There are different reasons why people decide to change their name. For some, a name change is related to marriage. For others, a name change is about protecting themselves from a violent past. And for the transgender community, a name change often signifies gender affirmation, among other things. Teen Vogue spoke with 13 trans people who have changed their name. Here are their stories.
Hyacinth, 21, New Jersey
“At age sixteen, I stopped going by my birth name entirely. I had just come to terms with my identity as an agender, nonbinary individual. The name I grew up with caused me such dysphoria, it felt as if it was associated with a person that I just wholly was not any longer. I didn’t actually begin the process of the legally changing it until I was 20 years old. The financial stress was incredible, but it was such a mental health necessity that I knew I had to sacrifice for it. The New Jersey court system made this process almost inaccessible to me with fees, travel, their inability to do anything electronically. ”
Alaina, 24, Massachusetts
“I started the process of socially and legally changing my name a couple years after surviving a sexual assault. I had wanted to change it for most of my life already, to fit with how I feel as a queer non-binary person, so this felt like the right time. It was about choice, surviving, and giving myself agency. It’s probably the only time I have ever made a choice that was just about me. It was really empowering to tell people to call me Alaina and see how much my friends and family cared about getting it right. I'd wanted to change my first name since I was a kid, which my mom was fully on board for, but my dad asked me to wait until I was 18 to make the decision.” Read more via Teen Vogue