So. Moross who? Please call me Aries Moross in the future. Some advice on how this could be done. “Ah yes, I spoke to the director of Studio Moross today, by the way, they have changed their name to Aries Moross.” If you have written about me and you can change my name in the articles or posts I would really appreciate that, just like It’s Nice That has done today. I am preemptively sending my thanks to anyone who corrects someone who didn’t get the memo in a graphic design class or on an Instagram post in the future.
You may have heard the term “deadnaming” which is using someone’s former name – also known as a “birth name” – most commonly in regards to trans people. Some people deadname to deliberately cause harm, it can be a microaggression, or it can just be an accident. New names can take some time to get used to, especially for close friends or family. I ask you now to remember that not all trans people have the same experience, we are completely unique in our identities. For some, their old name is off-limits and should never be spoken of, for others, it’s a part of them and their history. I know that “Kate Moross” will never be erased fully, that is just part of my timeline now. But please respect each individual’s relationship to their names old and new, and I suggest the best practice you can adopt in life is never to make assumptions about anyone.
So that’s what I’m going for. I don’t want to be in limbo anymore. I want to see how this name feels at the top of this article. I want to see how it feels spoken by clients. I am taking this time to see if it feels right, and acknowledging it might not be. I may change my mind, and that’s OK too. How did you know when your name felt right? Cyrus Grace Dunham answered this so perfectly in his article A Year Without A Name, which so many people recommended me to read when I was searching for this answer. As he wrote: “The answer was never, or sometimes, or not yet, or not fully.” And you know what, when you take back ownership of yourself, that can be enough. As trans people, we can feel uncomfortable doing things for ourselves, creating spaces for our bodies. That’s mostly because we don’t see it done for us that often. I am doing this for myself, but I am also doing it to be visible to the future creatives out there who may want to do this too. To show an example of it being done, and it being fine, and people just scrolling on like it was nothing.
Below, Aries share some tips on how to make a name and/or pronoun change in the workplace easier for others:
- Never assume what name someone wants to use at work, especially not based on their ID or passport. Ask people how they would like to be referred to. That goes for nicknames etc. Make sure you are using names people are happy with, trans or cis!
- Ask people annually if they are happy with their name and pronouns at work, this could give someone an opportunity to speak up if they did want to change them but didn’t have the confidence to ask.
- Google for business will allow you to change a name and will auto-correct this across the entire system. It’s built to allow for name changes easily.
- Other email servers can be fixed by setting up forward email addresses or alias’.
- When you have a meeting with new members/clients, let everyone say their name and pronouns. Make it a part of your work environment and this will put the pressure off trans people.
- Put your pronouns in your email signature and video call screen names.