To Name Yourself: with love to the Trans Community

Elliot Page will not be dead named here. The actor has announced that they are going by the pronouns he/they.

Their letter to the community reminds me of an email I received after graduating college. A lesbian friend announced that they were transitioning and would be known as Nico. This was not some variation of their birth name (although that’s an option). This was a name they chose. During the start of the pandemic, we crossed paths on social media. I could see that they had made the right choice for themselves because they are thriving. In authenticity.

As a child I always thought my name was boring. I never considered it pretty, feminine, masculine or even average. It sounded like “duh” to me. My name was a sound, not a part of my identity. Unless you count the era where you’re name is the butt of appropriate jokes. Door-a. Bam. Nothing.

I’ve never thought to change my name officially. I wondered over and over what name might fit me. My first conscience decision was to stop referring to my middle name. It’s a name that just sits in between my first and last. It has no familial history or backstory. Neither does my first name. But they are gendered, culturally. I feel as I’ve gotten older, my name is what I am and who I am. By this, I mean, when you get to know me, the bottom line is, I’m dora. Point blank. Period. Not a gender, not a race, not an economic class, but a person; unique and without need for definition.

I write this with love for all my transgender, genderqueer and non-binary folks. I see you. I care about our struggles. I want for us, Better Days. Free of violence and abuse. Safe spaces that are defended with care and compassion.

We have to be mindful of the individual journeys everyone is experiencing as they fully become themselves. What a wonderful risk…to feel full, whole.

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