Monday, June 6, 2016

What's in a name?

Your mom and dad, and possibly others, may have spent hours coming up with something to call you. Part of you name may come from one side of the family, and part from the other. What might have seemed like a perfectly good name, may later on not work so well. I know people who strongly dislike their name for a variety of reasons (sounds like a commercial product or the name of a porn star or too similar to a famous person). Some people go through life with what they were given. Some folks change their name. It's a personal choice, a personal decision.

When you hear the name of someone you know, you immediately picture them in your mind. A name is a special label that sets us apart. I know many people who have changed their name. In some cases I have no idea what their name was before. It's not important. It is their wish and their desire to be known by a certain name, and disrespecting that is just plain rude. Now someone may question how I got to be the name police, and let me assure you that I am not. I'm not trying to suggest that what I say is always right and you had better listen to me, but stop and think for a moment. How would you like it if you are a woman, and people were often calling you he? Make it personal like that and I think you will agree. What would it feel like if folks called you another name or purposely mispronounced your name?

As an example, I keep hearing some people call Caitlyn Marie Jenner by a different name. You are disrespecting her when you do this! It makes no difference what you think about gender identity. It doesn't matter at all if you think that gender reassignment is not a good thing. That isn't the issue. Everyone deserves the respect of being addressed by their name. What made me think about this now is the crude comments I have heard in the past two days about The Champ, intentionally using the wrong name. Using Muhammad Ali's birth name when discussing his passing is akin to dead naming ‎trans‬ people.
When I was born, my parents gave me only a first and last name - I have no middle name.  Over the years on radio and tv, I used a couple of different names, but they were only for professional purposes.  I actually like my name, and I don't like people calling me other things.  I'm one of the lucky ones though.  I never legally changed my name, and have rarely been called other things.  Many of my friends though have not had it as easy.  Disrespecting them is disrespecting me.  My name is Michael Fullam.  What is yours?

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