Looking for a (gender-neutral) name!
November 8, 2015 4:51 AM   Subscribe

I am genderqueer/nonbinary and plan to legally change my name to reflect this next summer. I have a first name and middle name which I've cast into gender-neutral forms, and I'm looking for a second, new middle name to add to them.

After going by Rae for a year and a half, and getting my friends and workmates to use it with near-universal success, I have decided to change my name legally to Rae Victory (surname). Yippee!

Next summer I have to renew my residence permit for the country where I live, so I'm putting off the legal change till after that. That gives me almost a year to finalise the name.

My first two names are derived from the ones I was given, which have meaning and family history and love behind them, but I want to add something that’s distinctly mine as well. I don’t have any strong contenders yet and I would love suggestions!

What I would like: a gender-neutral name with positive connotations. Something related to nature or science would be great. Made-up names or names from books are welcome, especially since I am a big science fiction fan. :)

What I don't want: I don’t really like repurposing surnames as first names, especially since this one would be sitting next to my actual surname and that could lead to confusion. I’d rather not appropriate a non-European or very religious name.

Thank you for all suggestions!
posted by daisyk to Writing & Language (31 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
posted by dysh at 4:59 AM on November 8, 2015 [3 favorites]

posted by andrewcooke at 5:00 AM on November 8, 2015 [9 favorites]

How many syllables does your surname have? Stressed where?

Rae Victory ___ DUM-da-da-da and Rae Victory ___ da-DUM are two different situations, you know?
posted by nebulawindphone at 5:01 AM on November 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: You're right, nebulawindphone. It's two syllables, stressed on the first, so Rae Victory ___ DUM-da.
posted by daisyk at 5:05 AM on November 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

I'm partial to natural world names such as River, Sage, and Forest.
posted by fairmettle at 5:17 AM on November 8, 2015 [2 favorites]

Since you mention being a science fiction fan, I'll just throw Starbuck out there. From Battlestar Galactica, originally from Moby Dick.
posted by XMLicious at 5:22 AM on November 8, 2015 [9 favorites]

posted by hollyholly at 5:27 AM on November 8, 2015 [7 favorites]

Briar? It might only read as neutral to me because I know another enby who uses it as their first name, but I've always thought it was lovely, and it fits the meter and the "nature" thing.
posted by nebulawindphone at 5:29 AM on November 8, 2015 [3 favorites]

Rowan- Not only is it a beautiful & useful (edible fruit can be used as dye, wood good for carving) tree, but the mythology associated with it is neat. Many people considered it a magical tree of protection. This paragraph also feels like it fits with changing your name: "In Neo-Druidry, the Rowan is known as the Portal Tree. It is considered the threshold, between this world and otherworld, or between here and where ever you may be going...."
posted by belladonna at 6:02 AM on November 8, 2015 [18 favorites]

Allotrope. Rae Victory Allotrope DA-dum.
I like it rhythmically (1 syl, 2 syl, 3 syl, DA dum)
And it's a beautiful word with a cool meaning that you might say metaphorically acknowledges that the self "contains multitudes" --
(from Greek ἄλλος (allos), meaning "other", and τρόπος (tropos), meaning "manner, form") is the property of some chemical elements to exist in two or more different forms, in the same physical state, known as allotropes of these elements.
From wikipedia
posted by flourpot at 6:14 AM on November 8, 2015 [4 favorites]

Well there is Ash (from the Evil Dead movies/series), plus the Ash is a tree. Also the tree's Genus name is Fraxinus, which would be a fun name as well.
Linden is a nice tree name
Jacey or Jasey (means healer)
Juniper (it's an evergreen)
Yarrow Legend has it that yarrow (Achillea millefolium) was named after Achilles, the Greek mythical hero who used it to stop the bleeding in his soldiers' wounds.
posted by gudrun at 7:14 AM on November 8, 2015

I came to say Rowan but I also like Linden. Big beautiful trees with scented blossoms.
posted by fingersandtoes at 7:22 AM on November 8, 2015 [3 favorites]

