What’s In a Name?

Here’s the problem: I like my birth name. It’s very stately, very elegant, and suits my personality so well that it can virtually be used as an adjective describing the way that I behave. If it were a gender-neutral name like “Leslie” or some such, then I would not hesitate to keep it. However, in spite of the efforts of a handful of yuppies that I’ve heard about, “James” is still very much connotative of maleness, which is a connotation that I do not want.

To ease the transition, I have tried adopting the more-feminine cognate “Jaime*” but to own the truth, I have had difficulty thinking of myself as such. At the risk of offending any other women with this name, it sounds a great deal less refined than it’s masculine opposite; as such, I have been hesitant to correct those who still call me James**. I adopted it more for the sake of continuity than anything else, but I’m not sure if it serves that purpose well enough.

In my research, I have stumbled upon other feminine forms of James: I think I could fairly easily think of myself as “Jamesina,” which I feel reflects a lot of the dignity of the male form, but it’s rather old fashioned and perhaps sounds faintly ridiculous to a modern ear. A more modern form, “Jamesica,” embodies all of the ridiculousness but none of the dignity.

Perhaps I could consider other, unrelated but equally dignified names. I have always been partial to ‘Victoria,’ for example. If any of my readers have any suggestions on this topic, I encourage you to share them. In the mean time, I’m going to put it to a poll:

_______________________________________

*Although I have read that in Spanish-speaking cultures, this is also connotative of masculinity, but in Canada, this is less the case than with the alternatively-spelled “Jamie.” More ‘feminine’ alternative spellings, such as “Jaimi”, “Jaymee” or “Jaymi” I’m not even going to touch with a ten-foot poll.

**Mom and Dad.

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About thevenerablecorvex

I have the heart of a poet, the brain of a theoretical physicist, and the wingspan of an albatross. I am also notable for my humility.
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10 Responses to What’s In a Name?

  1. Ironically, one of my closest friends at graduate school is a male physics student named “Jamie” (Well, officially James, but he goes by Jamie).

    I think you’ll find your name, or it will find you. Victoria is definitely a gorgeous name. I was actually having a conversation about gorgeous girl names, and my favorite is “Catriona”. It’s such a musical sounding name, but not super common. I know names and switching them can be really hard. My name has tons of nicknames, and I can’t deal with ANY of them, because I don’t recognize them as “me”.

    • I’ve never really liked nicknames; When I was a living as a man, I made it unambiguously known that it was not acceptable to call me “Jim,” “Jimmy” or “Jimbo.” If I opt for Victoria, I will make similar arguments against “Tori.” (“Vicki” is somewhat more acceptable, but still objectionable because there was an unpleasant character named Vicki on the Fairly Odd-Parents.)

  2. Saia Sikira says:

    Mhhh. I was going to vote for “Jaime” because it’s a name I really love, but you know I’m spanish so I love it as a male name so it’s no sense, ’cause it would be the same as telling you to keep “James”, and as I like that name too, that’s what I’m doing.

  3. Lindsay says:

    I had always parsed it as, a Jaime is usually male, and usually pronounces it “hai-may”; a Jamie is usually female and pronounces it “jay-mee.” I know there are some Jaimes who are female, and some Jaimes who pronounce it “jay-mee”, but in my experience they are not as common as the other kind. If you go with Jaime, you will probably be called “hai-may” by most people reading your name out loud.

    (Also, I CANNOT imagine anyone ever calling you Jimbo! Your persona, even leaving aside its femininity, is very un-Jimbo-like.)

    I also don’t feel like I should be voicing an opinion about what you should call yourself, but I do think Victoria is a beauitful name. I also like Jaime/Jamie, though, and there’s something really awesome about you keeping James, too. “Yes, I’m a woman, but my name is James.” *wait for heads to explode*

    • ‘“Yes, I’m a woman, but my name is James.” *wait for heads to explode*’

      You see, there is a certain appeal to that, but I feel it may unneccessarily complicate things. Whether for better or for worse, there are some things which are far harder for transwomen to get away with than ciswomen.

  4. n8chz says:

    Wila
    Anannicha
    Atana
    Peboea
    Kicyna
    Kininna
    Zarta

  5. n8chz says:

    I just noticed those all end in ‘a’.

    Jenilicy
    Wendrie
    Methyn
    Elicarlyndy

  6. Josie says:

    Hello Jamie, I am Lori’s spouse Josie. More specifically Josephine Michelle Draus. Like you I had a problem choosing my name for transition. And because I had an immune problem at birth (B-cell deficiency or agammaglobulinimia) my parents chose strong saint names to help pray for my life! My name was Joseph Michael Draus, and people knew me as Joey or JoeyMike! See the similarities to James & Jamie. I transitioned in ’94 and had SRS by Dr. Schrang on 6-10-99. People would tell me that many girls are named Joey, short for Josephine! Josephine I loved, as it honered my parents’ motives, as well as feeling right. By the way, my DAD wanted a son, my mother a DAUGHTER! So you can imagine the confusion. But I loved pink ever since I was in the crib, can’t stand singing low (I have a trained HIGH voice) and always idnetified as female inside. Which my mother knew! Dad, not so much! I found that if I used Joey, nobody who knew me whould get it through their thick heads that I AM A GIRL!!!!! So I used Josie as I always thought it cuter than Joey and is rarely confused as male! So I think you should use Jamie if you are comfortable with as many elements of your past name as you seem to be. I know I was, and I thought about over 2 dozen names, 6 of which I really liked; but NONE felt really right but JOSIE!!! So I am proud to say I am JOSIE to stay! I understand personally what you are going through and hope you keep in touch as it seems you need a friend who understands! I can be reached either through Lorraine Lee’s pages & blogs, or at јоѕіеdгацѕ@gmаіl.сом

  7. Pingback: On Nomenclature « voxcorvegis

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