list of names I've gone by...

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"Leah"

The name my parents gave me at birth. It's a biblical name, but they are not at all religious. It's not a family name either - simply one that my mother liked the sound of. I still get called this by my relatives, those I'm out to and those I'm not alike. It feels like a trap. An identity that I want to leave behind. The set of expectations that those around me have for me...not who I really want to be.

My mother also cried when I came out because this name was special to her.

Image ID: The name Leah written in cursive over a floral background. The text beneath reads: Origin: Hebrew. Meaning: Of Hebrew origin, a biblical name, derived from the word leah meaning antelope or gazelle and first wife of Jacob. Adopted in 17th century England.

"Kara"

This is the first name that my parents didn't choose for me, but one I chose myself. It was an online alias for me from a username that I stole from my best friend. This is what I went by on the now-defunct Scholastic message boards, the Stacks, circa 2010. It was my first experience communicating with others on the Internet. It was the first time I chose an identity for myself instead of assuming the one I'd been given. I'd also like to completely forget everything I said under this name.

"Xylia"

Ah, my very own Mary Sue. My own Ebony Darkness Dementia Raven Way, but instead named Xylia Ennerman. Tall, white skin, wears all black, purple eyes, jet-black hair. Oh, and she's saved from the Wicked Stepmother by finding out she's actually...an Enderman, from Minecraft, except called something else because I wanted to pretend I wasn't writing Minecraft fic. Later, the main character of a story about aliens who whisk a miserable human girl away from Earth....I loved escapism. Also, my first tumblr URL was @xyliae.

a photo of an enderman from Minecraft

"Jake"

I made up a character in my head. I named him Jake. I made Jake the kind of cool person I wished I was. Later, I began dressing up as a boy..."just for fun." And I figured out that it made me happier than I thought I had any right to be. I realized I was trans. And so I chose the name of my cool boysona.

While I later changed it because Jacob was the most popular name the year I was born, and because "Jake from State Farm Day" during Spirit Week at school made me want to kill myself, this name is still written in foot-high letters on my bedroom wall, and I still feel a special attachment to it.

black image that says 'I'm Jake doing Jake things' in white text

"Raymond"

This would've been my middle name if I was AMAB. The first would be William...I'd've been Billy Ray. As it turns out, I really dodged a bullet by not having a Y chromosome. It's a family name, and I thought it'd be a nice way to honor the name that my mom chose for me. But mostly I just liked the name Raymond. Of course, I mainly went by Ray online - I'm not sure why I never told people irl to call me Raymond or Ray? My standard intro was "Hey I'm Ray and I'm gay." I'd still be using the name if I hadn't gone through my trans denial phase.

"Avery"

I didn't choose this name until after high school. One day I wanted to pretend I wasn't transmasc and chose this because it was the first result in a google search for "gender neutral names" and I thought, Eh, good enough. I've never really felt attached to it, and of course, I'd like to go for a more masculine name now if I could, but everyone except my biological family calls me Avery and social name changes are a HUGE pain in the ass. So, I guess I'm stuck with it. At least I'm not Billy Ray.


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