Does anyone else share this little idiosyncrasy of mine? My experience has been that it is fairly unique, and in fact, most people - T-community or otherwise - have regarded my habit with some confusion. I'd be interested in knowing how others of you out there view this particular issue. I'm speaking of... the name.
It sounds to me like most girls pick a name and stick with it; this has not been my approach. I have actually renamed myself at least a half dozen times over the years. These changes largely coincide with other changes I make to my approach to handling my transgenderism. For example, when I finally collected all the appropriate accouterments to make a complete transformation, I took a new name to mark that new phase of my life.
I'm given to understand that not all T-people take on a new "gender appropriate" name, but interestingly it was one of the first things I ever did. Before I ever tried women's clothes, before I experimented with makeup or tried shaving my legs, I took a feminine name. In my dream worlds, in the solitude of my bedroom, I had a name. I think I was around 11 or 12 when I first named myself. I decided that my name would be Melissa.
The first time I changed my name stemmed from the realization that my chosen name could be shortened to a masculine nickname. That thought was wholly unacceptable. I wanted to be a woman, and I didn't want any ambiguity about it. When someone called my name, I wanted it to be clear that a woman would respond. I believe the first evolution was to Sonya (I don't know why... most of the time I picked a name that I associated with someone I found beautiful). That was probably around the time I turned 15 or so. From that instance on, I never again assumed a name that could be shortened or in any other way be interpreted as masculine.
The next time I changed my name was after I started living on my own and no longer had to hide my "spoils." Well, that was only partially true. I had a roommate, and despite my deep desires, I still could not find the courage to tell anyone about myself. That came about a year later (well... sort of). I don't remember the specific name I took back then. I remember that the next name change occurred several years later, after I had finally collected the proper "equipment" for the total transformation... yes that was several years later. Sad isn't it? Then I became Rebecca Lynn. I remained Rebecca Lynn for several years, right into marriage and children.
At a certain point, around my fourth year of marriage or so, the right combination of circumstances finally fell into place, and I was able to make a public appearance or two. At this time, I changed my name to Jennifer Lynn (Jenny for short). Honestly, that was always my favorite name, and I've toyed many times with going back to it. I never have though. Around my tenth year of marriage, things began to fall apart. My then wife had decided she couldn't take being with me anymore (frankly, I had checked out emotionally a couple years before), and it was decided that we would separate.
In that period of life, I made a second decision. I was going to transition. I sought out counseling, managed to get myself on hormones, and even started electrolysis. To mark this major development, I decided it was time to bring my name back home. One evening while reminiscing about something or other, I remembered a childhood "fantasy" of sorts. I've never had a nickname, largely because my male name is very concise and not conducive to such things; but many of my cousins and other family members would often call me by my initials - K.D. Every time I heard someone call me K.D., my mind would translate that to Katie, and my heart would flutter with joy at the idea of being called by a feminine name.
It was that memory that spurred the adoption of the name Kate, or Katherine.
Is that weird to you all? Or has anyone else done something like that? What are your quirks? I'd love to hear your stories!
Katie Anne DeLong
BTW - the montage in my title block is a combination of photos from the Jenny and Katie periods. :)