“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.”
– William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet
The fact remains, that while this is a nice sentiment, there is a lot loaded into a person’s name… especially when the name and gender don’t match. I know I gave a lot of thought to my daughter’s name before gifting her with it. A child who grows up feeling their name doesn’t fit, or doesn’t belong, is a child who grows up with a lot of pain. My daughter can choose to be called Lily-Ann, Lily, Lil’, Ann, Lilian, or my son could choose to be called Andy – not all of us are fortunate enough to have our gender at birth, match with our gender as we grown into personhood.
There has been a surprising amount of stories about transgendered children in the news recently, and it’s an encouraging thing. Most of us know very early on if our assigned gender matches our actual gender, and until recently people tended to “poo poo” these thoughts away – especially when a young child brought them up. It gives me hope knowing that parents, and adults in general, are giving more credence to these children and accepting them at their word. That there are adults who are willing to step in and help them transition to their actual gender before the hormones of puberty kick in, and make it even more difficult to do so in the future.
So, what’s in a name? I’d say a whole lot. Especially when Don is actually Donna, or Nicole is actually Nicholas.