Thursday, 18 February 2016

Dead name

    It's a big step in any writer's life, that point at which they step from just writing stuff to being paid to write stuff. But it's the jump I made this week, in a technical field completely unrelated to this sphere. All of which is very pleasing, though relevant here only in a passing sense.

    Some transgender people will not have their former name uttered in their presence. Dead naming, it's referred to, and while I'm a little more relaxed on the subject as long as the reference is not in a sense as to deliberately deny my transition I can see why they hold that view.
    It was a little jarring though this week when I saw the mother of a young trans man mention his previous name in the context of his former existence on a private online support forum. It was so unexpected, even if it wasn't in an unpleasant manner.
    If I hear my former name it does not evoke the feelings of disgust the same thing seems to in some other people, instead I have an overwhelming sadness that I couldn't make it in that guise. I wanted to settle down with my wife and have a family, something that became very difficult to do.
    I must remember that for those close to us, like my friend on the forum to her son, our former names do not always hold malice.

5 comments:

  1. For me it isn't such a huge thing, but maybe more than early transition.
    Then it was a question of failure to pass sufficiently as to make the dead name obviously inappropriate. Now it's the slightly growing frustration of not being properly able to mourn the person I used to be.

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  2. Hold on to those strong, confident thoughts, Jenny. All to rare in our world.

    Congratulations on the technical writing gig. Can't wait to read some of it!

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  3. Congratulations on the writing gig!

    As much of my professional writing and experience was in my dead name, I am not offended when it is referred to, my new and my old name being very similar it's only when people get my title wrong that I get upset.

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  4. All my best work is under a dead name, it hardly feels like anything to do with me...

    Glad someone wants to pay you, long may it last.

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  5. While the formal process is only just beginning for me, I am a recent entry into this world of those with a dead name. It is not a name I hate and indeed, all of my very best accomplishments have been attached to that name, so it is never likely to be one that I hate. It is simply not a name I ever should have had and that is just a fact, not an insult or an anchor to hold me back.
    I hope to keep that perspective as I go forward and hopefully, as you are doing, find ways to make my proper name one that holds as many positive associations as I can manage to create.
    Congratulations dear Jenny!

    xx Dea

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