9 Transgender People Share How They Chose Their Names

Photographed by Stephanie Gonot.

Choosing a new name can be a big part of transitioning for transgender and gender non-conforming people, who often aren't comfortable still being called by their birth name (also sometimes called a "dead-name"). But just like parents choosing a name for their newborn, the decision isn't always easy.

As we can see from the answers on an AskReddit thread, where someone asked transgender people on Reddit to explain the inspiration behind their chosen names, names can come from pretty much anywhere — including the Disney movies we loved so much as kids.

Read on to see how 9 transgender and gender fluid people decided on a new name.

"That dude from the Atlantis Disney film."

"Milo. That dude from the Atlantis Disney film, man I wanted to be him when I was a kid. Also it sounds like a dog name and I like that."

"My friends can call me Matt or Mattie (which I prefer) without stuff being weird."

"Male to female here.

My birth name is Matthew, most just called me Matt. I like that name, I don't hate it, but it has masculine connotations, so I just feminized it.

I chose Matilda for a few reasons, but mostly becuase 1) I like it and 2) my friends can call me Matt or Mattie (which I prefer) without stuff being weird."

"It literally means victory."

"I picked Victoria.

For one, it literally means victory. Finally getting to be yourself and becoming comfortable in your body is a huge victory, hence the name.

Also, I have a late grand-aunt who was also named Victoria. So it is also sort of a family name as well."

"He decided to finally give them a Benjamin."

"Each time his mom was pregnant, she and his dad predicted that it would be a boy, and decided that they would name it Benjamin. That never happened, so when my boyfriend realized he was trans, he decided to finally give them a Benjamin."

"My mama chose my birth name, and she chose my new name too!"

"Just legally changed my name to Finn (I'm FTM). My mama chose my birth name, and she chose my new name too! My middle name is Alistair, a carry over from Alice, which was a family middle name."

"I felt that as I transitioned I wasn't necessarily becoming a female version of who I was."

"My old name was fairly gender neutral, spelled Aaron for boys and Erin for girls so I could have just changed the spelling. However I felt that as I transitioned I wasn't necessarily becoming a female version of who I was but rebuilding my life from the most basic of things, who I am, in a way that would make me happy. I wanted to change my name to something that would make me happy every time some used it. Something that expressed I was someone new. I loved the name Lena but lengthened it to Celena so more people would pronounce it correctly. Also it made my initials CAN which I loved."

"I still go by my birth name in some circles."

"I'm non-binary and I chose Elys (like Ellis) because it's very close to my birth name, and I used similar spelling to my mom's middle name, Alys, to keep it family-based. I still go by my birth name in some circles, because I don't hate it but I don't really think its genuinely me."

"I tried a whole list of dude names, reading them in front of a mirror to see if they 'matched.'"

"I took my dad's middle name. Super lucky to have a good relationship with my family, especially my fantastic sister. I tried a whole list of dude names, reading them in front of a mirror to see if they 'matched,' just in case. But my dad's middle name was the best fit and it makes me happy and him proud."

"I liked the symbolism of 'rising from the ashes,' like a phoenix."

"My mom named me after the main character in her favorite book. If I'd been born physically male, I would've been named after her love interest. I considered using that, but it was long and would be shortened to Jon and that just felt... Well, boring. I guess I got used to having a weird name.

I picked my name when I was 16 and still not sure what exactly my gender was. I wanted something neutral, 'just in case.' After a bunch of research, I settled on Ash. My birth name also starts with an A and has a tree meaning, so I thought it would be fitting. I also liked the symbolism of 'rising from the ashes,' like a phoenix."

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