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Transgender Name Choosing Strategies

By Dave, 2007 

Your choice of name could affect how well you are accepted in your new gender role.

Unusual names and spellings may not be appropriate for TGs because they can draw unwanted attention (unless attracting attention is your goal, of course!) and may create confusion. More traditional names with common spellings should draw less attention and thus help you to pass better in your new gender.

Try choosing names that relate to your family’s heritage, or one that your parents might have chosen for you. For example, if you’re of Irish descent, common names like Patrick, Connor or Ryan might work. Names with Biblical roots almost always pass well. Avoid names with no historical roots.

According to a survey*, the top reason given by parents for choosing a name is that they just loved the way it sounded. The second most common reason was to honor a friend or relative. However, for middle names, honoring a friend or relative was the number one reason. Boy’s names were most often chosen to convey strength, while girl’s were chosen to convey individuality.

Younger transkids seem to choose common, rather than unusual, names. Perhaps this is because they haven’t lived long enough to be aware of less common names, but maybe they want to be just like the other boys or girls around them. Every situation is different. I read of a five year old transboy who asked his mom what she would have named him if had been born a boy rather than a girl, and chose that name for himself. It’s possible that such a strategy might increase parental acceptance of the “new you” – or not.

Androgynous names may work well for some TGs by helping to avoid questioning looks from people who don’t really know you – especially if you don’t pass well due to a challenging body or voice. These are names or nicknames that can be used for either gender. The 2006 Top 100 Baby Names list below offers several, including Kyle, Cameron, Carter, Max, Chris, Taylor, Avery, Alex, Ryan, Logan, and Riley. Jordan is actually in both the girl’s and boy’s Top 100 list below. Others not on the list are Kelly, Dana, Dale, Lee, Lindsay, Shawn, Jody, Kelsey, and Parker. I’m sure there are many more. Many names have separate male and female versions, but with similar sounding nicknames, like Max (Maxwell/Maxine), Chris (Christopher/Christine), Mac (short for McKenzie or a variety of other names), Nat (Nathaniel or Natalie), or anything ending in “y” or “ie” such as Billy/Billie or Jamey/Jamie. Morgan has been used for both genders, but most people will identify it as female when asked. If you are unsure of a name, try that test with your friends and family to see which gender (if any) they identify it with.

In the end, though, the name you choose has to feel right for you. You (and those around you) have to live with it, not me.

Suggestions: Brayden (22 from the boy names list below) is more traditionally spelled Braden. Boys names like Jayden (19) and Caden (13) are non-traditional “made-up” names with no historical origin, and should probably be avoided. Jack (6) is really a nickname for John. To avoid a lifetime of constant confusion, it might be better to change your name to John, and then use Jack as a nickname. The same is true for all nicknames, including Chris, Max, Bill, Jamie, and Alex.

From the girl’s list, some of the non-traditional or made-up names to be avoided include Camryn (64), Ashlyn (74), Nevaeh (89), and Lavia (100). These names may be popular in certain segments of society, but I’ve never heard of any of them before seeing this list. Of course I could be wrong, so let me know if any of these have historical roots.

 If you would like to see the origins and meanings of these and hundreds of other names, visit The Baby Name Center.

 

Top 100 US Baby Names for 2006 * 

Girl Names


1

Emma

2

Madison

3

Ava

4

Emily

5

Isabella

6

Kaitlyn

7

Sophia

8

Olivia

9

Abigail

10

Hailey

11

Hannah

12

Sarah

13

Madeline

14

Lily

15

Ella

16

Alyssa

17

Riley

18

Chloe

19

Lauren

20

Grace

21

Kaylee

22

Samantha

23

Brianna

24

Mia

25

Alexis

26

Addison

27

Mackenzie

28

Natalie

29

Taylor

30

Zoe

31

Sydney

32

Anna

33

Elizabeth

34

Isabelle

35

Avery

36

Maya

37

Savannah

38

Makayla

39

Kayla

40

Julia

41

Megan

42

Morgan

43

Jasmine

44

Katherine

45

Ashley

46

Allison

47

Kylie

48

Arianna

49

Jordan

50

Keira

51

Gabriella

52

Rachel

53

Peyton

54

Brooklyn

55

Brooke

56

Victoria

57

Claire

58

Abby

59

Audrey

60

Rebecca

61

Katie

62

Alexandra

63

Sophie

64

Camryn

65

Kate

66

Amelia

67

Paige

68

Caroline

69

Leah

70

Aubrey

71

Lillian

72

Gabrielle

73

Jessica

74

Ashlyn

75

Charlotte

76

Jayden

77

Kennedy

78

Jenna

79

Gracie

80

Alexa

81

Kendall

82

Molly

83

Lucy

84

Ellie

85

Trinity

86

Faith

87

Mckenna

88

Amanda

89

Nevaeh

90

Nicole

91

Gianna

92

Maggie

93

Destiny

94

Jada

95

Angelina

96

Erin

97

Marissa

98

Juliana

99

Bailey

100

Layla

Boy Names


1

Aiden

2

Jacob

3

Ethan

4

Ryan

5

Matthew

6

Jack

7

Noah

8

Nicholas

9

Joshua

10

Logan

11

Andrew

12

Michael

13

Caden

14

Dylan

15

Tyler

16

Connor

17

Jackson

18

Caleb

19

Jayden

20

Alexander

21

Nathan

22

Brayden

23

Zachary

24

Benjamin

25

William

26

James

27

Daniel

28

Gavin

29

Evan

30

Luke

31

Joseph

32

Landon

33

Christopher

34

Mason

35

Cameron

36

Anthony

37

Owen

38

Gabriel

39

Austin

40

Lucas

41

Christian

42

John

43

Sean

44

Elijah

45

David

46

Samuel

47

Carter

48

Hunter

49

Brandon

50

Alex

51

Jordan

52

Liam

53

Thomas

54

Justin

55

Dominic

56

Ian

57

Jake

58

Colin

59

Hayden

60

Jonathan

61

Isaiah

62

Cole

63

Adam

64

Tristan

65

Isaac

66

Max

67

Kyle

68

Aaron

69

Nathaniel

70

Wyatt

71

Robert

72

Chase

73

Riley

74

Carson

75

Brady

76

Jason

77

Parker

78

Charlie

79

Devin

80

Cooper

81

Blake

82

Eric

83

Xavier

84

Sebastian

85

Brian

86

Henry

87

Seth

88

Steven

89

Brody

90

Bryce

91

Will

92

Brendan

93

Patrick

94

Sam

95

Julian

96

Drew

97

Miles

98

Kevin

99

Peyton

100

Ben

* Source: http://www.babycenter.com/