"Preferred" Names Are Names

Names are important. They're as much a part of our identity as our face, or our voice. Ever since I was little, I had two names; one, my first name, that I've used on official documents and default to in legal settings. The other one is the one that's on my Facebook, my Instagram, and even the one I publish under! It's my preferred name, the one that I want people to call me, even if I do respond to my first name. I choose to go by Greer because it's a part of me as much as any other memory I have is a part of me. It's the name that I prefer.

Last year, I had a professor that simply never bothered to learn my preferred name -- Greer -- and instead insisted on calling me Hunter. I was hurt, shocked, and offended that he would call me by a name that wasn't the one I chose. It took me until over the summer to realize: this is what our transgender friends go through on a consistent basis, and their experiences deserve to be validated. We have a right and an obligation to protect their wants and needs. Birth/Dead names are beyond unimportant.

As a cisgender woman, I'm able to say this safely and comfortably, and can politely correct people who use the wrong name because my first name doesn't cause any dysphoria. I'm not scared to remind belligerent professors who don't seem to get the clue. I'm not fearful that I'll be attacked for correcting people. People don't attack me for using my preferred name because they don't see any reason to because I'm not different than them.

That's. Messed. Up.

Transgender people are real. They're living in every corner of our nation, and our world. And they're scared. They're scared that by reinforcing their preferred name, they'll be attacked, ostracized, or killed. Can you even begin to imagine being murdered because some idiot decided they knew your own identity better than you? Their names are their names, regardless of what name they were born with. Wake up and smell the revolution, people! When someone introduces themselves with their name, accept it, point blank. If they change their name throughout the time that you know them, respect their decisions and start correcting yourself and others.

My chosen name is no more important because I am cisgender. If you're willing to call me Greer, but won't call my friend by their preferred name, you're not "respecting the parents wishes". You're a hypocrite and a jerk, point blank. Respect people's names, or you risk invalidating their very existence.

A/N: Thank you to Lark for helping me write and edit this.

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