someone’s “etiquette” advice on transgender names

Sometime between 1989 and 1991, inclusive, I read a book on etiquette, a topic I take interest in from time to time. I don’t know the age of the book, nor do I know the author or title.

The author recommended choosing a “Christian” name if you change your sex.

Interesting, huh? I don’t think “Emily” qualifies as such.

But let’s deconstruct why the author might have recommended this:

At the time, even more so than today, changing one’s sex/gender was a radical move. I think the author wanted those of us who follow through with it to “fit in” as best we can, which I believe at the time of his writing meant assimilating to WASP society.

Moreover, I think he (and I remember the author was a “he”) probably was afraid we’d choose flamboyant “drag” names instead of something prudent to functioning in society. If that is true it is clear he didn’t know the first thing about the transgender experience.

Whatever the reason, the fact that he made this recommendation is interesting. I’m just happy that an etiquette book written before around 1990 even covered the subject, even if the coverage was imperfect!

no absolutes in gender etiquette
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Post Author: Emily

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