Now, all this reasoning is sensible. That's why I'm not angry with the people who still use nothing but my old name, or *almost* nothing, or use my real name in a *jokey* fashion.
So, this is an educational post, which explains what many trans people (i.e. all trans people with a readin' bent, who thus know a bit about trans history; or all people whose lives have been blighted by transphobic violence) understand to be the connotations of such actions.
Edit: I had a long and boring analogy here... it was long, boring and pointless. It was about connotations of language use that only the recipient is likely to understand.
Use of a trans person's old name without apology will always connote the words and actions of people who actively refuse to use the new one. Those people will include, depending on the trans person:
- Friends and family members who couldn't accept hir, and thus cut hir out of their lives - and if you are family or good friends, then the trans person will have heard enough horror stories from hir trans friends for hir to dread a similar situation.
- Public figures who promote transphobia.
- Their obituaries and reports of their murders.
Harold Johnson, who had changed his name to "Joanne" (or whoever)
Harold Johnson, who preferred to be called "Joanne"
I don't want to link to any of the hundreds floating about the web - I read them once to take in the information, but don't want to give bigoted people any more traffic.
Do you see how these journalists become complicit in rape and murder (because it's nearly always both)? The best-known real-life case:
1) Brandon Teena is raped, to prove he is "really a woman" and can thus be raped like one
2) Brandon Teena is murdered, because he was "deceitful", because he was "really a woman"
3) Brandon Teena is referred to as Teena Brandon in all media coverage, because he is "really a woman"
Well, as long as we know, that removes all the little details of, what was it? Rape and murder or something...
However, the majority of transphobic violence is still against trans women. This is the usual story; a trans woman is rejected by her family (who obviously wouldn't use her real name) from a young age for being trans; or can't get a job (her potential employer wouldn't use her real name, would they?) because she's trans; so she is working in the sex trade or at least sleeping with abusive men that she wouldn't otherwise go near, because she needs support. One of her clients or boyfriends murders her, and the half-inch of media coverage does not use her real name.
I said I'd make this post coherent when I was awake... well, I haven't.
But the point is... "David, sorry, I mean Elaine" is the sentence that trans people will weep with joy to hear, if you (understandably) forget our names.
Incidentally, I'm full of insatiable curiosity, so I've asked every post-social-transition trans person I know "What was your birth name?"
Some people will find that perfectly fine, because I've previously established that it's just general nosiness rather than an attempt to discredit their identity...
Some will always hate it, because they've got some understandable sensitivity over the issue.
I never said I had all the answers.