So I picked “Eli”. It's Hebrew and I am (eventually) converting, after all. It is also a popular feminine name in Norway from where some of my ancestors conveniently hail. The question now, and the relevance to this blog, is how this change will go over here in the fine city of Lexington.
I have lived here for just over a year now and have managed to spend a lot of time and energy in the pursuit of social change. That given name has been attached to an impassioned public speech and a full-color photo in a newspaper. The prospect of requesting to be called by my chosen name is also terrifying to me. The wonderful queer community in Lexington has shown me that such an act has successfully been done before and that I won't be going this alone. This post is the first leap of confidence that will lead to the first time I will introduce myself as Eli, nice to meet you.
Eli stands for all of the times I sped through introductions and the roll calls to which I hardly responded. It stands for all the cat calls and the “hey man, got a light(s)?" It remembers all the times over the years when my friends told me that I didn't look like my name. It hopes for a sense of solidarity in queer identity within myself and for that first confident handshake yet to come.
Mostly, it means to say “Hello, Lexington. I am the same crusader for equal rights that I was yesterday. I am here and genderqueer. I was afraid to be me but within your city limits I have found the confidence to speak up. You can call me Eli, nice to meet you."