African-American mothers, as descendants of Africans, realize that there’s great importance to the name you choose for your child. It says a lot about the individual, their family and their connection to the community at large.
They spend a lot of time carefully putting together combinations of names, poring through various baby name books, and considering various factors in consultation with the father and sometimes the soon to be grandparents before coming up with that combination of three names that gets entered onto your birth certificate soon after you exit the birth canal and enter the world.
Names carry a lot of weight in our binary gendered society, and transpeople know this reality all too well. It’s why one of the first things we do when we finally start making those moves to transition is choosing a name that accurately represents who we are. It’s one reason why our fundamentalist enemies spend so much time making it hard for us to legally change our names and the gender markers to go with those names.
I believe that some of the negative friction that happens between transpeople and their mothers is fueled in one small way by the fact that many of us unilaterally choose our new names as part of the process.
Granted, some of that friction is caused by the parents rejecting their child in the early wake of the child’s announcement of their wish to transition. But sometimes when we logically paint the worst-case scenario for transition and presume that we’re going to get cut off from our immediate family’s love and it doesn’t happen, then I submit that one way to facilitate bonding of our families into the transition process is to allow them that input in the name change decision.
As they say, read the whole damn thing.