About two weeks ago I came out to my parents. Understandably, they weren’t thrilled. However, they did seem to understand. What’s more, they seemed to understand things better than I could have hoped for.
Mum remembered how things went downhill for me once I hit puberty. She asked about the suicide attempts (or rather failed suicides – and yes, that’s plural), and if they had anything to do with my gender dysphoria.
When I told them my chosen name, Dad seemed to like (well sort of “like”) the idea that I’d chosen to adopt his great great grandfather’s name.
They both had lots of questions, and none of them nasty. All in all, they seemed quite accepting and supportive.
I, of course, asked them to call me by my chosen name from that moment on, and to refer to me using male pronouns.
Today, as we were visiting Mum and Dad, however, they kept calling me by my given name, and referring to me as “their girl”. It hurt.
Names are powerful. I’ve been unhappy with my given name for as long as I can remember. In fact, unhappy is a eufemism.
I like the name I’ve chosen for myself. I deliberated over my new name for a very long time, as I wanted my name to reflect my personality. At the same time, I also wanted my new names (I chose three new names to replace my three given names) to reflect how deeply I care about my family, my ancestors. Without them, I would not be.
No, I did not stand up to my parents about not using my chosen name. Not today. Dad had surgery yesterday and was still feeling kind of hungover from the anaesthesia. Call me soft, but I just couldn’t do it.
I hope next time they will remember to call me by my chosen name. If not, I may have to remind them – and make clear to them how much it hurts when they call me by the wrong name. That’s not something I look forward to.