Posted by: aronmwrites | October 23, 2007

Naming

It has finally become apparent that I will likely have to formally change my name. Common Law name changes, although legal, are rarely recognized — and I continue to have problems with people turning down IDs, etc., because they don’t seem to feel that my legal name matches my presentation. Especially if I go through with any kind of HRT, I very likely will need to file a name change. This brings me to picking a name.

I’ve been using “Moe” in all aspects of my life for a number of years now, and as attached as I’ve become to the name, it really still feels like a nickname, not something I want to use for my entire professional life. Another consideration in choices is that I will eventually file to have my birth records changed, because I have to in order to get a passport issued with the proper information. In Illinois (where I was born), this means that I will be issued an entirely new birth certificate.

As a person that identifies as trans and as genderqueer a lot more than as male, I have some sadness about this. I was born biologically female… or at least as female as the average person, with all of the natural variation even in physical sex. And I was named Amy Katherine. Although the name no longer fits me or works within my daily life, it is still my name — a beautiful name that I love. I am male-identified enough to want a male name for daily interaction, but if people could meet a transman named Amy Katherine and still see a transman — not a woman in men’s clothing — I might be ok with continuing to use my birth name. But whenever people discover it, I seem to have to go the extra distance to prove to them that I’m not a woman or a lesbian or a tomboy. That just doesn’t work for me. Despite these challenges, however, deleting all record of my birth self feels a lot like going stealth. I don’t intend to hide my past. If I could just have a note added to my file stating my new sex and name, it be perfectly happy. I don’t want to abolish all record of “Amy.” She’s a part of me. Parents describe the transition of a child as like the death of one child and the birth of another. I’m sure I’m only experiencing that to a much smaller degree, but the feeling is still there. I’d like to mitigate that as much as possible.

On this topic, I had an exciting breakthrough yesterday while surfing name websites at work. Anyone that knows me is aware of my obsession with France. My partner and I plan to move there as soon as is reasonably feasible. Well guess what? “Amy” is derived from the Old French for “beloved.” What I didn’t know was that “Amy” has two forms in French, the more common feminine form (Aimeé) and a masculine form, Aimé! Who knew?

I was originally considering dropping Amy Katherine to initials in my name change (i.e. ____ A. K.). But now I can use Aimé as a masculine version of my birth name!

This is very cool stuff, people.

Other names under consideration for my full name: Michel, Émile, Eli, Aaron, and Noah.

Michel Aimé
Eli Aimé
Aaron Aimé
Noah Aimé
Émile Aimé

Thoughts?

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Responses

  1. I LOVE Noah, why hasn’t that come up before?

  2. I really like Noah, although it’s ironic – one of my other trans friends (male to female) has the birth name Noah!

    I think that honestly Moses would be a great name for you. I’m not kidding. (I know a Mozea, whose parents wanted to name her Moses if she were a him, and the whole name – both male and female forms – has really grown on me). But if you’re going to pick one of those, I like Aaron because that’s a name you’ve sort of lived with for a long time. I don’t like Émile because I think that combined with Aimé seems… well, I don’t know, pretentious? That’s not the word. But it just doesn’t seem to fit, if you know what I mean.

    I also like Michel because I think that you could easily continue introducing yourself as Moe if your name were Michel. I might spell it the more traditional “Michael” though – at least, until you move to France.

  3. Madeline:

    Totally agree with your comment on the combination of Émile and Aimé.

    Picking a name is far more difficult that I had assumed. I’ve always imagined Aaron in my head. And I’m unwilling to leave Amy behind complete, so that settles Aimé as my middle name with a fair amount of certainty. Aaron, ironically, is far less — settled? — in my head than I had thought. But what goes with Aimé? Especially with my last name?

    It’s amusing that Noah had never come up before last week, when someone (can’t remember who) responded to my name query that they had “always called me Noah” in their head, despite knowing me as Moe. Then it dawned on me that I really do like that name. It seems that others do as well.

    ::confusion::

  4. Nari:

    Do you like Noah better than Aaron?

  5. I don’t know if I like one better than the other. It has never felt quite correct to call you Aaron, but I don’t know that Noah would be any more comfortable.

  6. I miss you! I’ve been out of the internet loop for a while, so just now hunted this down through your lj.

    Given that this is from October, it seems likely that you’ve made a decision… but I’ll just say that I love Noah as well, although there’s some crossover positive-vibes from a transman named Noah that I had a *wicked* crush on for a while=)

    Reading up on all the stuff you’re doing, just want to say (as I’ve said before) how very much I admire and love you. And miss you!

    Love, Jess


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