My name is still still Lilith

=> My name is Lilith
=> My name is (still) Lilith

About two years ago, I wrote two blog posts about my chosen name.

In retrospect, my relationship with broadcasting my ‘real’ name on the internet before I chose my own was... funny. Save for a few people, I was terrified of someone knowing anything about my identity. I would go so far as to establish ‘fake’ online identities under a male name that was different from my actual deadname. I had always attributed it to just being a privacy-conscious individual, that I didn’t want my name around and stuck to everything I posted.

While I’d still consider myself privacy-conscious, in this respect I’ve completely exposed myself. I blast Lilith around EVERYWHERE nowadays. I have an actual connection to it, beyond just chance at birth, and this is why I want everyone to call me Lilith and everyone to know it’s my name.

Except for fedi — where there seems to be a Lilith around every corner — I haven’t met anyone else named Lilith, although I frequent queer meetups and people tend to think of Lilith as a ‘stereotypically trans name’. They also tend to think of it as an extremely awesome name, even my teachers had to admit that when I came out to them. :)

So, I’ve had this name since the 16th of March 2022. This is actually a day I celebrate, like my birthday, or — I haven’t had a chance yet, but I intend on doing it — the day I started hormones.

=> 2023-12-01: First Day on Hormones

Originally, I wanted to write and reminisce about my name on 16th of March 2024, but I was too busy and didn’t do that. Well, I’m still busy right now, I’m procrastinating studying for my finals by writing this post.

Whatever. I want to tell my name story.

The days prior to the 16th of March 2022, I decided to actually choose a nice girl name for myself.

When I started attending queer meetups in 2021, I was presented with a choice of pronouns I could quite literally put on and wear — they were pins —, and I was a little overwhelmed. Voices inside of me told me that I should wear he/him pronouns, but I knew that I didn’t want to. I ended up taking that pin anyway, only to realise it felt absolutely atrocious a minute later. Like a scared dog I looked up at the counsellors and asked for permission to take the they/them pin. I was so scared of words, of pronouns.

Eventually I noticed that I prefer she/her pronouns more, so I started wearing that pin when I was there, but all this time I was still going by my deadname.

I was so scared of breaking the mould given to me just by choosing pronouns that don’t correspond to the gender given to me by celestial RNG... the thought of changing names was inconceivable to me. I kinda knew I wanted to, but 16-year-old me needed permission from someone I looked up to.

A counsellor eventually asked a little question that set everything off. I don’t recall the exact words, but they noted that I had been wearing the she/her pins for months at this point, and asked whether I had thought about changing my name.

That was it. I was given permission to do the things I wanted. To change my name, and free myself from all the baggage that my deadname represented.

I went through some embarrassing name phases, though I kept them to myself. At this point, although I was ready to admit I was looking into finding a new name, I didn’t want to tell people about it. It felt shameful and immoral; the word internalised transphobia existed in my mind of course, I knew about it, but I still couldn’t shake off these feelings.

Anyway, I kept my efforts low-profile, writing names I tried out on pieces of paper over and over again in different writing styles, until I got sick of them and figured they were not for me.

On the 16th, I was browsing a baby name website with girl names. I looked at a few names, and imagined people saying them to me. All of them felt awesome — I just like being a girl to be honest — but none of them felt like something I’d want to spend my life being. Except for one, kinda.

Liliana. A mouthful of a name, four syllables. Also a name I had never heard before. I had heard Lillian before, the English version with three syllables. But that was no matter, I read that name, and I knew that I wanted to actually try it out this time, look what other people thought about it.

So, on the 16th, I was all shy, wrote my name on a piece of tape and taped it over a glass. My heart was beating. I was not supposed to want to do this. I was detestable.

I was embracing a part of me that was not supposed to exist. But it did, and denying it was no longer a path I could go. Like a black hole: People imagine that crossing the event horizon means being sucked into the black hole with unimaginable force, when the truth is far more chilling. As you cross the horizon, the immense density of the black hole curves spacetime so profoundly towards the singularity that every direction leads to it.

No matter the direction you go, every road you travel leads you to the centre. I knew that I could not go back to my deadname, not because of some commitment I had made, but simply because, in my heart, I did not want to.

Eventually, I mustered up the courage to ask a counsellor what she thought of my name. She told me that it was a pretty name, but that I should be careful choosing a name as it was a big commitment.

At this moment, every negative remark to my name finding process, no matter how miniscule, was enough to make me regret asking, red-faced, looking at the ground, not shaken to tears because I was not honest enough to myself to cry about my feelings back then, but ashamed and small, wishing the ground would swallow me and spit me out years later, skipping the shameful and degrading parts of being trans.

At this point, this name started feeling wrong too, but I wasn’t ready to let go yet.

On my trip back, I thought of variations of the name Liliana that felt better to me. I pondered this for just a few minutes, and found that cutting off two syllables and turning Liliana into Lilith made me feel warm and fuzzy.

On the subsequent meetings, I made sure to write Lilith on my name tag, but no one noticed until a few weeks later, and people assumed I went back to my deadname; I was still too shy about my name to announce the change, or correct the deadnaming, but when people noticed, and complimented my name, and told me that’s what they were going to call me from now on, I felt pure comfort and love for my name.

It took a while to internalise the idea that Lilith is ME. This is to be expected: My brain lived 16 years under my deadname, learning that these are the sounds that represent me. Doing the switch was not difficult, but time-consuming. I had to write down my name on little shreds of paper during German classes many times, sigh it quietly into the night before going to bed, and repeat it in my head until it became meaningless noise, until I truly learned how to be Lilith, to be myself.

Eventually — and I can’t put a date on it —, Lilith started to become me, and I started to become Lilith. This must have been around the time I came out to my parents and they started calling me Lilith at home as well. Actually, as my mum admitted to me a few weeks ago, Lilith is to her now the more natural name for me. This means so incredibly much to me coming from the person who gave me my deadname. I love you, mum.

I’m soon going to be 19, very excited about the prospect of being able to change my legal name with the new laws coming to Germany!

I’ll be Lilith to everyone, even my workplace and the state!