what's in a name

A common experience for most trans people is the decision of a new name for themselves. I imagine that there are as many reasoning for a trans person to pick a name as there are trans people who have chosen a name. Maybe they took their birth name and tweaked it until they liked it. Maybe they picked a name from their extended family. Maybe they were able to ask their parents what they would have been named had they been born as their target gender. Maybe the name has some personal meaning to them. Maybe they just liked the way the name looked or sounded.

For me, it’s a combination of a few of these. Picking a name felt really weird to me because it didn’t feel right to just say that i wanted to be called something else. I hesitated picking a name for a while because of that. Fortunately i had the leeway to do that, since my trans identity was 100% online at the time and i could get away with hiding behind the QuietMisdreavus alias. It still feels weird to be called Grey at this point, but since i’ve had a few months full-time with this name i also feel weird being called my birth name too. (I have a similar feeling around pronouns, actually, so right now there’s just this vague feeling of not being used to being a person that gets talked about.)

(For reference, the name Grey came out of me playing Pokémon in high school. A couple friends brought me back into the game after i missed a generation, and i decided to play a girl trainer, because “playing boys all the time is boring” or something like that. The name was just because i like color names, and Grey was something that felt right for the Pokémon trainer. When the time came to choose a name for myself, i remembered this story and picked it in a sort of “fuck it” moment. I also felt like it fit because at the time i was a lot less confident about my gender identity, and thought the name let me reside in a gray area in terms to what i eventually decided. It wasn’t until later that i learned that Grey is more of a masc name. :shrug:)

I’m thinking about all this because i’ve been thinking about my chosen name and how it doesn’t seem to fit me any more. I wasn’t super attached to it when i picked it, and it’s caused me a bit of grief when people misinterpret it as “Greg” or “Gary” when i order coffee. I’ve talked to some friends about it, and i have a name idea that’s stuck in my head for a while. I don’t want to announce it publicly just yet, but watch this space, i guess.


(P.S. The “Q” signoff comes from the QuietMisdreavus moniker - it was used by some friends for a little bit to refer to me, since i put my name as “Quiet Misdreavus” in snapchat and my name showed up as “Quiet”. I feel like it’s a nice little way to sign things on the internet, at least. I’m not planning to use a single-letter name for in-person, though. That seems like more trouble than it’s worth, after seeing my partner’s single-letter name give them some trouble with online forms and people not realizing that it’s not just an initial.)