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[personal profile] at_sign
Internet, I am grumpy. The situation, in brief, recapped, is that I a) am transmasculine genderqueer nonbinary whatsit, b) have a very very feminine name, and c) am shortly expected to graduate from university and have to start presenting myself to prospective employers. Accordingly, I am considering and hoping to make a legal change of my name to something that is either not immediately gendered (to Americans) or is identifiably male. I have been test-driving a name at school, and it hasn't totally worked, so I'm looking for another one. My current criteria are:

-masculine or unisex
-either easy to pronounce or hard enough that people will ask before they try
-likewise for spelling
-ideally, has a Spanish form or can be easily pronounced in Spanish
-doesn't "overlap" with any of my siblings' names (my brothers are often called "Mer" and "Mal")
-ideally, allows me to keep my initials the same (M. I.)
-isn't connected to my fun-stuff internet identities (I like work-play separation)
-doesn't shorten to "Mike" because I really hate that name.

Then I realized I'd also rather not have any concern over whether it's appropriative (so I should stick to European names, at least for the first name). Oh, and there's something about Americans using Welsh names that bugs me – which sucks, because there are a couple of Welsh names I'd kind of love to have if I didn't feel it was pretentious somehow. (I also don't really want people asking me whether I'm "Welsh" – many Americans are obsessed with the particular part of Europe their family came from, which in my case would be impractical, and this kind of bugs me.)

So periodically I go poking around, and when I find a name that strikes me as potentially interesting I throw it at my family, where it tends to sort of float in a sea of indifference.

The thing is, I've tried on various names, some as pen names, some as use-names, and a variant form of my legal name was my use-name for long enough that a lot of relatives are still confused about it. I see names as identifiers for a person as they are, and don't really feel like they ought to be set in stone – people change, and we're all pretty much okay with the idea that little Billy might be Bill or even William when he grows up and Billy no longer suits – so I've shifted names often as my identity shifts and grows, and so have my siblings.

My parents, on the other hand, are kind of sick of this, so even though I'm not talking about changing my use-name, they're both being a bit negative about this. Mum's offered to help me with the paperwork, but she reacts negatively whenever I float a name by her. Dad snorted outright when I told him my legal name was causing me discomfort. It frustrates me because, while I understand that adjusting to someone having a new name can be difficult (actually, I don't have too much trouble with it, but I know a lot of people who cannot adjust for anything) but this is both important to me and, well, it's something I do because it feels like the right thing to do. This legal change is a dysphoria-fixer, but my name changes generally have been about exploring and celebrating who I am in the moment. It's not about being indecisive, it's about being introspective. It hurts to have that dismissed.

May 2013

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