I knew that I wanted a new name after I figured out I was a trans guy, so once I changed my name and was no longer connected to that female part of my past, I felt like a weight was lifted off of my shoulders. It solidified my identity and just felt right after a few years of not knowing why I felt wrong.
I loved certain male names, long before I knew what trans was or that it was something people were allowed to be. I would always be the boy character in games and when you needed a username, I used those male names. I wanted a new name that happened to be male but just didn’t know I could. I never put thought into why until I figured out I was trans.
After I came out to my family and friends, I had to wait a year because of various pressures to “wait and be sure” so I had to hear my old name while wearing the girls uniform for far longer than I was comfortable. However, having my close friends use a male name felt like a lifeline of validation and kept me going until I could fully come out, have everyone know me by my new name, and change it legally.
Choosing my name
I had originally chosen a different name which I got a couple of my closer friends to try out. My parents weren’t too keen and we tried a few others before my mum used the male version of my old name and it just clicked. It was right for me and also for my parents. The original name I had chosen became my middle name, as I have had a connection with that for many years.
When I asked them to try out the new name, my friends were great. They made it a game where they would each keep a tally of how many times the others would accidentally misgender me or use the wrong name to make sure they were using the right pronouns and name as much as possible.
But I felt a lot of pressure to pick one and stick with it forever as the idea that you need to “be sure” of everything before doing it – cutting hair, pronouns, coming out and so on – was really pushed on me. I’m glad that I took my time trying out names before settling on the “right one”, though at times I was made to feel like a burden for asking people to try another one.
In the end, because I went with a name similar to my old name, most people were quite quick to change to my new name fairly easily which was a massive help as I wasn’t on edge waiting for someone to slip up.
Take your time
My advice to others would be to take your time and try a few names out before you find the one you’re comfortable with. There’s no rush.
Going to places like Starbucks that call out a name can be a really fun way of hearing that name directed at you to see how it makes you feel. Plus, you get the nice treat after as a reward for being brave and trying it out!
Go at the pace that feels right for you. Maybe you only have one person use your name for a while. Maybe you try out a few different options. Maybe there’s a name you’ve felt an affinity with your whole life. There’s no right or wrong way. Don’t compare your process to anyone else’s because you’re not on their journey. You’re on your own journey and that’s really exciting!