Transgender Boy

Hi everyone,

I am a 16 year old transgender boy from London in the UK, I need help deciding on a name because I often get bored of some of the names that I choose.

I have tried:

Austin, Michael, Roman, Jack, Ryan, Gage, Sebastian (and many more)

I would love to hear some advice from other people, so here's a little about me:

I have blonde hair and blue eyes, I am a musical person (I play the trumpet and guitar), I like uncommon names and I need to choose a name that flows with the middle name "Francis" (I'm open to having more than one middle name).

Thank you all for any and all suggestions, feel free to ask me questions! :)




October 8, 2018 5:12 PM

Logan, Hendrix, Peyton, Morgan, Alex, Beau, Bodhi, Brock, Callum, Connor, Dane, Dylan, Curtis, Declan, Elliott, Owen, Heath, Kane, Kian, Luka, Malcolm, Oscar, Martin, Nolan, Patrick, Rhys, Ryan, Rory, Zane, Reuben

October 8, 2018 6:37 PM

First off, congratulations! I think my advice would be to consider whether a name with a lot of nickname options might afford you with some of the flexibility to reinvent yourself (to be clear I don't mean transitioning here, I mean the reinventing onesself that everyone goes through in their teens and early twenties as one moves through different jobs and strata of life). 

The second piece of advice would be to perhaps consider names that are generationally appropriate - names that were being given 16 years ago, and not names that are being given to babies now. I know a lot of older transmen named Ezekiel, which is a name that's exploded onto the naming scene right around the time that those men were coming out and naming themselves. I think on the one hand that's perfectly fine -- please don't get mad at me if you're a dad-age transman named Zeke who's reading this! -- but it's also fairly obvious. Picking a name that is typical for your age group and perhaps even one that's typical for the sorts of namers that your parents were might be a way to end up with a name that sticks better and feels more like you. Naming yourself is different from  naming a toddler, so it seems like it makes sense to consider slightly different criteria. 

If your parents are still in your life and supportive, I'd consider asking them if they have any input. Perhaps there's the name they would have given you if you'd been designated male at birth, or perhaps there's a nod to family lore or another important namesake that can give your name choice a bit more weight than "cool name I liked".

I feel like a lot of the trans voices we've had on this forum have ended up with names that were honoring someone or had some meaning behind them beyond "name that sounds good" and that this helped the name stick - because it's harder to get bored with a name that means something. Maybe that involves inviting some of your supportive people to join you on the naming journey, or picking a name that honors a historical figure you admire... but I know that if my kids were to come out to me as trans, I would feel deeply honored by the opportunity to be involved in some way in their naming a second time around, and indeed, I'd feel like it was a good opportunity to have a do-over at the naming that clearly didn't go quite right the first time around because I got the gender wrong. :) 

Best of luck to you... and for what it's worth, I think Reynard is a great name, with Ray/Rey providing a very different feel from the full name. It's unusual without being out of place and it seems like it would serve you well in many parts of life, and the trickster fox figure seems like it might be an interesting namesake!


October 9, 2018 2:15 AM

I agree with everything Lucubratrix said here. Including congratulations on your transition!

My trans child is much younger than you, so her name choosing process was different I'm sure than yours will be. However, we found that what worked best for us was to have a name with similar sounds to her original name and still fit our family naming traditions. It's been about a year and a half since she transitioned and she still loves her name and says it totally feels like her. I agree that it suits her as well. 

I have not transitioned myself, but I have changed my first name as an adult. Like my daughter, I found it more important to choose a name that "felt like me" instead of just a name I liked. So my name also has some of the same sounds as my original name, but feels different to me and over time has really come to feel like me.

BTW, Lucubratrix - do you have the name stats for the U.K. from 2002ish? We might be able to offer some generationally appropriate suggestions from that.

October 10, 2018 12:19 PM

I think that transitioning doesn't have to be about making life easier for the people around you, but I do think that picking a name that shares sound similarities or preserves part of the name can make it easier for people who are casually involved in your life to adjust without much kerfluffle. The adolescent child of a family friend recently came out as nonbinary and is going by their gender neutral middle name now, and since it was an alliterative name to begin with so the call name hasn't shifted completely either. I think that's made it easy for all of us to adjust and made it easier for us to focus on getting pronouns right since the name adjustment isn't as big a deal. In my experience switching over to a completely different name (different sounds, different feel, different meter) is harder. For people who are involved in your life regularly that is 100% a task that they can/will take on and conquer, but for the high school acquaintances and people you see every year once or twice it's a much slower process. Of course I try -- I'm a different part of the LGBT community so I've been working on this for a long time!-- but it's just a much more mixup prone process.

I can attest that my kids and I had a total non-issue with meeting LTurtle's kids in real life a year later again post-transiiton. My children are young and they actually had a really hard time remembering that her daughter's name was ever anything different, due to the shared starting sound. For me, too, the name just smoothly overwrote the previous wrong name (which I could actually never quite remember, so the amount of name mixups I inflicted actually went substantially down post-transition, ha).

