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Introducing Doll, Racked's first transgender guest blogger. Always secretly wishing he'd been born a Barbie, Doll was a young army brat who grew up and became a citizen of the world. After landing in Manhattan, he became a New York fashion insider, working in a high-powered industry position, living a life worthy of a feature film.
After mysteriously vanishing from the scene, Doll recently resurfaced and has embarked on a new roller-coaster ride of a journey. Follow his transformation, week by week, right here on Racked.
Doll: What's in a name?
If you or someone you know was teased because of a name like Casey Swallow or Harry Anis, then you know that a bad name can influence how people treat you. My friend Gwyneth knew someone growing up whose name was Butkus—obviously her parents didn't anticipate her being called But-Kiss her entire life. And I once had a classmate whose first name was Loverboy. I cannot imagine what the hell his parents were thinking.
Choosing my new name is a very personal decision and is something I will need to think about carefully. After all, the name I choose will ultimately have an effect on how people will relate to me, and in some cases, can even affect my ability to assimilate. So in my quest to find the perfect name which I will choose and commit to legally, I have to take many things into consideration.
Here are some famous women I admire who have changed their names:
Lauren Bacall was Betty Joan Perski
Judy Garland was Frances Gumm
Marilyn Monroe was Norma Jean Baker
Jane Seymour was Joyce Frankenberg
Audrey Hepburn was Audrey Kathleen Ruston
Sophia Loren was Sophia Scicolone
Greta Garbo was Greta Gustafsson
Twiggy was Leslie Hornby
Natalie Wood was Natasha Gurdin
Lucille Ball was Dianne Belmont
Joan Crawford was Lucille Le Sueur
Demi Moore was Demetria Guynes
Jennifer Aniston was Jennifer Anastassakis
Kim Catrall was Claire WoodgateAs you can see, different names can bring up a very different impression of someone.
Since one of my goals is to be accepted, I'm considering a more common name as opposed to something unusual. Just as with appearance in general, the more non-descript and ordinary your name looks, the less attention you'll get for it. I’ve noticed types of names which are common among transgender women (especially those who aren’t so much concerned in living a stealth life) often gravitate towards Minerals and gems (Jade, Amber, Crystal), Divas (Bette, Whitney, Barbra, Cher), or Fashion and Luxury Names ( Coco, Chloe, Tiffany, Chanel). These trans names often seem to do with notions of hyper feminine glamour and skew toward certain socioeconomic groups.
The name I’m leaning towards is a revised version of my great grandmother's middle name—a romance-language given name with Greek and Latin origins. Besides being a feminine personal name, it was also a title borne by many queens and members of royal families. I tried to ask my mother what she would have named her child if she were to have a daughter and she wouldn’t give me an answer—nor would she entertain the topic. Oh well, at least I can say I gave that a shot!
Another tough decision I have to make is whether or not to keep my surname. I have a very common last name. However, through these past years, it is a name that has garnered much controversy in my hometown. As much as I would love to maintain a link to my loved ones and friends, at this point in my life, I am seriously considering the option of stealth—and changing my last name would definitely make it more difficult for people to track down information about my past. Unfortunately in the world of the internet, no information truly disappears, so I will continue to give this option extra consideration.
A few other concerns would be how my new name and initials would look when written, initial impressions (Do the initials spell something unfortunate like A.S.S.? ) and how it will sound when spoken.
A dilemma I would have to face is changing everything I have monogrammed with my current initials. Thankfully, unlike my friend Baron Von Fancy Pants, most of my clothes do not bear my initials and won’t be of use to me when I transition anyway. However my bespoke stationery with a custom made crest would sadly require me to purchase a new set of hand engraved dies, all my monogrammed luggage, and my insignia ring (only to name a few) will all need to be replaced. I must admit though, I am quite sentimental; so I may keep them as is—just to remind me of my former self.
Baron feels my pain, as he has a knack for putting his initials on everything he owns—we even had an altercation once at Goyard because they refused to paint on a crown to go along with his initials. Apparently only customers who are of royal blood can merit such distinction—luckily for Baron, “money talks and bullshit walks." He isn’t called Baron Von Fancy Pants for nothing.
These days, my friends have become accustomed to calling me by my “tentative” girl name and using the proper female pronouns. Although I haven’t quite decided on my name, I actually think being referred to as a girl is the best option considering I am already femme enough to pass as a woman. Referring to me as a man would only confuse people? and God knows, I don’t want to "scare the children." As a matter of fact, Dr. Ken introduced me to one of his colleagues as “(girl name)” the other day, I must admit it was an exhilarating experience—he is slowly accepting the inevitable. *Sigh* It was music to my ears.
When finally deciding on a complete name, my final test will be writing it out in block lettering and cursive. As soon as I write it as a signature and speak it out loud; when it flows naturally—I'll know I picked the right name!
· @ratedxx_doll [Twitter]
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