Name Change

My transition just got serious.

I’ve been on hormone therapy for about 18 months and presenting female full-time since January, which is no small feat, but soon I’ll be changing my name and gender marker. I’ve found a local charity that helps low-income transfolk change their names (they also have valuable services including drug rehab, legal aid, health services for homeless youth, and support groups for a wide variety of people and I think I may volunteer there soon).

I guess it’s not so much that I’m afraid of the change as I understand the magnitude of what this change really means. This is the name I was born with, the name friends and family knew me by. I still kind of feel like I’m running from myself. I guess if I wasn’t choosing to live as a woman I would be OK with keeping this name because I wouldn’t want to be seen turning tail. Is my gender transition a convenient excuse for a clean start? Perhaps, but it would be churlish to say that was my only reason. I just wasn’t happy as a man, period.

Also, I had mixed feelings about losing the initials J.A.H, which in Hebrew could be read in a similar way to YHVH (as could John’s initials, J.W.H). However, I discovered that the name I chose was actually loaded with Gnostic symbolism even though I didn’t know it at the time. I won’t say the name or my initials, but suffice to say that the name itself has a direct line to Phil’s Gnostic ties, and after reading some commentary on the Zohar I discovered that my new initials in Hebrew could be read as a signifier of the feminine aspect of the divine to which I feel a strong affinity (whereas YHVH clearly represents a masculine attribute). The initials can also spell the name of a Biblical matriarch from the Old Testament. Also, the last name I chose was taken from my fiance’s stage name, the first name of which is a diminutive name of a Biblical patriarch who was married to the matriarch whose name my initials spell in Hebrew.

My fiance says this is going into “Paul is dead” territory, and that may well be the case. But it’s rather interesting when you really get down into it, isn’t it? I’ve mentioned it to a few others with Gnostic leanings and they agree it’s one hell of a coincidence.

Had I been aware of all the possible esoteric readings of the new name I chose, I’d have probably given myself a nice generic name like Jenny Davidson or Jasmine Funderburg; however, by the time I began to scratch the surface on these possible readings, I had already committed to publish a book under the more mystically-inclined name and the book was released before my memories of Phil’s life surfaced, so it stuck. It almost feels like the name chose me at this point, so I guess you could say that changing my name is very much a spiritual act as well as a readjustment to my new life.

My head is swimming with many thoughts right now about what it will mean when I’ve actually done the deed and gotten my name, ID, and gender markers sorted.


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