Tl;dr: if having other people stumbling over the deadname is a thing that is triggering or emotionally challenging for you, then you could consider trying to riff on your previous incorrectly-gendered name in some way, as I think that will minimize the stumbling that you experience.

If on the other hand any similarity to the deadname is emotionally challenging, or perhaps you are starting from a very fresh slate of people in your life, then you should veer cheerfully into totally new sound territory and give yourself the fresh start you need. 

And last totally random tacked on thought: I recently encountered the nickname Flip for Philip, and was struck that was just a fabulous nickname that really changes the feel of the full name in a major way. If I were looking for a thoroughly masculine, fairly staid kind of name that wouldn't cause a single eyebrow to be raised, Philip is a good candidate... it's been on the decline, and it's not the kind of name that people are flocking to for its fashionable trendiness. But Flip is very effortlessly cool and artistic and very distinctive. I also find Philip Francis to be pleasing as a combination!

October 10, 2018 10:18 PM

I completely agree with all of this. We have a friend of the kids who is transitioning, and he has chosen a name so very different that I actually do better with pronouns than I do with his new name. I'm still trying very hard, but I know I've blown it a couple of times.

October 11, 2018 8:30 AM

Although I know two transitioned young adults, and the one who chose a name with the same meter and same end sound but is otherwise a different name is easier than the one who went from Amy to (male name starting with a soft a sound) for some reason.

October 11, 2018 11:41 AM

I could see that! It's not so much about that first letter, but from 4 syllables to 2, totally different styles, and in my example -- the first syllable sound is *almost* the end sound of the new name, but yet not. Now he feels like this is for sure his new name, so I will absolutely keep trying, but using "him" instead of "her" has been an easier switch than the switch in names.


October 9, 2018 12:25 AM

Do you have a particular musical influence?  If there's a musician/band/style of music that speaks to you, it might be neat to find a name that somehow lends itself to that.  Also, why not Francis as a first name?  I think that's pretty solid, but it fits nicely in the middle name slot as well.

Other than that there's nothing I can add that lucubratrix didn't already say.  Just wanted to say congrats and good luck!

October 9, 2018 2:46 AM

Congratulations on your transition!

On the name front, I am going to assume Reynard is your surname?  So we are looking for ______ Francis Reynard.

I also agree Francis - nickname Frank - would be a fine first name.  But there are lots of fine first names.  You told us a bit about yourself, but not really what you are looking for in a name, and what matters to you in a name.  It would also be helpful to know a bit about your family and support, particularly if you are looking for continuity versus a clean break.  Also, how did your trans friends choose their names?  Is there a pattern that seems particularly suitable for you?  For example, my best trans friend transitioned at about age 30, but had embraced his gender-neutral middle name (let's say Jordan, although it isn't) many years before that, when he was still identified as a butch woman.  So when the full transition came, he simply went from Carolyn Jordan Lastname to Carlin Jordan Lastname, but continued to go by Jordan as he had done for years.

If you want a musical nod -- trumpet and guitar, hmmm?  Any particular guitar heroes or genres?  What pops into mind immediately are Hendrix (as in Jimi) and Miles (as in Davis).  I do like Miles -- shows how far you have come, and how much farther you are going.  :)  Miles Francis doesn't flow too well though.  Milo?


By EVie
October 9, 2018 6:01 AM

Another relevant question, I think, is whether you want a name that is unambiguously masculine or one that is somewhere closer to the middle of the gender spectrum. I can see scenarios where a name like Francis (which sounds just like Frances when spoken), Jordan or Austin could lead to more frequent misgenderings than something like Michael or Jack, depending on your gender presentation. But I'm sure plenty of trans people also would prefer a name that doesn't adhere so strictly to the binary. Your preference there would help a lot in guiding us toward better suggestions.

October 9, 2018 11:53 AM

You've gotten excellent advice and questions already, so I'll just second everything others have said/asked. In the meantime, if you'd like to browse names given to boys in the UK in your birth year, you can see top-500 lists for England & Wales (plus Scotland, Ireland, and Northern Ireland) at Behind the Name—2002 for England and Wales is here, plus 2003 and 2001 (for context and since I'm not sure exactly when your birthday is).

If a name is hyper-linked in the list you can click on it to learn more, and see popularity charts for every country where it has charted, to give you a little more context. Use the popularity tab on the name's page, or click on the specific mini-chart for more detailed popularity info. For example, in 2002 Roman was only #411 (and it wasn't even on the chart in 1999) but it has since risen dramatically and was #75 last year. Austin and Sebastian have similar trajectories to Roman, but Michael and Ryan were both coming down from very high highs in 2002, and have continued to decline (though both are still in the top-100). Jack was the #1 name in 2002, and was still #5 last year, so it would be very age-appropriate and will probably still feel stylish to your peers, but it might not feel distinctive enough for you. Gage is the only name on your list that's really uncommon; it hasn't ever made the top-500 in the UK (the only country it's ever charted in is the US, and it never cracked the top-100 there--some of the other names on your list have been hits across multiple countries).

