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Wednesday, 06 April 2011 22:14

Exploring Gender: "What's in a name?"

Written by  Cael


As I continue to think about myself and my gender, there are certain questions which sprawl through my mind. I often find myself quoting in my head Romeo and Juliet: “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose / by any other name would smell as sweet” (Shakespeare II. ii. 47-48). These lines are important to remember, meaning that no matter what the name, the make up of the individual remains the same. Names are assigned, only a signifier of the person you are. So why am I discussing names?

Because since I have admitted to myself that I am trans, I need another name. How do you go about choosing another name though? Names are given, not necessarily chosen by the individuals who carry them. Even people who have nicknames receive them from friends or family. In every instance of naming, the thought is toward identity. That is why a name is so important. And to change a name, that is to welcome change itself. In this case, the new name represents the new life in a different gender.

There are many ways to go about choosing a name as a trans individual. Some people ask their parents: what would you have named me if I was a boy? In my case, the answer was Joshua Jacob, my mom going on to say my nickname would have been JJ. Others decide to maintain their current initials, or use a variable on their own name, such as Maria becoming Mario. So there are many different ways to choose a name.

The important thing becomes the identity to go with that name. The name is not only a word, it is a symbol: of transformation and of acceptance. It is the acknowledgement of being ready for transition, a first step.

I’m torn in what I will do about a name. I’m torn between a name of my own choosing and the one my mom proposed, perhaps a combination. It’s something to think about. What are the stories behind your names or nicknames?


Lezbelib is the online magazine that helps LGBTQ+ women to stay updated with entertaining blogs and breaking news about LGBT rights.