When I changed my studio name to SixteenJuly last year, I didn’t intend for that to be a segue to changing my first name, but here on the other side of that, I do feel like I have enough space between my personhood and my business to make the switch. I was confused because I saw your profile picture on the new name … until I stumbled upon this … I really like it! After I got engaged, the name issue quickly became the most frustrating detail for me to figure out. I genuinely believe that any partner should change their name if they so desire, but I couldn't seem to justify it to myself for some reason. When I chose my new first name, I partly chose it because it is gender-neutral leaning toward masculine, which suits my genderqueer self far better than my given name ever did. While my reasons for disliking my first name are many and varied, it's never been about my family - who I love dearly. Please know that I am in no way trying to invalidate anyone else's experiences of feeling trapped.
Did I want to keep having the same tiresome, negative conversation with every new person that I meet?
Additionally, I now have no problem taking my partner's (delightful) last name when I will also be taking my own first name, on my own terms.

This name change is not about shunning where I came from or reinventing myself or outrunning anything. And for having the courage to do it in the first place, despite what other people may or may not think.
In order to post comments, please make sure JavaScript and Cookies are enabled, and reload the page. Though, I decided to keep my middle name for sentimental reasons - bracketing it between my chosen names. We intended to do it when we got married, but we hadn’t settled on a name by the time that rolled around. It’s about being comfortable where I am, as this tiny warrior who gives herself permission to take big risks. I had already earned two degrees and published a few academic papers under my current name which was a significant amount of identity investment, as I saw it. My father is Hawaiian, and I was given the name to honor that heritage, though I was not raised in Hawaii. Then I started my first full-time job, and was overwhelmed with my legal name on everything, including my provided work e-mail address.

It was (perhaps a little too) important to me that we have the same last name, so I took his name right away. I hesitated because I didn’t really think Leah Cedar Quinn sounded all that interesting. Who is okay with letting people think she’s a little bit crazy if it means showing up and living out loud. I reluctantly ordered business cards thinking "Well, maybe I can go by this name again." But, in fact, I couldn't - I hated it. His name was certainly not improved by tacking my name to the front of it, but I felt kind of wrong just changing my last name - misplaced feminist pride, perhaps. I personally [not legally] got rid of my middle name Joann and replaced it with Jane, because Joann was originally after my godmother who was married into then divorced out of the family, who I never saw. My dad raised me to be a bit of an old soul + I’ve always loved the classic beauty of Jane, so I swapped.

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