The following is an email I sent to my immediate family around October. This was after I’d had one-on-one conversations with everyone. I’ll let the email tell the story.
So the end of the year is fast approaching. When the new year comes I want to start using my new name (Max) and new pronouns (they/them). I know some of you might not feel fully comfortable with this, but I’ve spent much of the past 34 years uncomfortable with my name and being female has never sat right with me. It’s not something I have been open about. I didn’t know how to approach the subject even inside my own head, much less with others. I thought that because I wasn’t a boy either, I was just some weird girl. But now that I know that it’s possible to be neither, I suddenly understand myself in a whole new way. I’m nonbinary. I’m a mix of boy and girl and neither. I feel like Max is a better fit for me, and they/them are my true pronouns.
I know and understand that this will take some getting use to. That’s why I’m making my intentions clear well in advance. This way you have a few months to practice before the new year.
I understand that after the new year, you will probably still default to the old way and I may still get called by my birth name. That’s fair. But I am asking for honest effort and willingness to correct yourselves and each other, whether I’m there to hear it or not.
There are parts I’m still struggling with, namely my roles in my relationships with those I love. I’m Pat’s spouse. Pat has already been getting used to this shift for a bit now. I will remain mom to the kids, however, not because I take on a motherly role, that’s always been Pat, but since I carried them for 9 months each, I wear that title like a badge of honor. This might change in the future though. We’ll see. Rachel, I’m torn between being your sister and being your sibling. Sisters in itself is a type of relationship that defines us. At the same time, part of me really prefers the genernutralness of being your sibling. Who knows, maybe we can work together and come up with a third option. Mom (and dad) I know you say I’ll always be your daughter. But honestly, I never was your daughter. Your child, but not your daughter. But at the same time, I need my relationship with you both, more than I need an accurate title in the family. I’m putting my foot down about my name and pronouns but other than that, I’m picking my battles.
I love you all. Please consider this over the coming months. Work through what you need to work through. I suggest calling me Max in your heads for awhile before you say it out loud. The silent practice is less startling than the out loud practice and it gives you a chance to privately get used to this.
Also, I’m not making this name change legal anyone soon. Right now Max is technically a nickname that I strongly and stubbornly prefer.