What’s in a Name

As I said in my last post, one aspect of social transition is taking on another name. Changing my name was the first big drastic step I took that really affirmed to me that transitioning was the best thing for me. I don’t hate my birthname, though many trans people do, but seeing and hearing it, especially when its applied to me creates this gut wrenching feeling within me. I have always felt a disconnection from my birthname and used to go by different nicknames, or shortened versions of it just to avoid it as much as possible.

Changing my name was a really emotionally hard experience. I was worried that my parents would be very disappointed in me. I worried that I might choose the wrong name and need to change it again. I worried about everyone’s willingness to change the name that some had been calling me all my life and if I would be strong enough to correct them if they accidentally called me my birthname.

The name I now go by, what I refer to as my “actual name” is a sort of pet project that started when I was in primary school. I used to do lots of creative writing and I had a short story where I was the main character. Or at least, the main character was this 30-something, skinny queen who had the power of Autumn and I thought someday I could be that cool. This created the name “Signda” a name I used as my username for various social medias throughout my adolescent life. This eventually evolved into my name now; Sigh.

Two main catalysts helped me finally take the plunge to change my name. The first, was the fact that my partner is super loving and supporting used Sigh effortlessly for me at home. I would spend my whole day at work being called my birthname but it was all okay because when I came home my partner would go out of her way to validate my actual name. This juxtaposition made me realise just how upset and uncomfortable my birthname made me. It really pushed me to commit to changing my name.

The second push, funnily enough was the release of a gay romcom called Love Simon. The main character, Simon, is nicknamed Si by his close friends. Hearing using this name, with he/him/his pronouns, for someone visibly masculine?It just drove home how right this decision was.

My birthname was, and always had been, a placeholder for my actual name. A gift I had outgrown, one that had served its purpose but it was just time I moved on. I did receive some push back from friends, family and co-workers, but even for all the troubles, I am glad I changed my name. I am much more confident as Sigh. Its who I was meant to be.


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