Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Ch 17: Importance of a Name and the Adjectives used
Hope everyone had a wonderful day,
First thank you to all my wonderful readers. We officially moved passed 1000 views early this morning. My first milestone, not only to write to help myself but hoping that I will reach out to the community and be able to help others by pulling together the resources needed and trying to find in my own research answers to the most common questions along with a centralized location to find the information. While I have mixed in my personal story and have let you know that this is an opinion blog largely, I hope that my opinions are well structured so even if you don't agree with them you can see the logic behind the idea.
Today I would like to talk about the importance of a name. "Theirs [Transgender individuals] are among hundreds of names a Manhattan court has changed over the last few years for transgender New Yorkers. That tally, specialists in the relatively new field of transgender law say, may make the borough’s workaday Civil Court one of the country’s biggest official name swappers — male names for female, vice versa and ambiguous.
Changing a name might seem like a minor matter for those who are changing their gender identities and, for some, facing challenges like finding knowledgeable doctors, trying hormones and experimenting with painful hair-removal procedures. But many who have gone through the switch say a name change sends an important message to the world, a message solidified and made official with a court’s approval," (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/25/nyregion/25namechange.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0).
This conversation of names came up, while I won't give specifics because of confidentiality I will say that I went to group for the first time, decided to reach out to PFLAG. They work in collaboration and with TNET, PFLAG stands for parents, family, friends and allies of gay, lesbian and transgender individuals. I more point out the source of the discussion as a resource to be sought out and used by anyone else who can use it, and more importantly for those who are transgender individuals to give you a forum and place to not only get support but to also inform the parents, friends, family and allies of what it actually is that you are going through. These insights can be extremely helpful for others who may be having a hard time grasping the effect and meaning that their own child is gay, lesbian or transgendered but when looking at a third party and in hearing your story they can more easily relate and in doing so correspond what you are going through to what their child may be feeling. While it is not necessarily the same, children when first discovering these feelings are often battling with internal self-doubt and denial, so for parents to have a resource to be able to get the information and education needed this is the first step towards open acceptance and equality.
So, the importance of the name, as the NY Times article above points out it is for you as the individual the transgendered person a symbol. While the process in and of itself may not be as difficult as some of the other processes we go through the symbol and the meaning behind it gives you validity that you are who you say you are and that's how you want to be viewed by the rest of the world. It's not a wish-washy decision, it is set in stone and in order to be undone would involve having another court hearing in front of a judge.
To go along with the name, the pronouns used, the he's, she's, girl, boy, male, female pronouns are extremely important. While at first some may not mind the occasional slip up the immense joy of being called by one's 'rightful' name cannot be measured. It is also something that many transgender individuals will make a point to correct others and get upset when a mistake is made. In the end though each individual will have their own timetable and be prepared in their own time to want to be referred to in a certain way.
to be continued...