by Andrew Adams
Names are the first way we learn to identify ourselves, and they’re the first thing other people learn about us. Every single person on Earth has known the importance of names since they learned how to speak. Transgender people get a rare opportunity to change their names completely and to pick a brand new name for themselves, while most people wouldn’t be able or willing to.
Picking out a new name can be one of the most meaningful moments in a person’s transition and a major checkpoint for someone who is beginning to express their true selves. While ever so important, picking a new name can also be a challenge. Here are 5 ways that can help you pick out a new name!
Altering your birth name
This is a really simple way to create all sorts of common and more unique names. Drew became Andrew, Jake can become Jade, Hailey can become Haiden, and Emily can become Emil. Whichever name you were given can be turned into anything, neutral, masculine, or feminine, depending on your preferences.
Baby naming websites
Baby naming websites are a really good way to look at a large amount of names in a short period of time. You can also look by first letter, length, and meaning on most websites. They’re almost infinite possibilities!
Using a meaning as a starting point
Maybe you really want your name to reflect upon your masculinity. In this case, Andrew would be a good name for you, because Andrew means strength and masculinity. Most baby naming websites, word meaning websites, or just a simple Google search will yield the information you’re looking for.
Look to the stars
Actors, musicians, mythological figures, politicians, authors, poets, characters, and even animals all have something in common: they have names. Feel free to take inspiration from someone you look up to, or just taking a name you saw on TV somewhere and happen to really like.
Talk to the people you love
Some of the best chosen names come with funny stories. My middle name, for example, is Cody. I never in a million years would have picked Cody on my own, but now that it’s mine, I love it. I also feel really connected to the story behind it, as it relates to two of my best friends in high school. As the story goes, one of my friends had really transphobic parents who didn’t want the friend to talk to me at all. Of course, we were best friends. When talking about me to other people, however, they had to come up with a way to disguise who they were talking about so that their nosy parents wouldn’t get suspicious when they checked their phone. My other friend suggested Cody, since it was going to be a code name. When I heard about this, I loved it. I’ve been Andrew Cody Adams ever since.
Picking out a new name is a deeply personal process that can be unnecessarily complicated. I hope my list helps anyone with this problem find a name that works for them!
About the Author:
Andrew Adams is a transgender college freshman at the University of Central Florida who is committed to LGBTQ advocacy at the local and national levels. Nationally, Andrew serves as a youth ambassador and advocacy volunteer for The Trevor Project, a youth social media ambassador for the Matthew Shepard Foundation, and a Volunteer and Intern Coordinator for Point of Pride. On the legislative side, Andrew lobbies for the Equality Act by visiting with his Congressional representatives and their staff.
Additionally, Andrew has spent years fighting to change his school district’s bathroom policy to be trans-inclusive, and the fight is still ongoing. Andrew is an International Baccalaureate student and a volunteer at the Mayo Clinic, and he hopes to go to medical school and become an adolescent psychiatrist specializing in transgender health. For fun, he practices Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, creates sculpture art and plays the piano.