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Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Keep calling me Les

There's never a convenient time to get a sex change. I mean, really. There's always other things going on in your life that are going to get disrupted. 90% of you reading this think I'm talking about surgery (and are quietly crossing your legs, I'm sure), but it's like a million fucking things. (Such is the poor scheduling of post teenage puberty.) One of the most annoying is the name thing.

I have a tiny smattering of people who may search for me under my given name on the internets. I'm not a famous composer (yet), but I'm out there a bit. I would like people who have got something from the first 10 years of my production to be able to find me.

If I were more radical, I would leave my name unchanged Right now, though, that's not working for me. So I started going by the middle three letters of my name. And then I started doing music with the appellation, but I think this is a mistake. People from earlier won't find me. It makes the "C Hutchins" on my podcast kind of inexplicable. It's not the thing to do.

So if trying to leave my name unchanged will make me unhappy and 'Les' isn't the answer, what to do? An ideal name would: Start with C. Somehow be related to what my parents might have named me (I would have my brother's name, so I think about what they would have named him) or have a connection to my family. Contain a "Les" in it someplace, so I could keep using it as a nickname.

My uncle and great grandfather were named Charles. Ok, perfect.

So, for people searching for me on google, I can go by "Charles Celeste Hutchins." So I'm going to publish music under that name from now on and I've stuck it on my email. It will go on future business cards, etc.

And you can keep calling me whatever you call me.


vj said...

How about "C. Les Hutchins" ?

C Hutchins said...

That's the intersection of "Celeste" and "Charles". I think only Mitch's parents get to call me that. As it's what they've always called me.

Andrew Zamler-Carhart said...

I think you need a name that is distinctly recognizable as masculine. Like Thomas or something; no one's going to confuse that. Sasha had a friend in college who started with a derivative name, and then went for a bigger change that was clearer. Something that starts with 'C' is good, so I like Charles.

It's a nice name, and my father's middle name. It also has nice diminutives, like Charlie. But maybe making a cute version isn't the point. I've always preferred long names rather than diminutives. (For example, if we call our boy Sebastian I wouldn't want to shorten that in any way, even though it's three syllables.)

When I got married I hyphenated my name, so I have experience with the whole official name change process. It's not too hard but if you're going to bother it's easier to try various things on until you're happy, and only go through the bureaucracy once! (Like they'll print your new name on page 24 of your passport, but you'll have to order a new passport if you want your new name on page 1.)

Prepending Charles to your given name seems like decent way to keep Celeste around for safekeeping, but put it away when you don't need it. But I think it makes sense to settle into the name you really want to use before you attain super-stardom.

Famous people who change their gender can change their stage name. As I'm sure you know, Wendy Carlos had already crossed over in her private life but her record company made her release her earlier recordings under her given name. Hopefully you'll avoid that confusion to some degree.

If you release a CD, would you want the label to say Charles Celeste Hutchins? I sort of imagine that it would be confusing if you decide you don't need Celeste anymore. You can always edit web pages after publishing them, but it's harder with CDs and such.

Perhaps the sooner you decide on a masculine name that works for you, the sooner we can all get used to using it. Meditate on how Charles Hutchins sounds to you, and go all the way!

BTW, I looked up how to conjugate 'ze' on Wikipedia... ;-)

Anonymous said...

I finally changed my name after decades of wearing a name I hated and was pushed on me simply to placate a couple of hateful old aunts who didn't like me anyway.

It has been wonderfully liberating. Now I am FINALLY legally the name everyone's called me since I was a teen, first name ambiguous but the middle name is a definite Michael and it feels like Me. Good luck, I hope the best for you.