Road to a Name Change: Part 4

As November 2021 rolled around, I had a hearing date. I had a list of documents I needed to submit prior to my hearing. I had a growing pile of scores with my new name on them, and I was drafting the email that would accompany them on their journeys to commissioners and past purchasers. I was still putting out blogs on occasion, but because there was so much going on behind the scenes, it made more sense to focus on prep work for December 1. Though updating my scores was a monumental task, the most difficult single component of the public announcement was updating my website. And somehow, the thing that made it easiest and the thing that made it hardest were one and the same: I blog.

On the upside, posting on my website regularly means that I’m checking on it regularly. I’m linking pages, talking about new projects, updating my works list, and making little touch-ups relatively consistently. I generally know what’s where. On the downside, posting regularly means there’s a LOT of content hanging out on there, so any major changes mean there’s a very real possibility something will go wrong.

Because I was changing my name, I was also going to need a new web domain. While this wasn’t a huge deal, it was also the biggest top-level change I’d ever made, so I found myself considering what else I should do to start this new part of my life with a website I was happy with. After using the free version of WordPress for five years, I knew I liked the functionality but was outgrowing what I could get while only paying for a domain and mapping. I’d also been eyeing WordPress.org for a couple years, and because I was in the financial position to do so, I made the jump over to using third-party hosting.

When you kick over from WordPress.com to .org, you export all your website data to a backup, select a plan with a web hosting service, register a new domain and/or move your old one, and import that content into your new site. Because WordPress itself isn’t hosting your site anymore, just providing the framework on which hit runs, the plugins that make websites actually genuinely fun don’t live behind an overpriced paywall anymore. Ultimately, that meant I could finally build the web store of my dreams.

My list of website upgrades and changes was pretty extensive, but here’s the big stuff:

  • Bought an upgraded version of a free theme. (Nick kindly made a perpetual-use license my birthday present, and we got it on pretty great sale.) $90, one-time.
  • Paid for web hosting. The platform I chose included a set amount of storage, various important security and compatibility features, plus a free (included-with-purchase) domain and unlimited email accounts ending in my domain name. It also explicitly was WooCommerce-ready. Different hosting providers offer different things at various price points, so I highly recommend doing your research. On other platforms, I couldn’t get all of what I wanted without bumping up a tier from where I currently am. $82 first year; each year after will be ~$150 until I need to pay for more storage and bump up a tier.
  • Set up my web store so I can automatically distribute scores when folks make a purchase. Uploaded all those scores, plus tape tracks and any other performance materials.
  • Since I was already editing every score I own, I made perusal scores available for everything currently for sale.
  • Took my deadname off EVERYWHERE I could find it on my site. (With the blogs, this was an ORDEAL.)
  • Because I could make products in my shop instead of individual pages for all of the sixty-plus pieces in my catalog, I was able to delete about two thirds of the static pages I used to have to maintain. (My WordPress web dev buddy is probably very proud.)
  • Revamped a bunch of pages, including my FAQ. This, like a lot of the other stuff involved, was free, but it took a long time. Especially since, y’know, a lot of people still misgender me and I need to take every chance I have to minimize that likelihood. That includes constantly reevaluating the language on my website!
  • Replaced hundreds of links that would soon be dead.
  • Oh, and I wrote my name announcement post.

All of this took dozens of hours, and that doesn’t even include revamping my Patreon, Bandcamp, SoundCloud, YouTube, etc.—or taking new photos that felt like they fit me a little better. There are still a lot of little things I want to fix or improve, but I did (somehow) get all the big stuff prepped and ready to go in November while teaching more classes than ever before.

But the nights were getting colder, November was drawing to a close, and it was almost time for the announcement itself. Next week, I’ll take you through that complicated dance.

Name change expenses in this section:

  • Web hosting and domain, one year, $82
  • Paid website theme (completely optional), $90

Running totals:

  • Part 1: $0
  • Part 2: $336
  • Part 3: $55
  • Part 4: $172

Total so far: $563


This is Part 4 of an ongoing series in which I document the process I underwent to legally (and publicly) change my name. I’ll take you through a different part of the process every week, until we get as close to the end as we realistically can. (Truly, I think it never really ends.) Check back in next week for the next installment!

Thanks for reading! If you learned something from this post and would like to tip me, head on over to my Ko-fi page. For more analysis and commentary like this in your life, come back every Saturday at 8pm MST. To support the long-term work I do as an artist and advocate, you can find me on Patreon and @honestlyeris on Instagram.