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