He Knows Their Name: The Mom of a Transgender Teen Speaks Out


I am one of those people who has very strong feelings about naming children. When choosing names for my kids, I was very adamant that the names not be shortened, but that they go by the name given to them. Why give someone a name that you have no intention of using? That just seems silly to me.

Each of our children’s names were chosen with care, but of course, most hopeful parents have at least one name that they want to use, and my oldest was the one who had that name. I had always loved the story of Deborah, the warrior judge, and hoped some day to have a child who would bear that name. Not a Debbie or Deb or even Debra, but Deborah. It was a name decided on with hope for the child to whom it would belong.

For sixteen years, that name was the one that the child used. When they were 14 and came out as gender fluid and pansexual, they flirted with another more androgynous name, but it never really caught on. As an affirming parent, I could wrap my head around their orientation and support it, but when I asked if they wanted me to call them that name, it was always with a sense of, “Please, don’t want that,” behind it. And for a while, those unspoken words were heeded. They were ambivalent about the name, and were content for those who knew about their orientation to continue to use their birth name.

Then at 16, the child who had the name that I loved came out as a trans man.

I’m posting today over at The Marin Foundation about my son’s new name. Click here to read the full piece.


About Alise

I’m a lot of things, but more than anything else, I’m a woman in progress. I’m finding that out more and more all the time. Knitting is just a series of knots. I hope as my tangled thoughts are put out there, they will weave together into something that adds a little bit of beauty to the world.
This entry was posted in LGBTQ, Writing and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to He Knows Their Name: The Mom of a Transgender Teen Speaks Out

  1. abbiewatters says:

    I really appreciate this piece. I only wish it were possible NOT to have to jump to another page to finish it. I wouldn’t mind the jump so much if the page would load nicely without a wait of over a minute while all the interminable ads loaded.

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