Help Name... Me!
May 26, 2016 2:59 PM   Subscribe

I am a trans person looking for a new name, and I am having the worst damn time coming up with something suitable. Difficulties within...

I'm looking for something that reads gender-neutral to masculine that would be appropriate for a person of European descent with the surname Lee. The last part's the kicker - it ruins so many names. I'd prefer something that isn't too cumbersome, but uncommonly used historical names with interesting nicknames are also cool. I'll also be using this name professionally so I'd also prefer something that won't raise eyebrows in a bad way.

So far I've come up with... Alex. It falls flat. Surely there's something better out there?
posted by anonymous to Grab Bag (88 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
Robin? Can be shortened to Rob?

Or perhaps Hart, like the poet Hart Crane.
posted by egeanin at 3:04 PM on May 26, 2016 [5 favorites]


Mac, short for Makenzie.
posted by answergrape at 3:04 PM on May 26, 2016


Taylor
posted by zutalors! at 3:06 PM on May 26, 2016 [2 favorites]


My first thought was Rowan followed closely by Camden (Cam is a good nickname). I like the two-syllables + Lee combination.
posted by kariebookish at 3:08 PM on May 26, 2016 [2 favorites]


Emerson

Ryan

Jordan

Drew
posted by mogget at 3:10 PM on May 26, 2016


Sylvan. Hunter. Tristan.
posted by fingersandtoes at 3:10 PM on May 26, 2016 [3 favorites]


Morgan, Logan, Adrian, Elliott. In general, I think names with more than one syllable (and no very common one-syllable nicknames) will help you avoid things that sound punny or repetitive with "Lee"
posted by Krom Tatman at 3:10 PM on May 26, 2016 [2 favorites]


I like Alex Lee. Reads very modern, but definitive. Not sure how to explain..... But concise... Just an Internet strangers opinion.
posted by pearlybob at 3:11 PM on May 26, 2016 [26 favorites]


Devon? Tyler? Beckett (Beck)? Agree that two syllables will probably sound best.
posted by stellaluna at 3:11 PM on May 26, 2016 [3 favorites]


I think three syllables works best, where the last syllable is unstressed (or not highly stressed) and no final repetition of the sounds in Lee. Here are some which meet those criteria.

Benjamin
Cameron (two syllables for some)
Dominic
Jonathan
Julian
Oliver
Sebastian (sometimes four syllables, but hey)
posted by Emma May Smith at 3:16 PM on May 26, 2016 [8 favorites]


Harper. I think it goes well with Lee. Though it would give you the same name as the author of To Kill A Mocking Bird.

Found it via Top 20 Gender-Neutral Names of 2012.
posted by Michele in California at 3:17 PM on May 26, 2016


Ellis?
posted by showbiz_liz at 3:17 PM on May 26, 2016 [4 favorites]


Casey
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 3:18 PM on May 26, 2016


Cameron is a good one too.
posted by showbiz_liz at 3:18 PM on May 26, 2016 [1 favorite]


Wait, can you clarify "gender-neutral to masculine"? Do you mean gender-neutral or masculine? Or somewhere between neutral and masculine?
posted by Emma May Smith at 3:19 PM on May 26, 2016


This name has fallen out of favor since GenX - I had multiple male and female classmates and family members with it - but I have always like Shannon.
posted by Lyn Never at 3:20 PM on May 26, 2016 [2 favorites]


Of those already named: Cameron, Julian, Sebastian, Casey.

I also like August.
posted by RaRa-SpaceRobot at 3:21 PM on May 26, 2016


I met a kid named Kepler yesterday. I think that would make a great gender-neutral-to-masc name.
posted by matildaben at 3:22 PM on May 26, 2016 [9 favorites]


I think Jesse Lee has a nice ring to it.

But I also think Alex is great too.

Write your top names and put them up on the mirror so when you get ready you can look at them. One will jump out to you and feel right - or you'll pick something else.
posted by Crystalinne at 3:25 PM on May 26, 2016 [2 favorites]


I have had both male and female students with the lovely name Avery.
posted by Dashy at 3:25 PM on May 26, 2016 [13 favorites]


Can you message a mod to elaborate on what you feel is so ruinous about your last name? Maybe give us a few examples of "___ Lee" that you feel sound terrible? Maybe I'm biased because I have a ton of relatives with that last name but I think it works with a lot of first names.
posted by acidic at 3:27 PM on May 26, 2016 [2 favorites]


Arlo ? Dash? Marlowe? Max? Topher? Justice?
posted by taff at 3:30 PM on May 26, 2016 [1 favorite]


Evelyn?
posted by HandfulOfDust at 3:32 PM on May 26, 2016


Dunno where you live but a few of these I've only heard women use in Australia.
posted by taff at 3:37 PM on May 26, 2016 [2 favorites]


Harrison.
posted by argonauta at 3:37 PM on May 26, 2016


Jamison
posted by Mchelly at 3:39 PM on May 26, 2016 [1 favorite]


Barlow. Hudson.
posted by Sassyfras at 3:39 PM on May 26, 2016 [1 favorite]


what about something that tells people a bit about your spirit.
For example, Skylar comes from Scholar. Can also be spelled Schulyer.

