What's in a name?
Actually quite a lot when it comes to a person's identity.
So one mom of a transgender child wanted to help their daughter choose a name. But after getting scolded for their input, they consulted the "Am I The A**hole" (AITA) subReddit for clarity.
Redditor ilovemykids6321 asked:
"AITA: I asked my trans daughter to choose an Indian name?"
The Original Poster (OP) explained:
"My husband and I come from a traditional Indian family (immigrated to the US for college and stayed here), so please bear in mind that we really don't know much about all the nuances of the LGBTQ+ community, since we were never really exposed to that."
"I decided to bring my situation here so I can get some third-party advice."
"My 'son' (now daughter) (15) recently came out as a transgender girl. We immediately accepted her, told her we loved her no matter what."
"I got her talking to a gender specialist/therapist, we entered family therapy and my husband and I have spent a lot of time reading and educating ourselves on what it means to be trans. Unfortunately, my husband and I also lost a lot of friends and family who decided that my daughter was a freak and that we were abandoning our culture and values."
"While we realize that we are better off without these ignorant people, it has been tough, despite having my siblings, some close friends and my husband stand by me. So, several months ago, I joined a support group for parents of kids who are trans."
"It has been really helpful, and I feel like it is a great place for me to voice my concerns and also express my feelings.
"A week ago, my daughter brought up how she probably wanted to change her name; right now, we are calling her a gender neutral nickname of her dead name (think Vikrant to Vicky). I completely understand that having remnants of your dead name can be very bad, so we told her that we would support her in her name-changing process."
"I also mentioned that I had a list of girl names that I never got use (I have three biological boys), and I would love if she wanted to use those names and if my husband and I, still got to name her. We even offered to do a redo of her traditional Hindu naming ceremony with her new name, which she loved."
"She said she would think about the names. She mentioned having a 'White' name (like Samantha) and asked me what I thought. I told her that it was her choice, but I would love if she chose an Indian name, so she always has a piece of her heritage with her and that would make us happy."
"She said she hadn't thought of that and she'll come up with some names later."
"I mentioned this in our support group, and one White mom got really angry at me. She started saying that I was a bad mom who was forcing my daughter to pick a name I wanted and forcing her to embrace a culture that rejected her."
"She brought up my estranged parents, who I had talked about in previous sessions, and how I was trying to force my daughter to be more like them."
"That was not my intention, but I feel terrible now and can't stop crying. AITA?"
Redditors were asked to weigh in by declaring:
- NTA - Not The A**hole
- YTA - You're The A**hole
- NAH - No A**holes Here
- ESH - Everyone Sucks Here
Redditors decided the OP was not the a**hole.
"I think showing your daughter the list of girl names you had picked out for your children is a beautiful and loving gesture. I hope she chooses one."
"But if she doesn't, that's ok too. NTA." ~ dogmom8969
"I mean, the offer to re-do the naming ceremony? That's beautiful, right there." ~ FeuerroteZora
"It definitely made me feel warm inside hearing about how much OP loves her daughter and wants to be involved with her transition. If only every trans child had parents like her!" ~ gaysquidd
"NTA NTA NTA. that mom was the a**hole."
"I think you went about making your request/suggestion very respectfully. You didn't tell her she HAD to do it, you asked."
"Absolutely NTA for making the request, and your daughter is also NTA if she chooses to go with a more 'White' name. I feel like that White mom is just oblivious to the power, emotion, and meaning that cultural/ethnic names can carry."
"Even if your daughter doesn't love the culture or community due to negative experiences, she should feel proud to be Indian and brown; she should feel proud of her heritage."
"You sound like a good mom. You emphasized that her name was her choice."
"You literally did nothing wrong." ~ angelaevans
"My goodness yes. Imagine the trans daughter hearing her mom offering a name she always wanted to use for a cis daughter."
"The strong message is 'you are my real and beloved daughter, you are one of us and this is not changed; we just didn't know when you were born'. Daughter may well not like the actual names chosen and she is free to choose another, but with this meaningful gesture mom is emphasizing connection, not 'othering'."
"I can't imagine a trans teen can hear that too often." ~ ditchdiggergirl
"I got emotional reading that part. How incredibly validated and loved her daughter must have felt."
"Also, for this mean woman to claim her culture rejected her when OPs post said while they've lost some friends, others have been supportive. OP and her husband are from that culture and accepted and offered to do a ceremony from said culture for the new name!"
"SOME people from that culture rejected her. Just like what happens in other cultures."
"If a White trans kid was rejected by some of their friends, should they not use a White name for their new one?"
"Mean lady just wanted to be crotchety." ~ Calvo838
The OP's loving acceptance of their child outweighs any missteps her fellow support group members accuse her of making. And regardless of what she was told, Reddit thinks her idea was filled with only love and support for her child.