Looking back, pronouns and names

One of the topics that tends to come up in discussions, both with other trans* people and others, is the topic of former names and pronouns.  When looking back at my life pre-transition how should one refer to themselves?  How do we want others to refer to us when speaking of past events?  Do I want my old name used or not?  Which pronouns do I use?  Which pronouns would I like other people to use?  There is also how other people will hear what is said.  If someone does not know of my history it may or may not be confusing if I use a male pronoun to refer to myself pre-transition.  Each of these questions comes up in my own reflections and thinking about who I am and what it means for my own identity.  I’ve come up with my own answers to these questions, they are right for me.  The answers that other people who are trans* come up with will be their own and reflect their own lives.  These answers may also change over time, we are not static beings and life consists of change.

In answer to the question on pronouns that I use as well as which pronouns I’d like others to use the short answer is that I use female pronouns and ask that others do the same when referring to me both now as well as when discussing my pre-transition life.  As for my old name, I don’t want it used. Period. (see Ground Rules) When I speak of events in my pre-transition life, including childhood I automatically use the female pronouns, using male pronouns feels profoundly wrong.  When I realized that I was doing this I started to try to figure out why I was doing this.  The answer is quite simple.  I’ve always been female regardless of what most of my body looked like.  When I try to think of myself as male, even in the past, I can’t see it at all.  When I push myself to try to see my past self as being male I do not succeed, but I do end up with varying degrees of anxiety.  As a result, I will not use male pronouns or my old name when referring to my life pre-transition.  This then leads to some interesting challenges when dealing with other people, particularly those who knew me pre-transition.

Any time we are dealing with other people we reach a point where we cannot control what they do with information or how they refer to the past.  Some people have an easier time using male pronoun when referring to me pre-transition.  I would rather they not do that, and I can ask that they don’t, but at the same time I have no real control over it.  If they are speaking to someone who doesn’t know I’m transsexual and do that there could be problems beyond my feeling uncomfortable.  In short, please use female pronouns and my current name when referring to my life pre-transition.


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