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Call Me By Name

What is a dead name?

A read and white name tag with the heading "Hello, I'm" with a white space below to write in a name.

A dead name is a person's former name before transitioning their gender identity.

When you are born, your parents or guardians assign you a name at birth. This name is on your birth certificate, which in most countries, is used to confirm your identity throughout your life. As you age, you'll add other forms of identity like a passport and driver's license. Your birth certificate is needed to create both these forms of ID. Changing the name on your birth certificate can be illegal or prohibitive, depending on where you live. Some countries and some states in the US have made this process easier. However, there is a long way to go in support of updating personal documents when someone changes their name.

Folkx who are transgender, non-binary, or gender fluid change their name for any number of personal reasons. It is less about the why and more about acknowledging the change. It is respectful to ask what name they prefer and use it moving forward.

When a person uses someone's former name, it is called dead-naming. Using a dead name can be a mistake or an intentional action meant to cause harm. If you accidentally call someone by their dead name, apologize and correct yourself. If you are choosing to dead name someone because you have negative feelings about their gender transition, please take steps to get help from a therapist, support groups, or educators.

Book a Parent Session for education and support on gender identity or sexual orientation.

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