Names are interesting, aren’t they … have you ever wanted to change yours? I wanted to change mine to Gordon when I was a teenager, it was my pop’s name, my great-grandfather. Nobody knew of the name Shannon back then and so it was always Shane, or Sharon … not fun … So yes, I considered it. When I was teaching, I used to love the kids that were international students who decided to choose an Anglo name when they arrived here, just for convenience. They were always such formal names, so stern and mature, it used to crack me up! Where did you get that name from I always wondered, Dickens?
When changing gender though, like everything else, it just seems that extra bit complicated. Jackson has gone by that name since the start of the year, is on the school roll as that name, but for fellow students that have known him as “that name that is dead to me now”, it hasn’t always been easy to remember. If they make an effort though, and pull themselves up, show some awareness, then he’s fine with it, but his Achilles heel is when his Voldermort name is used deliberately, because it bloody hurts. It seems that that’s the thing that is going to upset him more than anything else. Thankfully it is only done rarely, but that doesn’t make it any better.
Of course as a parent, this leaves you with the thought of what do you do with the memories of that name, the time when you were that other person? That’s a huge question, and one for another post I think …
On official documentation, it is still going to be a while until changes can be made. Interestingly enough, it will be easier to do that on his American documents than on his Australian ones, but then progression in this country has been relatively stagnant this century.
He recently travelled with school overseas, and had to revert to his previous name, and gender for that matter, which I know was bloody confronting, and it’s the heartache involved in having to regress to someone you’ve completely discarded that hurts the most, whether it’s deliberately and official as in this example, or because someone can’t remember your name, and instead dredges up a piece of your past that you would rather stay locked away.
I’ve been guilty of this too, I have to admit, but I try, and pull myself up whenever I slip. Thankfully my pet name for Squidlet, apart from Squidlet of course, is babe … and being gender neutral it has maintained its use throughout all of this, for a father to endearingly love his child.
So I’m often trying to come up with workarounds for how we can make things easier. With the name thing, I suggested I could make a little card with “My name is Jackson” on one side, and “I’m a boy” on the other – laminated of course! He liked the idea, but then told me that a badge would be a whole lot easier. Yeah it would, I thought … Now if only I knew someone who had a badge machine … Oh Vicky!!