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What's in a Name: The Harm of Deadnaming

Hi, my name is Nia. Nia wasn’t always my name, though you probably already knew that. Picking out a new name is a big deal for a transgender person. It’s a moment in time when we get to control what happens next, and most of us don’t take it lightly.

For me, it was a struggle. Should I start new and fresh with a name that has no relation to my old one so I can leave that behind? Or do I include some reference to my past, understanding that my past contributed to who I am in the present? For me choosing a name meant including an homage to my past.

I want to make a quick note here. Many trans and non-binary individuals want nothing to do with their past. When they change their name, they want to leave their old life behind and that is completely valid. Just as valid as it was for me to include a part of my past into my narrative going forward.

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