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.


  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.

  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!

  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.

  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.

  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