I am a cis straight woman in my mid-30s, and I have started the process to legally change my first name. I haven’t felt comfortable with my given name since I was a child. I have discussed changing my name in the past, but my family hasn’t been thrilled. They have only ever known me by my birth name, which was given to me by my late mother, who was beloved. It’s taken me 10 years to get the courage to start, but only my close friends know I’ve filed the paperwork. They’re all supportive. But I’m afraid my family members will be hurt and maybe angry. They act like I’m a child playing pretend whenever this comes up. I know they won’t use my new name or even try to get used to it. I’ve made my peace with that. I’m also using my given name as my middle name, to show them that I’m still the daughter/sister/niece they’ve always known.
Filing the papers gave me a feeling of intense peace. But even if the name change is approved, which it probably will be, I’m still afraid to tell my family because I’m afraid of the embarrassment I’ll feel when they refuse to understand and the hurt feelings I know this will bring. I don’t see them often, and there’s not too many ways they could find out, aside from stumbling upon my utility bills or seeing me flash a credit card to pay for dinner, or a driver’s license at the bar. I don’t care what they call me; I love them and know they love me. Should I tell them upfront and face the music, or wait for them to find out for themselves?
—A Girl Has No Name