December 2, 2012 at 23:05 #793
I have a question regarding something I would like to focus on in my script…
How does a trans person go about choosing a new name? If you previously had a boy’s name and now want to take on a girl’s name (or vice versa), I imagine this can be a big decision, as this name will be with you for the rest of your life.
Any insight in to this topic would be much appreciated.
December 3, 2012 at 11:27 #794
What a great question and one I think worthy of adding to our Script Writing for Trans FAQ
Having the ability to change you name and have a choice is a wonderful and may I say quite a liberating experience. I discuss names in my stand up and have found humour in the obsession some people often have in wanting to know my previous name (which is not relevant) so I make it ridiculous by saying I used to be called Lord Lucan or that my kids came up with the names Optimus Prime or Megatran.
As to how I actually came up with Claire, all I can say is from my own experience there is no difference to a couple naming their new baby. All the same considerations come into play.
I started at the letter A and when I got to Claire is just seemed right.
- Can it be shortened
- Will it go out of fashion
- What are the current popular Girl/Boy names (Lily and Oliver)
- Is there someone we already know with the same name
- Does it feel right
Of course social background will come into play as there are trans people in all walks of life and social classes as the names Marmaduke and Gary or Sharron and Hyacinth portray.
That’s the straight forward bit. It does however get interesting when names become derivative of a previous gender so David to Davina or Michelle to Michael. I cannot say why some people choose this or how prevalent it is but it may be that they want to keep a reminder of what they were originally called for sentiment or indeed as a nod of respect towards their friends and family who may have had many years using the old name. This is of course conjecture on my part as I went for a clean break on my Christian name but left my family name as is, as I did not consider that part gendered.
Of course some people want to completely disappear, so a surname change helps do that as well. All of which can be done by DeedPoll who have some useful notes on name changing.
Lastly there are a small section of people who use the opportunity to change their name into something unusual or demonstrably different like Sparkle Colon Tractor or Fluffy Booster Seat. These are very much in the minority and are probably reserved for people who want the world to know they are different and love the attention it draws, so probably leaning more towards show business.
On a closing thought many trans people play around with names to start with before settling down with one, which can be most annoying for friends and family if it is done too often.
I myself originally had the name Tisha Moore for a couple of weeks as it sounded cool and I was a big fan of Mortisha from the Adams Family. No-one got the joke. The rest is history.
Hope this personal point of view helps and that if anyone else has changed their name and they can enhance this please feel free to comment.
PS: Why the name MH88 (Just Teasing)
December 3, 2012 at 14:53 #801
Forename wise, I just went with the name my mother would have given me (although it probably helped that the name was shared by a fictional adolescent, depressed musician). Unrelated to this, as my parents happened to be divorced by then and I didn’t like either surname especially, I took the opportunity to choose a more interesting surname for myself.
The main things to bear in mind are that not everyone goes for alliteration between their old and new forename, and most people just want to fit in, blending in seamlessly with the crowd.
December 3, 2012 at 19:39 #807
Thanks for replies! That really helps. I think it is an interesting topic and also a good source of humour for a sitcom script with a character trying to decide a new name that fits.
MH88 is just a simple forum name, ha. My name is Martin.
December 4, 2012 at 14:52 #816
One of my close friends is trans and I guess was fortunate enough to be given an androgynous middle name, so she just started using that name instead of her original first name. Not very funny for the sake of script writing, but just thought I’d throw that out there!
December 5, 2012 at 17:01 #854
I looked at fictional characters whose names I liked, and eventually settled on Alice because I love the Alice in Wonderland stories. I also changed my surname while I was at it, because it was long (had trouble fitting it into signature boxes and pads) and I was always having to spell it out to people, which was annoying.
December 9, 2012 at 18:29 #897
I was given a fairly androgynous name, and originally changed it by deed poll to an even more androgynous derivative. However, I found it wasn’t a big enough distinction between my given and new identities. A lot of people said they found the pronoun switch (from female to male) harder because I had the ‘same name’. For me too, there was so much associated with my original name that linked me to being ‘female’ that I decided to change my name completely.
I was also afraid of doing this for a long time because it felt self-indulgent and would draw a lot of attention, but I took a long time to work up to it and felt great for having taken the plunge.
So, I had a long list of boy names that I’d idealised for many years. First, I found myself choosing names that were too ‘weighty’ or over-powering, e.g. Moses. And I couldn’t figure out why they felt weird until I realised I should chose something that helped me blend in and also, nothing would ‘fit’ just right until I’d tried it out for a while. I think it’s scary when a name sounds new because you have to trust that you will grow into it, and your reptile brain will catch up to what your intellectual brain knows it wants…
So I was lucky that I stumbled upon two names from way back in my family tree that I really liked: Fred and Reuben. And I couldn’t decide between them, so I went for a first and middle name combo; Fredrick Reuben.
They aren’t exactly the most common names in the world, but I really like them and the shortened version, Freddie. It’s also neat that they were the names of some long-ago great-great(…) uncles.
So that’s me.