Gender Woes

26th November 2022

I've been going through all of my old comics and books and things to get them into a place where they can all be together (ie, on this site, or somewhere linkable) and it's giving me all the feels. I changed my name almost 3 years ago and my deadname has been a source of frustration and sadness. There's part of me that wants to just delete everything I made pre-name change, but I'm proud of the work and I want to preserve it, republishing it under my actual name.

I never thought I'd change my name, it was always something I thought I'd carry with me forever, I always said that I had no attachment to my name and didn't hate it so why change it? And then my new name fell on me and I'm extremely attached to it, I love being Piper, it feels extraordinarily me. If people call me my old name now it causes a lot of confusion and upset. And it's hard to pinpoint why exactly, because it's just a name. I don't hate my old name, it's just who I used to be. But it's also tied into who I was pretending to be. I had a lot of expectation tied up with that name, it was who I was supposed to be, who everyone expected me to be, who the world told me I was. Changing my name symbolised me taking back who I am, chosing myself, chosing who I wanted to be. That person is a queer, nonbinary, radical, unapologtetic leftist and I've spent several years shedding the skin of who I used to be and stepping firmly into who I am now. That's involved a lot of being firm with boundaries, and standing up for the things I believe in, and a lot of deep reflection about why it is I'm doing what I'm doing.

But despite not being that person anymore, the name still floats around in my past. I still get called that name by old friends and people I knew when I was young. And they apologise and correct themselves and I'm not expecting people to just immediately get the name right but there's that knowledge that they knew me as someone else. They knew me as the scared, shy, apologetic person I was who had no self esteem and no self confidence. Changing my name isn't going to show them I'm someone else now. I think about the kids I know who are growing up and I hope I can change my opinion of them as they grow into adults. I hope I can stop seeing them as children, and pay attention to their evolution, and understand who they grow into be. The same with my friends and family I've known for years. I hope I can start seeing them as who they actually are instead of who I want them to be.

Sometimes I think I still feel like that person I used to be, and I get transported back to that old name, and those old feelings. It was a costume I wore to keep myself safe for years, and sometimes slipping into that is easy to do. I've been feeling nostaligic and missing things from my childhood a lot lately (it's Christmas, I guess that's what causes it) and it's hard to think about those times because I was never quite myself. I never felt like me. For years and years and years I felt like I was hiding myself from everybody else and I finally ditched that part of myself and shouted out who I actually am. Sometimes you have to keep shouting because sometimes people don't listen. I have a friend who's going through a similar thing right now. She's told everbody who she is and some of the people closest to her have turned around and told her that's just embarrassing. I want to shout at them and scream and protect all of my trans and nonbinary siblings. I know trans people who have lost their families completely because they weren't accepted and it makes me so angry. Some parents don't get to have relationships with their kids because their kids are dead, or because their kids don't care or all sorts of reasons and then the families of trans kids don't want their kid because of some messed up reason like their kid has figured out who they are. Like some parents kids are fucking dead. Your kid is happy, your kid is the happiest I've ever seen her, and you're gonna act like a piece of shit and call her embarrassing because of what? Because you're a shithead who had expectations of their kid they didn't fulfil? Surprise asshole, turns out that's what being a parent is, if you couldn't handle your kid turning into literally who they are maybe you shouldn't have been a parent.

So yeah I have a lot of emotions about this. The UK is turning more and more into a TERF hellhole and people I love are being disguarded by people that are supposed to love them. People change. People grow. People shed their old skin and evolve into who they are meant to be. Keep up or fuck off.