Editor’s Note: Yeah, yeah, yeah … I know, I have to answer Amy’s Press Conference Question 8 – Part Dos yet, but this was a question that Karen posed in a comment a few posts ago and I started answering the comment but it sort of grew into a long answer, which I decided would make a decent post since I thought others might have the same question and my spewage might get lost in the comment to an unrelated post, or that others might have something good to add from their own experiences and they would miss the question if it was buried in another post. So that’s why I’m answering questioooons like this out of order and making this comment its own post … commence kicking my ass !!! 🙂
Got a question for ya. In any situation you may find yourself and someone local to you shouts out your old name “hey Joe” quite innocently maybe addressing another person entirely, does that get any response from you now. Maybe turns your head or something. I have been full time for only 10 months but I feel I’ll never get rid of that automatic flinch response.
Karen !!!! 🙂
Wow !!! That’s a super questioooon !!! A phreaking good question !!! I totally know exactly what you are talking about … thanks for asking it.
I too felt that I might never stop having that automatic head turn whenever I would be out & about and hear Joe’s name being called out to someone other than me … I was so phreaking paranoid that I was outing myself by appearing to respond to a guy’s name in those situations … I hated it.
It was so automatic, I just couldn’t consciously catch myself in time to stop the unconscious response gleamed from a lifetime of being called Joe. In response to this, as soon as my conscious would realize what the hell I just did, I developed this “look around to appear to see who they were calling” move, sort of to suggest I was looking to see who was calling out for Joe and then looking to see who they were addressing. I sort of figured that it was better to appear interested in things I didn’t have any need to be interested in than to appear to be responding to a guy’s name. (Ummmmmmm and for those that don’t know, my real boy name was not Joe, because if it was, it could easily have been Jo, which would have been a good reason for why I responded to the name-shout-out. But since my real boy name was definitely a guy’s name, responding to it was simply odd.)
Just the opposite also occurred when getting used to responding to name-shout-outs for Amy. For a long time I had to consciously recognize the name being called out, make the connection that it was now my name, and then respond. There was definitely a delay, just ask Sister and Miss Daisy. I remember more than once where one of them would suddenly be right in my face screaming “HEY AMY !” because I just wasn’t responding. (It was usually followed by a “Geezuz girl, we’ve got to get you used to your new name ” ! 🙂 )
The good news is that yes, there does come a time when there will be a name-shout-out for your old name and it won’t even garner the slightest flinch from you in response. I’m not sure how long it took me because I think those name-shout-outs just stopped registering. Your question is very topical though because last week I noticed this very thing … there was sort of a delayed response to me hearing Joe’s name called out … I was a good half-dozen steps away from when I first heard the name-shout-out before I realized it didn’t even register. I was like “Sweet ! ” 🙂 (Now those of you in my real life, don’t go trying to test how well I don’t respond to my old name now … it could totally screw me up !!! 🙂 ) I’ve been fulltime now for just a bit over 2 years, so if I had to make a guess, I’d say it’s somewhere between 15 months and 26 months when it started to become unautomatic for me to respond to Joe.
On an unrelated note though, in addition to Amy , I also now automatically respond to:
- Amy-wan (more of my friends than you might imagine actually call me this quite often, which is totally kewl with me … me like ! :));
- A or AMP (the guys at the office usually call me this);
- Umbrella (Baby Brother calls me this quite a bit … he started it to tease me because it was a while before he realized that my legal name is actually Amelia, so to mock Amelia in the taunting ways only baby brothers can do, he started calling me Umbrella. Though in the taunting ways only big sisters can do, I’ve got more people than I’m sure he’d like calling him “Baby now, which is short for Baby Brother. We’ve actually incorporated the whole Umbrella name now into a story as to why I go by Amy when my name is actually Amelia … we tell people I started going by Amy because when Baby Brother was a baby he couldn’t say Amelia, so we started calling me Amy because we thought he could say that, though he just kept calling me Umbrella and others just kept calling me Amy.
- Aims or Aim (A lot of people call me one of these. I really like it. The informality of it makes me feel like the person calling me it considers me a halfway decent person, maybe even a friend. It’s a good feeling.)
- Hey Bitch (Some of my guy friends call me this on occasion. I’m really not bothered by it, because when they call me it, it’s usually very fitting.)
- Amy Marie (My dad calls me this all the time).
Want to totally engage in a surreal mindphuck ???
Go out with a guy who has your old name !!!
