'Those baby-naming websites are heaven'
How do you go about choosing a new name for yourself as an adult? For many transgender people it’s an important part of the transitioning process. On Monday a new Reddit thread appeared asking trans people how they went about choosing their new name.
Many of the answers that followed were pretty moving. Some found ways to adapt their old name to create something new and meaningful; others described running through baby name sites to find something that grabbed them. One user, named Finn, had his new name picked for him by his mother, ‘like my birth name.’
But as one responder put it, ‘it’s not easy to pick a name when you have a life full of names behind you.’ Here are a few of our favourite stories.
‘I picked Victoria. For one, it literally means victory. Finally getting to be yourself and becoming comfortable in your body is a huge victory, hence the name. Also, I have a late grand aunt who was also named Victoria.’
‘Each time my [boyfriend]’s mom was pregnant, she and his dad predicted that it would be a boy, and decided that they would name it Benjamin. That never happened, so when my boyfriend realized he was trans, he decided to finally give them a Benjamin.’
‘I chose Kana, because a literal reading of the Japanese characters means “good name.” No way I was passing up an opportunity so delightfully meta.’
‘Just legally changed my name to Finn (I’m FTM [female to male]) . My mama chose my birth name, and she chose my new name too! My middle name is Alistair, a carry over from Alice, which was a family middle name.’
‘I had this joke among my friends that I would get the name Sarah tattooed on me somewhere, then make it my goal in life to marry a girl named Sarah. I figured a name I like is right there, I could see myself getting called it, so I took that name as my own.’
‘My old name was fairly gender neutral spelled Aaron for boys and Erin for girls so I could have just changed the spelling. However, I felt that as I transitioned I wasn’t necessarily becoming a female version of who I was but rebuilding my life from the most basic of things, who I am, in a way that would make me happy. I wanted to change my name to something that would make me happy every time some used it. Something that expressed I was someone new. I loved the name Lena but lengthened it to Celena so more people would pronounce it correctly. Also it made my initials CAN which I loved.’
‘I basically picked a guy version of my name, Elizabeth to Elijah. I was a girl for 20 years, I had that experience. I’m not a different person now than I was then. I wanted to connect to that. I took my (deceased) father’s name as my middle name. I think it fits me and it sounds great.’
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‘It was a battle between two I really liked, Annabelle and Rose and Annabelle was the one that won out. I love it’s meaning too: beauty, favor, and grace. It just fits perfectly with what I wanna be.’
‘I went through one of those baby name books and picked the one I had the least associations with. Not easy to pick a name when you have a life full with names behind you. My mom thinks the name sounds like it’s from a prostitute… The exact words [she] used after me telling her my new name, “Oh … really. Why that name? All prostitutes in my crime stories I read are called Valerie. Can’t you go for something else.” I have to break it to her though, she is cool with my name now and is very understanding with me being trans.’