Here’s how Gay Street became Acceptance Street in this WorldPride mecca

MasterCard Acceptance Street New York City
Photo: Mastercard

Fun facts about historic Gay Street in Greenwich Village:

  • It takes up one charming, tree-lined curved block between Christopher Street and Waverly Place, within feet of the iconic Stonewall Inn and Stonewall National Monument.
  • It’s had its highly coincidental – some would say serendipitous – name since colonial times, which was likely taken from the name of a family who lived on the street back in the 18th century.

Honestly, this might be the best street in the world.

But last Monday, it got even better, thanks to Mastercard, which renamed it “Acceptance Street” in honor of WorldPride Month. The new name honors the more diverse way we’ve come to understand LGBTQIA+ community in the 21st century, with a more inclusive array of signs calling out all the various orientations, from Trans to Intersex to Pansexual to Two Spirit, ending with “+” to include literally everyone.

We can’t think of a better way to symbolize that everyone should be accepted no matter how they identify nor a better location to place such inclusive signage.

The company also announced another initiative that’s permanent and life-changing, paying homage to the diversity of modern consumers.

It’s called True Name.

Transgender and non-binary folk will no longer be “deadnamed” by the plastic in their wallets: Mastercard’s program allows members to obtain debit, credit, and prepaid cards bearing the name they actually use when they go about their daily lives, rather than the one assigned at birth.

Better yet: A legal name change, which can be an arduous process, isn’t required.

And it couldn’t come at a better time. As the equality movement has gained speed, trans people are facing discrimination. According to the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey, 32% of respondents who have shown an ID with a name or gender that did not match their gender presentation were verbally harassed, denied benefits or service, asked to leave, or assaulted. As such, many transgender individuals choose to forego the cost, complexity and anxiety associated with official name and gender changes.

This will ease a major pain point for the transgender and non-binary community, but Mastercard can’t do it alone. It is calling on the industry to apply these standards to everyone, ensuring a way for people’s financial products to reflect their actual identity.

The same day Acceptance Street made its WorldPride debut, Mastercard took part in a panel discussion alongside the New York City Commission on Human Rights, unveiling the True Name initiative it is working to bring to market.

Here’s what Mastercard Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer Randall Tucker had to say:

We are allies of the LGBTQIA+ community, which means if we see a need or if this community is not being served in the most inclusive way, we want to be a force for change to help address and alleviate unnecessary pain points. This translates not only for our Mastercard employee community but for our cardholders and the communities in which we operate more broadly. Our vision is that every card should be for everyone.

Someday, every street will be Acceptance Street and every financial institution will honor our chosen identity.

That day is coming.