Underlying reason

Posted: September 20, 2010 in Gender, Personal, Relationships
Tags: , , ,

A name has power. Asserting your right to name something according to your own judgement, whether that is an experience, a body part or your whole self (or anything else), has great power. Both in transforming the way you see whatever you have named, and the way others see that.

Personal names have power. I recently renamed myself outside of my family. This was because the old name, the gendered name, was hurting and erasing me (I refuse to call it ‘my’ name, because it was never ‘my’ name in any meaningful way; I have felt disconnected from it as long as I can remember in a way I never felt with my surname, which most people think is the name I’d dislike the most). It still does, when my family (who haven’t been told… yet) use it, or when my old friends slip up and use it, or when it’s read out from an official list. It’s not that it triggers me; it’s that every time it’s used, it starts to pile up and wear me down. That’s not trivial.

And I know that the name I now use is perhaps difficult for people to deal with – but it doesn’t utilise any weird sounds, just normal sounds combined in a ‘different’ way. The fact that it could be considered difficult doesn’t make it okay for someone to ask ‘do you have to be called this?’ when I have specifically asked, many times, to be called it.

There is no ‘reason’ why I chose my name, except that I tried several others in my own head and this was the only one that I really felt connected to. And when I am asked questions like that in public, I probably don’t feel like explaining why the old name is hurtful. I would just like people to know that if someone changes their name, there is probably an underlying reason.


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