A friend of mine recently asked me “So how did you pick out the name Liz Summers?” upon which I searched back for the blog post where I explained it.
Well, it turns out I never did.
Which brings up a good point – why even have a female name? I’m not female, I have no underlying, burning desire to be female. When I’m dressed up at work, I expect (and say, when asked) that people call me by my male name. So why even have a female one?
First and foremost, I didn’t really have one for a long time. Back then it felt like a step too far, as if coming up with a name meant that I was suddenly ready to leave my maleness behind (spoiler alert: that didn’t happen). I wasn’t as comfortable with my identity back then, and every step further into the lake of femininity felt like a step too far. As time went on and online communities for crossdressing became more established, it kind of felt as if you had to choose a female name, like there was a societal pressure to fit in. So I came up with a name – LaChristina.
My god, what an awful name. I can throw that name firmly into the pile labelled “Trying too hard”. “Christina” would’ve been fine, but the “La” made it sound french and sexy. Like some kind of Moulin Rouge showgirl, can-canning all over the place, frilly knickers on display, and legs about to kick someone’s head off like a stripping ninja. Really what it signified was an overt desperation to be thought of as female.
I abandoned that name reasonably quickly and replaced it, for a long time, with nothing.
But people kept asking. “What’s your girl name?” or “Do you have a name for this?”. One question I got a lot was “What’s your drag name?” which… is a bit weird, given that when I did dress up, I wasn’t near approaching even the lower echelons of drag makeup. Drag was not, and remains not, my goal.
Eventually someone referred to me as “Queen Elizabeth” one time while I was dressed up, which stuck in my mind for some reason. Probably because I’m British. I’m not a monarchist by any stretch of the imagination, but you gotta respect the Queen at least a bit. I quickly decided that “Elizabeth” as a name was a bit of a mouthful, and I replaced it with the linguistically lazy “Liz”.
At some point I decided that maybe I should make a Facebook profile just for Liz. This was back when the social-media-sewer had started enforcing their real name policy, and I was hesitant to add my actual last name after “Liz”. I tried “Liz Something” but it declined to accept that as an agreeable moniker, so I spent a day trying to figure out a good last name. Conversations with the ol’ wife followed, and after some poking around at the DVD shelf to reference awesome women characters, “Buffy The Vampire Slayer” slid right into view. For those not in the know, her full name was Buffy Anne Summers, and stealing that, I reached my final form of “Liz Summers”. It felt like a natural name. Not forced, not trying to be anything, just a regular name that sounded nice. I like it. It fits, and manages to grant me a sliver of internet anonymity.
It’s an integral part of the outfit. Like the cat-eye glasses! :D
Now of course, given that we live in a world with gender expectations, there’s pressure to exist in accordance with them. Would I have felt like I needed to pick a female name if everyone was OK with dressing up however they wanted? Probably not, which is an interesting thought experiment to explore…. later.
What’s the story of your female name? Do you even have one? I would love to know!