"There is difference and there is power. And who holds the power decides the meaning of the difference." --June Jordan

Friday, May 23, 2008

"What's in a Transperson's Name?"

Check out this great post by Monica at TransGriot, in which she discusses the naming process and shares her story of how she chose her name when she transitioned:

If you sat ten different transpeople down and asked them how and why they chose their name, you'd get ten different answers as to how they conducted the thought processes or the myriad reasons that eventually led to their new name. It's why we transpeople go off on the media so much when they disrespect us by putting our new names in quotation marks or parentheses or don't use the proper pronouns in describing us in various news stories.
(...)

So what's in a transperson's name? Plenty of hard, solid thinking, blood, toil, drama, sweat, tears, hope, history, roller coaster emotions and prayerful consideration that it will lead to the respect that we demand for ourselves and from others in the world around us.

3 comments:

Katie said...

So what about people like Miss J on "America's Next Top Model"? Is s/he just a drag queen and therefore not on the same level as transgender people? Because I sometimes hear Tyra calling her/him "he", and I wonder how s/he feels about that.

Tracey said...

As far as I know, Miss J isn't actually trans. He's likely called female pronouns on the show so often because he's known to dress in drag, but I don't think he would actually call himself a transperson. I'm not sure about this, since media is often so disrespectful in choosing to call people whatever pronouns they want, but when I Googled Miss J. Alexander, every single search came up with only "he" pronouns, including interviews he did for articles that likely would have mentioned the issue and called him female pronouns if he would have preferred it.

Meghan O said...

I thought the same thing for a while, but Tyra and the judge's panel were pretty respectful to Isis and her identity when she was on the show, which makes me think that if Miss J were really trans, Tyra would most likely respect that. I think the switching in pronouns happens because Miss J is known to do drag.