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Boys with girly names

March 14, 2009

I know two transboys who have “exotic” legal (girl) names, so people just assume they’re boys with uncommon names. I don’t want to mention their actual names, but take the name Andrea: it’s mostly used for women, but in Italy it’s a boy name. I know a cisgender guy named Andrea.

My legal name isn’t that versatile: it’s kind of like Emily or Sarah, Juana or Daniela. I wonder if people would still believe me if I told them it’s a rare boy name. I don’t mean to keep my old name, but it’s still on my ID and on teachers’ lists at school; I’d like to avoid being outed all the time. Some people even think I’m lying when I say that it’s me; I can’t always “pass” as female anymore.

I’ve been thinking about this because school is starting soon, and I don’t know how I’ll handle my new teachers. I guess they’ll think I’m a boy until they learn my name; then they’ll probably think I’m an over-the-top bulldyke. It would be so easy to make them perceive me as male: my name is the only obstacle.

I’ve been seriously thinking about pretending I have an unconventional boy name. If I’m really confident, I might be able to pull it off… Or is this plan just too wacky? One person told me it’ll probably backfire, another told me teachers don’t really care. But I’m not worried about teachers getting all homophobic with me: I’m just sick of female pronouns.

Maybe the simple solution would be to talk sincerely with each teacher. But that’s too scary; I’d be seriously exposing myself to transphobia. Maybe I can stand being called “she,” after all. I only have one year of secondary school to tolerate; I don’t want to get into trouble unnecessarily.

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. Andrei permalink
    March 14, 2009 12:55 am

    My legal name is indisputably female, and I generally go by it in class for the sake of the not having to explain to teachers (unless they strike me as particularly open minded or ask what we would prefer to be called) and with classmates who I don’t interact with outside of class. When I meet new people outside of class I automatically introduce myself with my male name (even if I don’t pass), but I ran into a problem a couple days ago when a girl from class saw me in the dorm and asked my name and I automatically said “Andrei” but then remembered that the teacher used my legal name in class and followed up with “wait, in class I’m ——-“. Also, the more frequently people use my correct name, the more irritated I get when I hear my legal name. If you end up feeling that way too, it’s up to you how much of it you can handle. Personally I think I will be changing my name officially this summer.

    • genderkid permalink*
      March 14, 2009 12:26 pm

      “the more frequently people use my correct name, the more irritated I get when I hear my legal name”. Exactly. I don’t know how I could tolerate it so well in the past. Plus I’ve gotten so dissociated from my name that I forget it’s my legal name whenever I read or hear it somewhere.

  2. March 14, 2009 3:15 am

    I think you’d be able to pull it off. Confidence can very quickly overrule any other factor. I went to New York for a day and didn’t feel like binding so I looked very feminine as I walked around the city. I confidently presented as male and didn’t get “she” at all during the trip.

    If you are called out for having a girl’s name, a quick laugh followed by “My parents really wanted a girl” would probably end all questioning.

    • genderkid permalink*
      March 15, 2009 2:16 pm

      You´re right: confidence is worth a lot. I´ve been in men´s restrooms when I wasn´t binding, and nobody seemed to notice.

  3. March 14, 2009 5:18 pm

    It’s like that Johnny Cash song, “A Boy Named Sue.”

  4. Principito permalink
    March 17, 2009 11:19 pm

    Maybe you could use only your last name, i guess its easier than deal with 2 names. and if your teacher is smart enought, i guess he/she will understand that you dont like your name, so he/she will use your last name. Well, its just an idea.

    Once i was in my classroom, and the tacher was calling everyone by our names to tell us our grades. then, when it was my turn she scramed “…. (my girl name)”, and i rised up my hand, she saw me and said again “….” but higher, y rised up hand again, and she scread once more “……” even higher, the i saied “im ….”, she apologized and told me my grade.

    That was funny.

    aTTe
    Prince

    • genderkid permalink*
      March 17, 2009 11:27 pm

      That is funny! I’m glad you didn’t get upset about that.

      I might try introducing myself by my last name; I sign all my papers with that way already. Lots of teachers call us by our surnames, anyway. Good idea!

  5. March 18, 2009 7:41 pm

    I was going to suggest rolling your eyes, and saying “Parents!” in an aggravated voice when your teachers, or whoever, called you by your legal name, and then saying, “but everyone calls me {…..}”. Doesn’t really tell them anything, and you stay safe.

  6. March 18, 2009 11:38 pm

    I’ve had quite a few people ask why I picked a girl’s name like Jacky. *sigh* Then I have to patiently explain that A) it’s actually an androgynous name; B) spelled with a Y, it’s traditionally been a male name (say, back in the 40s or something) and that C) either way, there are plenty of make Jackys or Jackies (Jackie Chan, Jackie Masson, little Jackie paper . . .).

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