As most of you will know, I initially came out as non-binary in June 2020 and can hardly be said to have kept it quiet since, writing and posting frequently on the topic. I very rapidly updated my pronouns to he/she/they, lopped off my flowing blonde locks, and made a few additions to my wardrobe. I also stated at the time that I wouldn’t be changing my name, despite having expressed a disconnect with my name from a very young age. I had three reasons for this;
- I hate paperwork.
- I had kept my surname when I got married to benefit my writing career, and felt guilty about changing it for any other reason.
- Finally, and most significantly, I couldn’t think of a good name.
While I had been considering a name change for some time, every time I thought I had the confidence to make a change, I chickened out. I thought I could handle the idea of being presumed to be a woman wherever I went. And then came the straw that broke the camel’s back.
It was a seemingly mundane interaction with a stranger that did it; I saw a pretty pair of shoes and picked them up to try them on. Someone decided to make outdated, sexist jokes about women and shoes for several minutes on end. In the end I put them back and left. I didn’t cry or shout or make a scene.
I know that in that situation, a name change would have made no difference. I know I will still be misgendered, and I know I need to start speaking up when that happens (I’m a lot ballsier on Twitter than I am in real life). That said, I knew it was finally time to stop running away from my problems and face them the same way I faced up to being disabled several years ago.
Problem 1 is actually not that much of a problem; the UK is very lenient on name change laws and there is no need for me to legally change my name until I’m ready to do so.
Problem 2 is very easily resolved; I will be taking my husband’s surname.
Problem 3 has also been resolved after much searching. I didn’t feel like an Alex or a Billie. I wanted something that was personally meaningful, and that’s why I’ve gone for something a little more unusual. It also pays tribute to one of my favourite sci-fi series of all time, and those who already know it say it suits me.
Without further ado;