What’s in a name?
Sometimes I fear that I may be recycling a discussion which has already been offered in years past in this space, but there are so many facets to this life that one can never be quite sure even what they themselves have discussed before, let alone what others have written. Hopefully that if I should occasionally err in this regard, it may be forgiven.
Disclaimers out of the way, the thing on my mind tonight is your feminine name. I’ve had this discussion, in various forums, with other full-time ladies on several occasions. I’m always fascinated by the process one goes through in order to pick the name they feel represents their “true selves.” But I’ve never looked into it in any depth from a crossdresser perspective. Is there a fundamental difference between the name one uses for their identity, and the one they use for a part-time persona? (I dismiss here, for the sake of simplicity, drag stage names)
My own experience of course, as always, serves to inform my perspective. When I committed to transition, I quickly came to a short list of names that appealed to me and seemed “right.” I considered several factors (and overlooked a couple). For instance, if you are, say, 50 and you select a name that was hardly ever used, if at all, 50 years ago, it can be a tell. How many 50 year old Tiffanys or Brittanys do you know? I’m not speaking here of “Beth” – a derivative form of my chosen middle name, Elizabeth. That was always going to be the middle name, but it’s not the name I go by off-line at all. Rather, I’m thinking of my chosen first name. I actually initially went with my second choice, because my first choice had been the nickname of a cousin of mine when we were kids. I was afraid she would find my using it creepy.
But that original choice just didn’t “fit.” it subtly annoyed me like an ill-fitting sweater. Also, I found it impossible to construct a natural looking signature with that name (the one practical consideration I’d never considered in advance). Eventually I went with my original first choice, despite the awkwardness of changing the name I presented to the world AGAIN. But it was absolutely the best move I could have made. In some intangible sense that I can’t define, my name IS mine, just as surely as if my mom had given it to me at birth. It FITS. I’ve known others like myself who feel similarly about their name, and others who just chose something they liked, or employed a female variant of their male name.
But what I’m bringing up for discussion is this – does the typical crossdresser really need to identify with the name they apply to their persona in the same sense? Or is it simply a trapping of the role, no more unique to them than the color of her skirt? What are your thoughts and experiences with selecting and using your fem name/
Photo by: coffeebooksbeer