“Real” Names

November 11, 2011 § 4 Comments

It comes up on a fairly regular basis – and maybe it’s time for a little explanation. As is the case for nearly everything in my life, it’s neither as scandalous nor as glamorous as a lot of people assume it to be. So – “what does CN stand for?” – or its unpleasant cousin – “what’s your real name?”


Well, it is my real name, thank you very much, unpleasant questioners. On all my legal documents and everything I’ve put out into the world.


In terms of what it stands for – it doesn’t stand for anything – it is just itself. It comes from somewhere, but that’s not the same thing.


Again, dull dull dull – my parents gave me two names, the first of which began with C and the second of which began with N. If you were bored (or creepy) enough you could look up the relevant pages of The Times and The Telegraph for the birth/death/marriage announcements. They never suited me, and they never felt like my name. But my initials did. So I started using them more and more until it seemed ludicrous to keep a legal name that wasn’t actually my name and never had been. So I got a deed poll and that’s that.


I do feel lucky – because I never had to worry about choosing a name to fit my gender. One of the reasons my birth name didn’t suit is, it’s true, because it was girly and pretty and sweet – but it was only one of the reasons. I knew it wasn’t my name long before I could articulate being trans (kind of a hint, I guess). It’s probably a good thing – I only would have ended up with something horrendously over-the-top, with some kind of obscure literary/musical heritage so that I could always start up with, “Actually, I think you’ll find, my name…”


It has a lilting sound, looks unusual and feels good in your mouth when you say it. Make of that what you will.


§ 4 Responses to “Real” Names

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