In the late 1980s I discovered my paternal grandfather had changed our surname prior to marrying, at the insistence of his future wife, she did not want the hypenated surname. It may also have been related to his being disinherited as he was marrying a catholic where he was I assume Church of England.
Upon learning of this I really wanted to restore our surname to its original, though it did eventually take me another four years before I did so legally. During those years I would use it unofficially and also considered whether I wanted to keep my first name, something I associated negatively with all the bullying I’d endured throughout school.
When in 1993 I formally changed my name I had wanted to change my name to Corin but I faced such opposition within the family just with changing the surname that I ended up retaining the first name but modifying middle names to feature what I wanted. The result never was what I wanted and having all those middle names I felt kind of embarrassed, I would avoid telling people about or how they came to be.
After my little brother took his life in April I couldn’t help but cast a lens over my life and examine what I too wasn’t happy with. For me it was obvious, for 24 years I had lived with those names as middle names that I had wanted to make my new name, it was time to seize the day, carpe diem. At the end of May I began using Corin as a preferred name, I had some interesting reactions:
- Some friends expressed liking my original name but supported my change;
- Many expressed liking the new name;
- Some were curious to understand the name’s meaning – it is Celtic with Roman origins to their god Mars; it means Spear thrower;
- I got asked by one person at work whether anything else was changing. This made me laugh so much, but I confirmed was solely a change of name, happy with gender and sexuality!
I submitted the paperwork to change name formally in August and a month later, or thereabouts, an email advised I had to send my old birth certificate and change of name certificate to them to be destroyed. I had a quiet chuckle here as mum had covered the birth certificate in contact film in the 80s, good luck shredder! I was forced to delay sending due to a holiday to Singapore in October, I knew I’d not get documentation and a passport quickly enough.
Finally, on my little brother’s birthday, the approved change of name came through and I am now officially Corin. I felt quite elated for about ten or so minutes, almost as though floating. I’ve since been arranging new identification and updating name with banks and government etc, this has been a lot quicker than I thought it might have been with 75% completed in 2 days.
I think I need a holiday!