You’re right JC .. it is time ! I will knock off a couple at least this week.
Ah, my Maahhster knows me too well … “Very doubtful” was the perfect answer to get me going ! Once a padawan, always a padawan ! 🙂
The Magic 8 Ball says, “Very doubtful.”
So, are we ever going to get answers to the Press Conference questions from two years ago? A lot was promised!!
In the office I was sitting next to a guy with my old boy name and another one just a couple of seats away. Talk about confusing … In the beginning I really had to block myself from responding.
Luckely I am now in another part of the building with no-one with my old guy name. But after about 25 months of reallife I sorta respond slower or not to hearing my old guy name.
But I still hate to hear it.
My error. I meant to write “curse”, not “cure”.
What’s in a name? A meaningful given name may inspire you, or be a cure you fight all your life. To choose your own name is a rare opportunity, but like a tatoo, it may long reveal more than you want to show. Do you pick an artless name from from the shallow pool of current fashion as if you are a vacuous parent naming a child? Do you choose a name to appropriate it’s imagined glamour? Do you choose one that fits, like comfortable shoes?
Amy, I don’t want to abuse your hospitality by having discussions of my own.
Does anybody know a forum that I could ask detailed questions and have lengthy discussions from a Non researching a book and wanting to get it right, point of view?
I do really like your blog Amy and would like to continue to participate when relavant and I hope you’d like that too. Thank you for welcoming me.
I’ll check it out…and make it a Bass Ale…none of that sissy beer for me…
I used to use Jahna Steele, but she just doesn’t seem right. The reason I wanted someone who could be considered a model (like Tula) is because one of her problems is that people just can’t get there minds around the idea that a woman who is so attractive to them wasn’t born that way. It shakes their reality.
Thanks for the comment. my intention is to write her as a normal woman with a very interesting past. In fact if she were to chose one word to describe herself she would say, “cop.”
I don’t want to hog this thread all about me (since it is Amy’s blog), but I would love to discuss this and get input from the trans community as early as possible.
I have the first chapter posted on my blog http://illini6.blogspot.com/2006/07/larch-chapter-1.html.
I also have a short story about Alison: http://illini6.blogspot.com/2006/08/surfs-down.html
And the begining scene from her next story: http://illini6.blogspot.com/2006/08/day-xxviii-story-4-ash.html
I would love to discuss this at great length so if we don’t want to hog Amy’s blog let’s meet over at my blog.
I’ll bring the virtual Coors.
but then i realized that if you wrote it that way, it wouldn’t sell.
Bill…not to make things more complicated, but the trans experience is a VERY difficult thing to write about in anything but the most basic (or totally stereotyped) way if you haven’t walked the path. Just a suggestion that if you want to make it believable, you might have it reviewed by more than a few transwoman, so that the life you are attempting to portray comes across as a real.
We’ve seen enough “nons” attempt to portray our unusual journey, and as a result, have witnessed more than enough sensationized, sexualized, transwoman as victim, transwoman as predator, transwoman as some sexual deviant, transwoman as a sex toy portrayals that continue to marginalize our experience, and our contributions to society..
Just your selection of her name Brickhouse made me cringe. Really.
It sure would be refreshing to read/see a story that portrays us as professional, successful, heteronormative, attractive (but not sexually stereotyped) intelligent…in short, a NORMAL woman with an unusual past.
Just my .02.
Kelly Van Der Veer is at
and yes, she looks like she is built like a brick ***thouse.
but maybe you want someone more presentable?
Thanks Amy the reply was great and FAST.
I hadn’t thought about strong vs weak link before. It’ll be tricky since my intention is for her to get more friction because she is so attractive now and so startlingly different in appearance. Most everybody in the story knows her history except her possible romantic interests (both male).
Her name is a combination of Jack Brickhouse (famous Chicago sports announcer) and “built like a…”
Another question, I’ve been thinking about using Kelly Van Der Veer as my mental image of what Alison looks like. Does anybody know or know of Ms Van Der Veer?
Is she nice?
Is she somebody you think should be the image of Alison?
Is there somebody else you’d suggest (I guess that’s more than one question)?
I agree with you about GL (firstly, why’d they kiss like that on the bridge), but you’d have to come to the Chicago area for us to sit down and talk about it. I’m not too mobile with the younguns and all.
