This blog post is going to be direct and to the point. If you know me, you know that I am frequently both of those things. I have seen so many people on Facebook complain how hard it is to stop deadnaming their trans or non-binary child. In case you don’t know what that is, it’s using the birth or former name of a transgender or non-binary person against their wishes.
Newsflash people. It’s not hard. Stop whining about it. Don’t do it.
You know what’s actually hard? Trying to figure out why your body feels wrong. Being brave enough to accept the truth of who you are. Figuring out how to tell your parents. How to come out to your friends. Being afraid that the people you love won’t love you back after you come out. Worrying about your physical safety. Suffering discrimination in a world that only seems to appreciate the binary.
Remember, this isn’t about you. It’s about what’s best for your child. That is where you need to keep your focus. Because it is really important and could literally save your child's life. Transgender and non-binary children are at a much lower risk of self-harm, including suicide, when people in their families and those around them use their chosen name and pronouns.
“It’s so hard to stop.” Nope, it’s a habit. And it’s a habit with a lot of emotional weight tied to it. So it feels really difficult and important but it’s still just a habit. That’s all it is. When you think thoughts like “But I have been calling them that name for almost 20 years. It’s really hard not to.” It should be no surprise that it feels hard to do. You need to look at it differently.
When your niece got married and she and her spouse combined their names, I bet it didn’t take you too long to get with the program and use the new name. Your child’s piano teacher got divorced and went back to her birth name. Probably celebrated with her about that one, because her husband was a jacka**. See, not hard. Also, what about that kid that was named Willy in your son’s class? He’s all grown up now and goes by Bill. Do you still insist on calling him Willy? I doubt it, because that would make you a jerk and I know you aren’t a jerk.
“I spent so much time picking out a name. It’s a family name. That name was so special to me.” I get it. You totally love their name. You selected it with great pleasure and deliberation. Maybe you kept it a secret until your child was born. You love saying it. You even enjoyed yelling on the playground when they were small. It’s a gift you lovingly presented to them.
And I would encourage you to consider that like any other gift, it’s ok if it doesn’t fit, or they don’t like it and need to exchange it for a new one. It doesn’t mean anything about you. If you are hurt about it, you need to allow yourself room to experience the hurt. But do your hurting in private, not in front of your child. Keep repeating to yourself “It’s not about me.”
And if you can’t manage to do it on your own, I am here to help. Book a free one hour consultation and let's see how I can help you.