Western Papers in Linguistics / Cahiers linguistiques de Western

Article Title

The Role of Name Choice in the Construction of Transgender Identities


This paper investigates the significance of re-naming oneself during the process of transitioning amongst transgender individuals. Onomastics has been a widely studied subject and it is a common belief that names are a fundamental aspect of social identities. Names play a significant role in indexing individuals, gender is often indexed through a person’s name and it can be troublesome when the name and gender do not seem to align. The notion of finding oneself and representing one’s true identity through a name is a very large part of transitioning one’s gender identity, but not any name will do, rather each individual is searching for a ‘true’ name. That is to say a name that embodies the essence of who they are, which includes a feeling that their name is solely them. This enables them to construct for themselves an identity to put forward in society that they feel confident about.

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