Yesterday I went to the post office and picked up a registered mail letter. I figured out from the postie’s calling card that this letter was something special. It was my official name change certificate stating that my legal name is now Yenn Purkis. It was a good feeling opening that envelope and seeing my new name as being the name I am legally known as.
If you haven’t read my other blog post about this I changed my name mostly to reflect my non-binary gender identity. I came out as non-binary about this time last year. People asked me ‘will you change your name?’ I wanted to as Jeanette has never seemed right but changing my name seemed so drastic and involved. I couldn’t think of a name which worked either. I kept getting stuck on Jann but that didn’t work any better than my Jeanette name. I decided to leave my name change decision to my subconscious. When the right name arrived I would know. And that is what happened. Yenn came to me instantaneously. I was at work and a thought popped into my brain then thought said ‘Yenne?’ I wrote it down and wasn’t happy. Then ‘Yenn’ came unbidden into my brain and I wrote that down and there it was. The actual decision took a split second. The only comparable experience from my life was when Mr Kitty and I bonded moments after I met his beautiful furry self.
A friend who is trans asked me how I felt on the day of my name changing. I responded
“Good. Strong and excited to get to be me. This has been a process over the past year. It isn’t as fresh and sparkly as it was but more grounded and ‘real’ if that makes sense. Since I came out I have had almost no status anxiety which was a huge issue for me before. I think I am so strong in knowing who I am that it gives me confidence in all areas of life. I feel awake. And thinking that people using my dead name are actually wrong in legal terms makes me smile. a lot.”
My name is a true liberation. It is also beautiful and poignant and meaningful. My subconscious did well. My name has a few specific meanings as well. In poetry to yen means to yearn and I am a very self-reflective yearn-y sort of person. It is also a nod to my old name without being too close. It is also agender, at least in Australia, and quite unusual. I have never met another Yenn. I used to feel my old name didn’t fit me. It was like a jacket that was too big with a scratchy label. In contrast, Yenn is like a comfortable knitted purple jumper which feels and looks just wonderful.
It is interesting to see how people have responded to my pronouns and new name. Almost everyone gets my name right and almost everyone gets my pronouns wrong! This is a work in progress but it is also interesting. I think my name fits me really well.
It is odd being a bit of a public figure who has changed their name. I had a work colleague ask me who this Jeanette Purkis person was who wrote all the books on the posters that a I have up at my workstation! I started my new job three weeks ago and nobody knows me as Jeanette in my new department, which is wonderful!
I love that it is actually wrong to dead name me. Legally wrong. My actual official name is Yenn so deal with it any bigots that are out there! It was pretty special getting my certificate. It almost doesn’t seem real. I waited three months to officially change my name as I wanted to be sure it was ‘right.’ I can report that it is definitely right. Very right indeed. I am having a name party in a couple of weeks. Yay to affirming identity and gender and being proud of who you are.