Remember my name!

 My name is Naomhán (pronounced neev-awn, nay-vawn, nee-vun or nay-vun). Of all these pronunciations, none are just ‘neev’. Yet this is still what some people call me.

Transition is an exhausting process. Changing names is part of that exhausting process. In an ideal world, I would tell people that my name is now Naomhán and everyone would say “ok” and start to use my chosen name. But it’s not as simple as that.

My family, who have known about my transition since December, still don’t all use Naomhán for me. I’ve been letting them away with it for quite a while, partly because I thought that changing names for me would be hardest for those who have known me longest. But I’ve reached my limit. I had a discussion with my family today in which my birth name was used repeatedly, despite repeated corrections from me. It really upsets me that I have to actually yell at my family over and over again to use Naomhán before they’ll consider using it. It’s exhausting. Why can’t they just accept it and refer to me properly?

I’m finding it more difficult these days to spend time around people who knew me prior to transitioning. Although I’m actually still in the process of transitioning, people who have only known me since January have only ever known me as Naomhán, have only ever known me as I present myself now, and are generally better with using the correct pronouns for me (they/them).

I used to think “it’s difficult for those who have known me for a long time” but I’m starting to think that that attitude is not doing me any favours. I still get “she/her” all the time, and I can see that people struggle with using they/them. But my sympathy for those people has disappeared. Being referred to as she or her, being called by the wrong name – it all hurts and makes physical transition more and more essential to me. I mistakenly thought that just being myself and being open and honest with people would be enough. But it’s clear to me that it’s not.

I feel like I’m constantly fighting an upward battle against my family. Each time I come home, it gets harder and harder. I know I’m lucky that my family haven’t disowned me, but to be honest, most of them haven’t done much lately to support me either.

Being trans, it’s a constant effort on my part to persuade people that my identity is valid. All I ask it that people respect my name and pronouns. Is that so hard to do?

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