What is in a name? Is it just what people call you? In some ways, it really does help people get a brief history of who someone is; it can also help with identifying what culture they are from and if they have a binary identity. Sometimes a name can even tell people what gender you are. Picking a name, for transgender individuals, can be an important step towards liberation and showing the world who they are. It can represent their gender and double as a way to strip off the history attached to their birth name. A new name can become symbolic of taking a stand and saying “I am not that person anymore”, as well as serving as a reflection of their personality and much, much more.
When I first picked my chosen name I went with Melody. My partner Jennifer helped me pick it out because one nickname for Melody is Dee. My birth name started with the letter “D” and I felt at the time it would be a good transitional nickname to help people adjust. In hindsight, this was a poor choice because it allowed many people to get lazy with my name and with my pronouns.
As the name became more a part of my identity I realized that it also was a reflection of the women I wished to become, the person I always envisioned in my head, a person with spunk and energy and filled the world with happiness. A melody is something that I viewed as uplifting and positive. Keep in mind this is a personal perspective and every person views names and words differently. I also learned that the name was Greek in origin. Being that half of my family is Greek this was a huge deal to me. My birth name had an extreme Greek origin (even if my father spelled it wrong).
People also have middle names and last names. Some trans individuals decide to change these as well. They may change their middle name for the same reasons the change their first name. They may wish to change their last name to separate themselves from their blood relatives with whom they are not accepted by. For me, I used my middle name to actually link my past experience to my current one. I do not hate my birth name but I also did not feel it represented the woman I am. So I feminized the name or rather picked a typically feminine version and replaced my middle name.
Picking a name is something that can
be complex and emotional. It is something that although isn’t exclusive to the trans community it is something that most of the transgender community, at least, one time during their transition partake in. Some people know it and have kept it from before they ever thought of coming out. Others choose it as part of the process of coming out. For myself, I had kind of both but the name my partner helped me pick was the one I decided to go with. Whichever it is though a transgender person’s name often times is so much more than a word to which they use to be identified by but can carry an emotional story and represents their story in many ways.
Hi, my name is Melody.Tweet #TransHopeUnited