What’s In A Name?

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Hello! My name is Chris!

Yes, this is the name most people have known me by for nearly my entire life. Technically, “Christopher” appears on my legal documents but I have always wanted to be called by Chris.

A ritual among transgender people is that they want to change their name, to further themselves from their former life. It is a totally valid practice, but personally I like my name.

Rather, I say I like being “Chris” but not “Christopher.” Unlike the latter being dominantly masculine, “Chris” is a very genderfluid name. Something that ties my former life with my new one.

There are plenty of men, women, and non-gender conforming people with my name. It is a very common one in the world. Sure, I have thought of feminine variants like Christina, Christine, or Christy and even Kris/Cris (though that is also unisex). However none of them felt like a perfect fit.

It also doesn’t confuse people when they ask for my name. When I came out as a trans woman, many friends and peers asked me if I was going to change it or what is it I liked to be called.

I gave it much thought but in the end I stuck with “Chris.” It seemed perfectly fine to me and it just fits. Just whatever you do, don’t call me “Christopher.”

If I were to have a “deadname” (deadname is basically the former name of a trans person before transition), it would be “Christopher.” It didn’t have as much appeal to keep and I’ve wasn’t really to attached with it to begin with.

There was almost always a negative connotation when people referred to me by my “deadname.” Whenever I heard “Christopher” being called, even before transition, it was usually to grab my attention to something serious, to receive a reprimand, or dish out criticism. Sometimes I would even tell folks, “don’t ever call me ‘Christopher,’ my name is ‘Chris!'”

I don’t know if it is worth a bother as it doesn’t completely change much, but I do want to get my legal one switched to my preferred one.

After all, I might as well! I plan to get my gender changed to the correct one and want to retake my license photo. It just makes since to have that legal name be officially “Chris.” At least it will actually fit on documents!

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