you can call me victoria

The short version of this post is “i’m changing my chosen name; please start calling me Victoria now.”

In the time since my last post here, i’ve started a second blog. The rough idea between splitting my blog presence was so that i could have a spot where i could spend less time perfecting and researching posts, so that i could use it somewhat like an old-school social media platform. Since it was functionally the same, under the hood, as this site, i could experiment with shorter posts that fell outside the regular content of this site, as well as alternate publishing strategies.

The first couple posts i did there (after that initial “welcome” post linked above) were about the trans experience, or at least my trans experience. The one that’s most relevant here is “what’s in a name”, which is about choosing a name, and the history of my previous chosen name, “Grey”.

In that post, i finished with the following teaser:

I’m thinking about all this because i’ve been thinking about my chosen name and how it doesn’t seem to fit me any more. I wasn’t super attached to it when i picked it, and it’s caused me a bit of grief when people misinterpret it as “Greg” or “Gary” when i order coffee. I’ve talked to some friends about it, and i have a name idea that’s stuck in my head for a while. I don’t want to announce it publicly just yet, but watch this space, i guess.

With all that background, i’d like to get to the point of this post. As the title implies, the new chosen name i was alluding to in the other post is “Victoria”. At least for right now, i’d rather not shorten it into any nicknames.

The process of choosing this name was both arbitrary and also somewhat personal. I knew i wanted to have something other than “Grey” as a first name when i legally changed my name, but i still wanted to keep it around. Keeping it as a middle name sounded like a fitting reference to this “gray zone” in my personal transition.

However, this posed a problem for another personal goal with my chosen name: keeping the initials pronounceable, or at least memorable. My birth name had the initials BAM, which was even my nickname back in high school. I stopped using that nickname after starting college, but the idea of having initials that i could pronounce or otherwise recognize stuck with me. So i was left with filling the initials _GM in a way i would appreciate. You might be able to see where this is going: i quickly picked VGM, just to have the amusing reference to “video game music” in my name. This also gives the bonus of also having VM as my shortened initials, which (in the software world at least) is also a reference to “virtual machine”.

So then what names could i choose beginning with a V? I already knew someone named “Veronica”, so that was off. For a while i thought about “Vera”, since the pen name “Vera Grey” sounded sophisticated, like a clothing designer or someone like that. Eventually, though, it failed the coffee test: when given the way i pronounce it (with a long “ee” as the first vowel) it was written as “Vira”, and when called out it was pronounced with an “ai” as the first vowel, like an abbreviated form of “viral”.

Before long i had settled on “Victoria”. It has the same kind of “sophisticated” air in my head as “Vera” (at least when given in full) but is much more recognizable in the culture i live in, so it’s much more difficult to mess up. I kept this to myself for a while, but decided to start staging “small releases” so i could see how the change would get received, by myself and others. My friends all seemed to love it, saying that it fit me well. My roommates agreed; one of them even was compelled to create a playlist of all the songs she knew with “Victoria” in the title!

So i’m pretty happy with this name now. I’d like to start working on a legal name change to make this my legal name, but first i’ll need to wait for all the government offices to open up where i live. For now, though, i’m happy to start using this name more broadly.