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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Name And Identity: Why I'm Going Back To Sammy

IF YOU HAVEN’T ALREADY, PLEASE READ MY INTRODUCTION TO NON-BINARY GENDERS FIRST

            This is probably the most difficult thing to explain is what’s going on with my name. When I was first coming out to people, I kept “Sammy” cause it was nice and neutral. Then I went to Amber cause it was feminine. And now I’m talking about changing back to Sammy sort of but not quite fully or something like that. So, first of all, to help everyone out, I’m gonna just state a few things to know that will help you understand everything.
1.      I am going to continue using Amber as my “professional” name at work and in certain situations but in general I am going to be known as Samantha “Sammy” Lily Birner
2.      I am going to use both female and neutral pronouns. So, she/her/hers is fine and that’s how I hope to be read in public. However, it would be nice to have they/them/their used sometimes too J
3.      I AM STILL TRANS AND AM STILL NOT A BOY, K? K

Now first I wanna discuss exactly how “Amber” came about to be as an identifier for me. Now it came up from a discussion of potential names, but the main part I’m talking about is why I wanted to change from “Sammy” in the first place. When I was first reconciling being transgender, I wasn’t sure how family would take it. In fact, I was fully prepared for the possibility that I was going to lose family entirely. So “Sam” became associated with that anxiety and being seen as a guy. But now that so many people have been accepting and coming around, it no longer has that association. And Amber did help me stop seeing myself as a guy, but it may have run its course with me.
So why go back to Sammy/Samantha? Well for one, it means a lot to me. So many people have known me as “Sammy” throughout my life. I have a lot of memories with it, and that’s even who Kurt knew me as when we started dating. And now that I’m feeling connection with my family again, I want to have that connection still. And my mom chose that name. While it may have been the wrong gendered version, she still chose it and she’s still my mom. And I don’t want to seem like I’m ashamed of my mom or what she named me, and I don’t want to be ashamed of my past. 

As far as middle name, I chose Lily as it is very personal. It is the name of a very very close friend who has been there from when I came out as bisexual to when I first struggled with gender to now. And so, I chose the name in honor of her.

But there is another part of why I want to use Sammy. Look back up at the pronouns. Remember how I used neutral pronouns as well? Well, I don’t identify as a man but… I don’t fully identify as a woman either. I mean, I like skirts, and being called she by strangers, and looking feminine. But think of it this way. Remember the spectrums? Well, in terms of how I express myself I’m kind of like this
Neutral-----------x--Feminine
Neutral---x---------Masculine
      I mostly express myself in a largely female way, cause that’s what I enjoy. (And notice the lines are separate. People can express both masculine and feminine traits.) But in terms of my self-concept of my gender, it’s more like this
Neutral------x----Woman
Neutral---------------Man

      I don’t identify as male in anyway, but I have a self-concept of my identity that is between neutral and woman. “Demi-girl” or “trans-femme” are terms I’ve heard to describe it. But overall, I’d just say I’m me. And Sammy is a nice neutral name that I can still associate with being seen as largely female. I’m non-binary, I’m neither a man, nor a woman, nor neutral. I am myself, and that is wonderful :)

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