.

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