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The Power of Names

January 30, 2009

Sometimes my legal —female— name feels like a weapon in other people’s mouths. If you know that name, you have power over me: the power to make me feel really bad and uncomfortable. The thing about this weapon, what makes it different from sticks and stones, is that you can wield it unwittingly if you don’t know how it makes me feel.

The other special thing about this weapon is that I can defend myself without batting an eye. Eleanor Roosevelt said that “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent”. Well, no one can make me feel female without my consent. If you call me _____ I can feel bad, or I can think that you’re a fool for committing such a silly mistake. I’d rather pick the latter.

I just remembered a great post by Renee, where she tells about a group of boys that laughed at her when they noticed she was trans. But instead of blaming herself of for not passing, she blames the kids for being so rude.

It’s up to us to feel good about ourselves.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. January 30, 2009 12:39 pm

    Absolutely! There is a tendency to see ourselves as victims and powerless. We may not have control over other people (sometimes influence, but never control), there are two things we always can control: our attitudes and our actions. And it is here that our power lies.

    Wonderful post, genderkid!

  2. radicalyffe permalink
    January 30, 2009 8:32 pm

    Yeah, I am so glad that no one I deal with anymore knows my girl name. I changed it twice, and so most people only know me as Rhian or Ryan, and they are really similar. (And Rhian can be a boys name too).

    Its always better to hang on to our power. I admire you if you can keep doing that. I find it really hard to do.

  3. Renee permalink
    January 30, 2009 10:54 pm

    Thanks for the plug!

    The thing that surprised me about that particular encounter was how effortless it was; it didn’t require any dredging up of willpower or conscious thought of my own…I just felt it. Which I think is as much a testament to progress as anything.

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