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.