Updated February 11, 2018 12:38:22When it comes to naming their first child, many parents find that the name they choose for their first born child will affect their gender identity for life.
But it’s not just the names that can affect your gender identity, and it’s also how you present yourself.
If you are a girl, for example, you might feel embarrassed to be called Lily because you feel like a girl.
You may also feel uncomfortable expressing your gender in public.
But a lot of parents find it helpful to talk to their doctor or a gender identity specialist about how they can handle naming their child.
The latest advice from a number of Australian experts, including gender identity expert Professor Michael Gendron, is that it is best to be yourself.
The ABC spoke to a number experts in the field of gender identity and gender expression to find out what it takes to be your true self.
Dr Anne Marie Currie is a gender therapist in Sydney and a consultant gender identity advocate.
She said: “The best way to tell if you are transgender or genderqueer is if you’re not the opposite gender.”
“You may be genderqueering in a sense that you don’t identify as either male or female, and that’s perfectly fine and normal.”
She said it was important to understand the gender you identify with, so you can make an informed decision about how to express yourself.
“If you’re confused about what you’re doing, ask your gender therapist,” Dr Currie said.
“You’re not alone, and there are people out there who are transgender.”
There are lots of options, and people who have come to see us know how to help you navigate this process.
“Dr Currie added that it was not always clear how to choose the name that best reflects your gender.
For example, it might be a good idea to start with something like ‘Lady’ and then you might want to work up to ‘Lloyd’, as they are both male and feminine.”
Gender can change in an instant, and I would advise that parents work through this process carefully,” Dr Gendro said.
It’s not a bad idea to use a gender neutral pronoun if you don.
Dr Curries advice to parents: “Parents are going to need to work through a process of coming to terms with their gender as a person, and they are going a lot further if they are trans.”
It’s a good thing to get your gender on the page so that when you’re naming your child, you know what your gender is.”
The ABC’s Sarah Breen and John Kelly, interviewed gender identity experts, Dr Anne Marie and Professor Michael, also covered gender identity advice and the impact of gender on your life.
Dr Breen said:”I think parents should make sure that they have had gender-confirming surgery before they name their child, because if you have had surgery, it can be hard to work out if you were born a boy or a girl.”
Dr Gendrons advice to mothers: “Don’t be afraid to explore the possibilities of what you are naming your daughter or son, especially if they have gender-related interests.”
I’ve had transgender children and I’ve had a lot to learn about gender, and we have lots of different experiences, so we need to be able to talk through the challenges and similarities and differences.””
We need to come up with names that reflect the different aspects of the person we are naming our child, and what they are interested in.
“Dr Kelly said it would be helpful for parents to consider naming their children names that reflected their gender and interests.
Dr Genders advice to children: “If you feel uncomfortable with naming your son or daughter, consider naming them after the person you want them to be.”
Names should be very personal, with lots of thought put into it.”
When you are talking to your gender specialist, ask what they think you might be naming your baby after.
“Some gender identity specialists have even said that names like ‘Mr’ or ‘Miss’ are great.”
Dr Brienne said parents needed to understand that gender does not always fit into the boxes people think it does.
“People are very sensitive to gender labels, so it is important that you try to be as inclusive as possible.”
Parents need to understand what it means to be a boy, a girl or a woman, and how to present yourself in a gender-neutral way.