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PHLPHPY

I am new here and posted yesterday asking for advice because I am questioning my gender. I am still not sure what I am (these things tend to take more than a day), but I think that I want a more gender-neutral name even if I am cis. I really don't like having a feminine name. I am very sure about that feeling, even if I am confused about my overall gender identity. How should I go about picking a name? How hard is it to change legally? What effect would leaving the legal name alone and just asking people to call me something else have? I worry about offending my parents by changing my name. Does anyone have experience with that? I also worry that I should do it soon if I am going to do it at all because I plan to go into academia and I do not want to deal with the confusion of having some papers/awards/books/grants/degrees under an old name. I want to see my whole body of work under one name. Thinking about this makes me want to keep my current name even though I know it is not me. Any advice would be appreciated.

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Jackie C.

Name changes are pretty painless from a legal standpoint. What the exact requirements are vary by state, but there's usually a point where you post in some sort of publication, you swear you're not doing it for any illegal purpose and then you have a court date where a judge says, "granted." Then you fill out some paperwork and go about letting everybody you do business with your new name. It's not really different than changing your last name because you got married from a legal perspective. Some money exchanges hands, but it's not a crippling expense. Not even if you go overboard on ordering the "proof of name change" forms like I did.

 

Nothing wrong with going by a nickname. People have been saying, "Please, call me ... whatever ... " for probably as long as there's been names. Certainly the day after the name, "Manfred" was invented for example. The only real repercussion is that you need to keep saying, "Please, call me... whatever." Maybe have a short story prepared as to why you go by your gender-neutral name instead of your birth name because you know people are going to ask.

 

I utterly agree about changing your name before you start your career though. I've got credits... and a diploma... using my dead name that are going to be an absolute joy to explain to people over and over again. Especially considering that in my state it's totally cool to discriminate against people for being transgender.

 

Hugs!

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lachallenger

Finding a name that resonates with you can really take some time. Speaking as a long-time player of video games, I found it easy to work through something like a character name or alias or the type, a bit like a callsign. I... reached the peace with my own name after creating a character that used it, and it resonated with me enough that I have every intention of using it. Jackie is absolutely correct about the procedures for changing names and identity legally - both that the legal procedures tend to be fairly straightforward and involve legal fees, paperwork, swearing that you're changing your name for legal reasons - but the other side of it's true as well - having to explain credits or work history or anything else attached to a person's birth name and identity. I do not look forward to having to (e.g.) go through the change of name procedures with Social Security. I am used to poring over lists of names whenever I am creating a new fictitious character - but in this circumstance, in your place, I would start with what culturally resonated with me the most, and move from there.

 

Sincerely - I hope any of this helps you!

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Jackie C.
43 minutes ago, lachallenger said:

the change of name procedures with Social Security

 

That's surprisingly straightforward too. I went in with my paperwork, chatted with the clerk, asked a couple of questions (There are stupid regulations in changing gender markers in my state), and went about my way. The worst part was sitting in the waiting room.

 

Hugs!

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lachallenger
31 minutes ago, Jackie C. said:

 

That's surprisingly straightforward too. I went in with my paperwork, chatted with the clerk, asked a couple of questions (There are stupid regulations in changing gender markers in my state), and went about my way. The worst part was sitting in the waiting room.

 

Hugs!

Huh! Usually communications with them are a bramble patch for me - though an office visit isn't going to be an option for me for a while, that said.

 

Cheers!

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Jackie C.
27 minutes ago, lachallenger said:

Huh! Usually communications with them are a bramble patch for me - though an office visit isn't going to be an option for me for a while, that said.

 

Yeah, probably not for me either. It's a small office with a cramped and crowded waiting room. They may start taking appointments only though so, after I get the REST of my paperwork filled out (My gynecologist needs to inspect my GCS surgeon's work, declare me female and fill out a form to that effect), I can start looking into that.

 

The birth certificate should be easier. I can do that by mail or maybe online.

 

Hugs!

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