My first big step as a trans person on my way out of the closet was to tell someone. It’s not that long ago actually. Maybe a year and a half, or a little less. Before that, the only people who knew were people on a support forum on the internet. It’s a big step telling someone in person though. Someone you know, and someone who thought they knew you. But there I was. Drunk as a skunk, and so was she. I told her, and she told me some personal stuff too in return. We talked and drank beer all night and ended up becoming much closer friends.
After this big step, I decided it was time to take this more seriously. I was not happy, and I could not get relationships to work out. I just wasn’t into heterosexual boy-girl relationships even if I liked the women I dated. So I started going to a therapist, and then six months later, started hormone therapy. My second big step. This was in May and July last year for the two types of pills involved, and I’ve long gotten used to my new hormone levels and the things that come with that. (Lots of fun things happen.)
The next huge step, the first one that really starts making this whole scary thing official, is the name change. I have put it off several times and I eventually couldn’t wait any longer. On my biggest day last year, the day when I was about to present my master’s thesis, I also filled out the name change form and mailed it. Today the people dealing with such matters got around to my case, and I noticed when I checked the registry this morning that it had been updated. It was not last night. So today I am Veronica. No longer as an alias or an a.k.a., but it is me and my old name is now “formerly known as”.
Although anyone can change their name, and there are plenty others who do it that are not trans people, it is still a big deal – because our name change has a very special meaning. It is a turning point. Granted, I have done it a little before I’m ready, mostly due to the mentioned master’s degree that I’d like the correct name on, but I wouldn’t have waited more than a month or two at most anyway.
Now, the big question you may have is: How do you choose a name for yourself? Well, many of us look through name lists and baby name websites like you’d do if you had a newborn child. Many people just alter their given name too, and others ask their parents what they’d be called if they had been assigned a different sex at birth. My story isn’t quite that interesting. I needed a name when I registered at a trans support forum back in ’08, and I didn’t want to use one of the two I’d used before. So I simply picked the first one that came to mind that I liked. It was Veronica, and I have since gotten so used to it and there are many people who only know me by that name, so I decided to just keep it and eventually take it as my legal name. So there, that’s all there was to it.
Just to be a little fancy though, I also chose my dad’s mother’s middle name as my second first name. I also chose my mother’s maiden name as my middle name, but I did that over a year ago. I’ve gone from a boring short first name with a generic last name, to four names. I only need the title “Lady” now and it’ll be awesome :)