What’s in a Name?

There is something new to add to my list if things that keep me awake at night, wondering, “Oh my God! What have I done?”. Perhaps, with transition, this is the new normal. There is always something new.

Many have expressed finding difficulty in using my new name. The new name thing is strange to me as well. I promise. I am not militant about its use. We all need time and practice, to get used to the damned thing. I know this all too well.

That said, I am going to focus on my father here for a bit. Those of you wishing to find out why I chose Tori for a name will need to keep reading for a while.

My father refuses to even try using my new name. I imagine some readers may think y’all immediately understand where my father is coming from. He did have a say in my male name. He gave me his first name as my middle name. I also took his last name. He raised me as a boy. He coached me in baseball. Since I have come out, he has become extremely active in the LTBT community. He is an advocate. I do not doubt his love for me. Not a bit. I do not question his support.

Why then, would he, some moths ago, tell me, “Do whatever it is you need to do to be happy but to me you will always be my boy, you will always be Tommy.”? I assure you, he has kept his word.

Things like this, as well as millions of others, just little things like this, dance around in my head at night to an endless loop of obnoxious music. I was on the verge of insanity before I transitioned, and sometimes, I feel like I still have a better view of insanity from my house than Sarah Palin has of Russia. Perhaps everybody does. That is fodder for a different blog post. Back to my father and my name.

I chose the name, “Tori” for some pretty simple reasons. A few years ago, I joined a support website for trans people and I had to pick a username. No way was I going to use my male name. What would I call myself? I figured I would go with something simple. Many trans folk pick what to me sound like ridiculous names, “Hi, I’m Sequoia.” Something that perhaps sounded like my male name would be nice. Tammy was out. I have known a few too many people named Tammy, some of them ruined the name for me. I realized a tarnished name would not do. It also, had to be something age appropriate. Some names just were not used anymore, or were not yet popular when I was born.

Long story short, I picked Tori. It met the requirements. Nobody had ruined the name. I was not too close to anyone who went by Tori, so nobody would think I was trying to be them. Victoria, Vickie and Tori were common enough names as I grew up. It was a name I could imagine someone else picking for me before I ever had a say in the matter. The only say I had was shortening Victoria to Tori. The only famous living Tori I could think of was Tori Amos and she is a badass. So, I gave the name a test run on the online support forum.

I did not pick the name because of its meaning, but I soon realized Victoria does have an obvious meaning. Thomas, a biblical name, has a meaning too. It means, “Twin”. Really, that is all anybody knows about that name’s meaning.

Victoria and Tori grew on me. I am not a Vickie. Do not call me Vickie.

When it came time to begin my transition, again I looked at potential names. I have always loved the name I would have been given by my parents had I been born female. Amanda. Alas, Amanda is a drag name with a bad pun. A man, duh! I simply could not use it.

So, Tori it is. For the silliest of reasons. I practically drew it out of a hat, and it grew on me over time.

So, why does my father not want me to call me by that name?

When I mentioned this to my psychologist he asked me, “How long have you known you were trans?”

“Almost my whole life”

“And how long have your parents known?”

Touché good sir. Touché.

But really, it has very little to do with my name. Not Tori at least. It has much more to do with blood. You see, my Dad has three siblings. All of them sisters. I am my father’s only living child. So, I am the only child born to the entire extended family with the potential to carry on not the family blood line, but the family name.

With transition comes sterility. Stan Lee would say, “With great transition comes great sterility.” Jokes aside, the last name ends with me.

My Dad’s side of the family, myself included, wear that last name with pride. It haunts me to know the role I play in all this. No need to fear though. Even if I forgot, my Dad, in spite of his support, would serve to remind me by his simple refusal to use my name. It seems he sees my transition as a refusal to use his.


2 thoughts on “What’s in a Name?

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