The Name Game


Otter Ryberg

Students write their names down to show that their name is important.

Otter Ryberg, Writer

People always use the argument ‘but the name holds meaning and you were given it for a reason’ against trans people changing their name. This never has made sense to me as the meaning of that statement is that you had an idea of what your kid would be and now that they do not fit that vision their opinions do not matter. 

Imagine you were given a name that does not fit with the gender you truly are. Would that not make your everyday life harder being called something that is not who you are? This is the harsh reality to those who are trans and creates complications with those who do not agree with them changing their name from the one they were born with. 

The world has always said that names have many meanings and part of that meaning is the association you have with them. For many people, their birth name may hold past memories of who they use to be and that can be a large source of dysphoria. 

When trans people come out, one of the first things that is brought up is their name. As this question appears, many people will refuse to change or some say it will be too hard and yet before they were even born they could go from calling you filler names to your birth name in probably a week. The truth is, while yes, they may have been using this name to refer to the individual for many decades, it is still not as hard as it seems. 

Even with students in our own school, many have said it is simply too hard to do when almost every day they are using new terms that were made up on the internet that simply make no sense. To some kids, school and friends become their home because of unsupportive parents and because having those their age say the same things, which leads to even more invalidation of their identity. 

That is another issue with this game people seem to make about avoiding people’s chosen names. It leads to those kids they say are so very important to them barely being able to hold on because the main thing that is important to a child is having at least one parent that supports them. The suicide rate for trans people is often calculated between 40 and 50 percent, but studies have shown that just having one close family member that is supportive can do more than cut that in half. Just doing what should be seen as the very least you can do can stop over half the attempts of trans kids. 

People always throw around statistics to try and make things sound important, but here we are talking about lives. Not just any lives, just possibly the lives of your friends or many of those around you.  Just this little thing of a name and using the right terms can save lives. 

Many people will say that is a small reason to feel worthless, but the thing you are being called and referred to as is something that is truly important to everyone, even if they do not think about it. Going back to the point stated earlier where I told you to just imagine constantly being referred to by a name and pronouns that do not align with how you identify with now, think how much of an effect that could have on teens who are already most likely in a bad place. Just these things that seem insignificant to the everyday person can add up and lead to the downfall of someone’s identity. 

The name game we play every day in this ever-changing world is rapidly changing rule sets and players, but in all, it is still the same game of life. Everyone is equally the same so even if you personally do not agree with someone’s identity, still try to be there and just think of the fact that you may contribute to saving a life. 

In all, the main thing that I hope you gained from reading this is the realization that even if it does not fully make sense to you that the person that is telling you this wants you in their life for time to come and just needs you to support and encourage them. While yes, changing your language may be difficult at first as long as you are actually trying that’s all that is needed.

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