Tag Archives: names

Emotional Rollercoaster

So, I told my parents today that I’m going by Ryan now, at least to the new people I meet. It didn’t go as well as I’d hoped it would. Don’t get me wrong — I love my parents, and they love me. I am very lucky, especially compared to a lot of queer and trans people, and I completely recognize that. Continue reading

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Ryan Elliott

I’ve been thinking about changing my name for a while now. It’s interesting how much a name can mean — how much emotional and cultural significance can be attached to a name. I don’t really have much of an emotional attachment to my given name: it’s what I’ve been going by for most of my life, but that’s about it. However, people make assumptions about me — specifically, assumptions about my gender — based on my name in a way that makes me really uncomfortable. My given name generally causes people to immediately put me into the “woman” category, regardless how I present myself, and that is immensely frustrating. Furthermore, my given name doesn’t actually feel like me; it’s a distinctly feminine name, and it’s just not something with which I can happily associate myself.

As much as I’d truly like to have a different name, the idea of changing my name is also a definite source of anxiety. I think my biggest worry has to do with my parents. I love my parents; they’ve been the best parents I could ask for. And they gave me my given name. I don’t want to appear that I am rejecting the name they gave me, and I don’t want to hurt them, but I don’t think I can keep the name I now have.     Continue reading


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Meeting for the First Time

This week, I went to my first GenderQueer Chicago meeting. While no group, or meeting, is perfect, it was . . . exactly what I needed. And even more, it was something I hadn’t quite been conscious of needing.

Since coming out as trans, I’ve never been in a room with so many trans/genderqueer/otherwise gender-nonconforming people in my life (I feel fairly safe in saying this, despite the general confidentiality of the meeting, given that it’s stated plainly on their blog that they have meetings). Before I really came out, I attended the annual Trans Health and Wellness Conference in my home state, and that was also a really amazing experience. The conference was really the first time I’d met an adult–someone who wasn’t a current student at an uber-liberal, elite liberal arts college–who identified as genderqueer, and it really brought it home to me that a gendered existence beyond the binary is possible, even after leaving the comforting bubble provided by my college. Continue reading

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