The sweet-spot for age-appropriate and also not-too-common might be anything that was on the list between 100 and 500 around the time of your birth, and is still outside the top-fifty now. A name like Miles, suggested above, would be in that "sweet spot"--since 1995 (the earliest the records go) it has fluctuated between about #125 and #200, so it's familiar-but-not-common, and would be just about as likely for someone your age as any other age (besides maybe very old--the records don't go back that far in the UK, but it looks like in the US it was a little more common back in Victorian times). A name like Gage, that is so rare that it's never been on the list (then or now) could also work. The main thing to watch out for in terms of unintentional anachronism would be names that were rare when you were born and have become much more popular now,* so I might downvote Austin, Roman, and Sebastian on those grounds.


*But if the name that feels like "you" is more popular with the toddler set than with teenagers that shouldn't rule it out. All this data is just to give you a little more info as you're looking, not to set up any kind of rules. In fact, my name fits the much-more-popular-with-younger-people pattern, so it's certainly something that can be lived with. It's just always disconcerting when the younger people with my name start to catch up with me (for example, there was the year when the first wave was old enough to be loose from their parents in public and I started hearing strangers calling "my" name all over the place; and just in the past few years there are suddenly a bunch more of them in my workplace, so now I sometimes have to use my last initial where before I was the only one).

October 9, 2018 4:32 PM

I think LTurtle and nedibes' point about year appropriateness with UK data is a good one, but I think with the UK there is an additional wrinkle that we American namers tend to overlook, which is the strong class-based system of naming. I bestowed very British names on my kids, but I think I actually felt freer to bestow them as an American because especially the names that I like are really enveloped in a lot of baggage about being associated with a particular class in England. Googling my kids' names I got lots of discussions about posh or trying-too-hard names on mumsnet, for example.  

That's what I'm trying to allude to by "the sorts of namers your parents are" -- but I freely admit that as an American who named her kids like a Masterpiece Theatre production, I am not a very useful source of input on coming up with suggestions that might fit. 

Original poster, one thing that you might try is to try out names in situations where you need to reserve your spot and someone will call the name later, like say ordering coffee or in brief social interactions where you won't see the other person again. Trying out options is probably the best way to decide if a name feels like you. 

I hope you'll pipe in with more input and perhaps an update down the road -- it's such a neat moment to be invited in to join, and I wish you all the best in naming and in all other parts of your life! 

October 9, 2018 7:54 PM

Oh, and anyone who wants to browse England and Wales name data: there's a voyager-style depiction of for the years that full data has been released, since 1996. It goes down to a finer resolution than the SSA data (3+ births) and it's fun to see a voyager where some of my kids' names are on-trend!


October 13, 2018 2:12 PM

Congratulations on your transition! I echo all the advice here, but one thing I haven’t seen brought up is to consider what names are common *locally* for your age group. For example, my naming landscape runs “young”: many names in the Top 100 today are actually pretty popular (and expected) for 16-year-olds in my area. 

 A city like London will likely have a lot of variation, so maybe consider your neighbourhood, class, etc. to zero in a little better.

October 17, 2018 7:01 AM

I would definitely recommend picking something that is unambiguously male (both the name and, if you use one, a nickname).  That helps signal to strangers which gender you want to be known as and will allow them to feel more confident when talking to/about you.  Is it your responsibility to make other people comfortable?  No, but making them uncomfortable/uncertain could deter them from interacting with you or make interactions unnecessarily awkward.

I know you're probably looking more for specific suggestions, but to me it looks like you're not lacking ideas - it's just a matter of figuring out which name is YOU.  Part of that will be figuring out how you want to present yourself to the world (not just in terms of gender but more in terms of personality).  But the other part will be getting down to earth and admitting to yourself whether the name truly represents you as you are, at your core, rather than just being something that you like and think is cool.

Sort of like picking out clothing in a store.  It looks neat on the mannequin, maybe...but can you personally pull it off?  Will you like it as much after you have taken it home and you're not seeing it in the context of the store display?  You want a name that's the equivalent of a shirt that you will want to wear until it's in shreds because it just suits you so well.

Taking myself as an example - like just about everyone on this site I love names, and there are so many that I think are cool.  If I were renaming myself I might be tempted to pick something intriguing like Melisande or Zipporah.  But if I'm being honest with myself... I'm much more of an Anne or Eleanor - something classic and dignified, substantial but not fancy or exotic.  If I wanted a boy's name I'd probably go with something along the same lines, like Adam, and avoid the temptation of something that I think is kicky and cool, like Dashiell.

Maybe try to imagine yourself as an old man and consider which names might still feel like "you."

Other ideas... ask your parents what name they were considering for a boy when you were born.  Look up the name popularity tables for your birth year, and find the boy name that has the same ranking as your birth name.  Enter your birth name into Namipedia and check out what sibling boy names are listed, or enter it into Nymbler and see what boy names are suggested.  There's no reason your new name has to be related to your birth name at all, of course - but it might be a fun way to generate ideas and might lead you to a name that you could realistically have been given as a boy at birth.

Especially given how young you are, I think it's not a bad thing that you're experimenting with different names to see how they settle in on you.