Hey Bill ! 🙂
It’s certainly okay to ask questions like that !!! I’m not a writer by any means, but will be glad to offer my layperson’s thoughts on things. However, several of my Viewers are actual, honest to goodness writers … so they might even toss out an answer to your questions from time to time, it definitely never hurts to ask !
As far as your question here, I think it can be played out any way you want for your story/plot-line. It does seem to me that when you go with a feminized or masculinized version of the previous name, you do make the connection between to the identities stronger … so if you want the Before/After connection to be strong in your readers’ minds, then it might make sense to have the names male/female equivalents. However, if you want the connection to be hidden, then greatly different names could be useful. As far as coming up with a name before you’re doing much writing, again, that’s your call. If it’s useful for a twist that you want in the story being told, then there could be some nice foreshadowing or gotcha hints you could utilize if you plot things out far enough in advance. You can possibly look at what George Loocas did in Star Wars with Luke and Leia … in A New Hope, viewing for the first time, most wouldn’t make the connection they were, that could suggest Loocas but some thought into the names so that it’d be obvious those were twin names down the line. (Personally though, I don’t think Loocas did any such thing, I think he engaged in some major revisionistic history in saying he had this 6/9 episode grand plan from the very beginning. And if you want some examples of why I think that … buy me an evening of Coors Lights and I’ll point out numerous examples of inconsistencies created by Loocas changing his original “one movie/a television deal if he gets lucky” plan, into this master event of his … now granted, I wouldn’t sound nearly as bitter about this except for the fact that he totally screwed it up with everything he produced Star Wars related after the Ewoks made their first appearance. 🙂 )
By the way, is it Alison “Built Like A” Brickhouse? 🙂
Good luck with your novel !
I hope I’m not being rude by asking a couple of questions and offering a few of my own ideas.
I’m writing a detective novel with a transgender detective and I just realized, after reading this that I don’t know what name she left behind.
Do you think I should know that as I’m writing the story?
Should that be a wrinkle in the story or would it be refreshing if it wasn’t?
Her name is Alison Brickhouse. Would Alan be bad for her former name?
I never really had a nickname. I envy those who have enough character to generate one. My Dad did sometimes call me Lump (supposedly after the Red Skelton character Willie Lumplump, but I have my suspicions).
Finally, would it be okay if I ask questions like this on occasion?
I was reading this post, Amy, and for a minute or two couldn’t remember what your name was when you were “Joe.” Just think of you as Amy…. It was good to get back from vacation and see some new posts from you!
I was just thinking about this today at work! Most of the girls there are starting to call me Emily now, which is nice, but yeah it doesn’t always register that they mean me when they say it, and I was wondering how long it would take, and then I came home and you had blogged all about it! Fantastic! I had a supervisor that just recently retired that had my old name, so when anybody calls me by that, I tell them that “He’s not here anymore remember? He’s out golfing!”
A very re-assuring and comprehensive answer, as only you can deliver.
I look forward to a time when I can leave “boy name” behind me.
A version of this that goes on with me is when I’m with some nice people that I’m gently educating, and they well-meaningly ask me my old name. I don’t mind telling them, or I think I don’t, and then I burst into tears!
He’s not me! He’s long gone. And I’m glad, he was really a kind of a jerk, y’know. All those years fricking wasted — when I coulda been me!!!!!! Dammit, I’m crying again.
This name thing is powerful stuff.
are all acceptable.
There is a guy in my PFLAG chapter with my old name. I DON’t look around when they call him, but I DO feel like someone’s throwing a bucket of cold water over me. Oy.
But the fun version of all this is where they’re looking at my old records and say something like: “make sure your husband only takes two of these a day.”
…as long as you’re never called “defendant”….!
Good one Amy … its gotta’ be sweet that Dad has a pet name for his baby girl!
Or, is Amy Marie the name he uses when you’re in trouble … as in “Amy Marie Preston, I’m gonna’ stop this car right now if you don’t stop fighting with your brother!”–WINK!
Speaking of the old name … its still weird to hear it called out in public when around people “in the know” … makes me wonder if my peeps notice I’m NOT noticing “the name”.
As an aside … did you ever experience pronoun dysphoria? You know … when you’re called by your girl name but get referred to as “him” instead of her in the same sentence? Usually occurs for awhile after initial transition and by peeps still trying to adjust to You Ver. 2. With “friendlies” it was no big deal or mildly annoying, but one acquaintance of my folks used to deliberately call me by a feminized version of my boy name (grrrrr!).