Ass, Ada, Jay, Jordan, Beck, Bok, Blake, Grin, Daz, Toby, Gün, Basil, Jez, Bjork, Peq.
posted by parmanparman at 7:23 AM on November 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:30 AM on November 8, 2015

Thorn, Cygnus, Centauri, Pegasus, Borealis, Zephyr.
posted by bile and syntax at 8:25 AM on November 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

Brook, Brooke, or Brooks
posted by Sassyfras at 9:19 AM on November 8, 2015

I like the idea of making a middle name something that describes who you think you ARE, fundamentally. A value that's important to you or that you want to live up to. Something like honesty, or loyalty, or compassion. It might sound contrived or silly as a first name that you use daily, but hardly anyone ever even sees a middle name. But you would know, and it would be a good reminder to live up to your name.

And then every great once in a while, you'd get to have that conversation with someone. Hey Rae, you're the most compassionate person I know. And then you get to say, thank you, I try. Compassion is my middle name.
posted by ctmf at 9:22 AM on November 8, 2015 [4 favorites]

Rowan is like my all-time favourite name for anyone, big +1 for Rowan.
posted by cotton dress sock at 9:22 AM on November 8, 2015

I like Marin (my son's middle name, but I would still have used it if he'd been a girl) and nthing Rowan and Linden (awesome names!)

And, so happy for you and your new names! Congrats!
posted by bighappyhairydog at 9:44 AM on November 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

Hi, I am another nonbinary who is in the process of changing their legal name, and just went through the middle-name-choosing process! Congratulations, and do message me if you want to chat.

Some sources I considered for middle names were trees, minerals, herbs, and medicinal plants.

Also, you have probably been doing this, but if you haven't looked through baby name books, I recommend it. They will be gendered as hell and super corny, but it's also really fun, and I did eventually pick my middle name (which I am glad to share privately) from one.
posted by ITheCosmos at 9:58 AM on November 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

I didn't pay attention to rhythm or sound, since people react to those differently, but here are a few. Several are from sff books. And congratulations to you!

Merry (though everyone will mis-hear it)
posted by wintersweet at 10:15 AM on November 8, 2015

I feel like Victory is kind a of mouthful, so the second middle name should be short.

I really like the way Rae Victory Sky(e) DA-dum sounds.

I'd also suggest Rae Victory Blaze (or Blaise) DA-dum. But I got Blaise from Blaise Pascal, so that might be a gendered French name, I'm not sure.

For some reason Rae Victory Act DA-Dum also works well to my ear.
posted by OrangeDisk at 10:31 AM on November 8, 2015

I also like the idea of choosing a virtue you want to embody, as your middle name. "Temperance" scans well.

But I'm really giddy about everyone saying "Rowan" because that's my real life given name. And I'm nonbinary. And my mom chose the name specifically in case I turned out trans. I just. i just thought i'd share that.
posted by Rainbo Vagrant at 10:47 AM on November 8, 2015 [20 favorites]

posted by Sys Rq at 1:41 PM on November 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

That reminds me - In the game Fire Emblem: Awakening, there are two characters (the player avatar and their child) who can be either male or female; their canonical names are Robin and Morgan. Morgan, in particular, always reminds me of Morgan le Fay from Arthurian legend.
posted by NMcCoy at 2:54 PM on November 8, 2015

Came in to suggest Robin and Rowan. V. pleased to see that others have beaten me to it.
posted by KathrynT at 3:41 PM on November 8, 2015

I like Rowan as well -- excellent alliteration.

Other ideas:
  • Reed
  • Winter
  • Lark
  • Dale
  • Rain
  • Quinn

  • posted by Ostara at 4:32 PM on November 8, 2015

    I like the three syllable options with the stress on syllable one or two (like Allotrope, Pegasus, Temperance suggested above). I'll add Seqoia to the mix.
    posted by salvia at 4:37 PM on November 8, 2015

    Sterling, for what it connotes about value and character. Congrats!
    posted by carmicha at 7:40 PM on November 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

    Noble? Courage? Honor? All relating to your journey, of course!
    posted by Occula at 8:23 AM on November 9, 2015

    I feel like Heron would also make a pretty excellent name.
    posted by nebulawindphone at 9:14 AM on November 9, 2015

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