I like Alex. Sasha is a short form of Alexander. Alexander Lee. Sasha Lee. Good name.
posted by chapps at 3:41 PM on May 26, 2016 [4 favorites]


A vote for Avery or Casey.
posted by nkknkk at 3:41 PM on May 26, 2016


I like Justice too. There's a great Howard Zinn story about voting rights protests, when he's waiting to be processed by police and a young black kid in front of him in line is asked his name and proclaims very loudly, "My name is Justice". I always tear up a bit.
posted by chapps at 3:42 PM on May 26, 2016


Sam
posted by sammyo at 3:44 PM on May 26, 2016


From scouring some lists of historical/historically-tinged names and picking out the cool gender-neutral-ish-but-masculine-leaning ones that sound all right with "Lee":
Avery
Sayer
Hollis
Jordan
Rubin
Maddox
Benton
Vester
Adrian
Griffin
posted by babelfish at 3:47 PM on May 26, 2016 [1 favorite]


Rowan Lee works nicely.
posted by MonkeyToes at 3:48 PM on May 26, 2016 [1 favorite]


Myles
Sergio
Cyrus
Jasper
Clark
Caleb

If you like alliteration:
Lachlan
Lance
Leonard(o)
Landon
Louis
Lucas
Langston

Poke around with spelling variations. Maybe you'll find that you're not a Casper but definitely a Kasper.
posted by meemzi at 3:50 PM on May 26, 2016 [1 favorite]


How do you feel about James? I have met several girl Jameses, so I think it's a name that is nominally male but not as male as all that.

Julian is a great name.

If you're of European descent, what about some traditional "folk" names from your region? I'm substantially Swedish, for instance, so when I can finally change my name, I'm going to go with something of the Aylwin-ish variety. If it's regional enough, most Americans won't have any idea what gender it's supposed to belong to. Boy Aylwin? Girl Aylwin? Genderqueer Aylwin? No one here even begins to know!

August is getting a bit trendy in my circles - I know a couple of 'em. I like it, but it does turn into "Augustly" if that's something that worries you with the Lee bit.
posted by Frowner at 3:51 PM on May 26, 2016 [1 favorite]


Francis? Although this might get shortened to Frank.
posted by carter at 3:53 PM on May 26, 2016


It depends how old you are. If you're 60 something like Brayden is going to be utterly ridiculous, but if you're 20 you probably don't want to be a Herman. Instead of looking at common (baby) names for today, I'd suggest looking at the lists from around the year you were born. I suspect your name choice can even affect how people read your age.
posted by fritley at 4:00 PM on May 26, 2016 [23 favorites]


Avery is the name of the teenage boy who mows my lawn. His sister is Evan. I think both of those names work well with Lee. Nicknames Av and Ev.
posted by cairnoflore at 4:06 PM on May 26, 2016


Ooh, if you're in the US or a suitably similar place, check out the Popular Baby Names search on the social security site. Alex peaked around 1995, so that would make you read as around 21 years old. (Herman reads as 112 years old...)
posted by fritley at 4:08 PM on May 26, 2016 [2 favorites]


Kelly
Jordan
Taylor
Robin

These are names that I know of as pertaining to actual adult people I know of different genders, and don't turn into adverbs with the surname Lee.
posted by vunder at 4:09 PM on May 26, 2016


Are there any surnames from your family that work as first names? Flannery O'Connor used her middle name because she thought "Mary O'Connor" sounded like an Irish washerwoman. I believe Flannery was a family surname.

I saw Phoenix on a list of gender-neutral names and thought it might be cool because of its connotations of rebirth.

Are there historical figures you particularly admire?
posted by FencingGal at 4:11 PM on May 26, 2016 [7 favorites]


Carson
Reese
Holland
Sage
Skyler
Peyton/Payton
Jordan
Taylor
Sidney/Sydney
Avery
Dakota
Kennedy
Devin
Casey
Quinn
posted by erst at 4:16 PM on May 26, 2016 [1 favorite]


Also:
Carey
Blake
posted by vunder at 4:17 PM on May 26, 2016


So, this is the site I used to find my name.
Behind The Name. It has an amazingly robust search engine that you can use to filter results in incredible detail. Honestly, finding the perfect name was exactly what I needed to finally feel empowered to transition.

Here is an example of an advanced search where I filtered it down to masculine or unisex names of european origin that were popular between 1980 and 1999 (since I didn't know your age). You can also filter it by first letter, number of syllables, length, sound and pattern (which are amazingly powerful if for example you know you'd like to end on a consonant, or you would like the second letter to be a certain vowel, and much much more). So have a look through the advanced search options. Then, each name listing has meaning, pronunciations, namesakes, origins, related names, popularity, and even ratings where people vote on their first impression of the name.
So I went through and wrote down names I liked, then I sort of pit them against each other to narrow it down. I tried a few out IRL and found my name, Hana.

...which was what I was supposed to be named anyway...
posted by Flower Grower at 4:20 PM on May 26, 2016 [13 favorites]


August is a great name and I've known both men and women with it. Julian, Avery, and Justice sound lovely with Lee as well.

some other possibilities that I don't think have been mentioned yet:

Arden (may be trending more feminine in recent decades though)
Riley
Emerson
Noel
Dawson
Sawyer
Everett

if you like Alex but want more syllables, Alexis is also nice--probably coded more feminine in the US these days, but in European/international contexts I think it's still more likely to be a male name.
posted by karayel at 4:22 PM on May 26, 2016 [1 favorite]


Tucker
posted by i_am_a_fiesta at 4:25 PM on May 26, 2016


I agree that you should go for something from the time you were born, if your goal is to blend in. For example, I come from the time of Jennifer, Jason, Heather, Lisa and Chris. Someone named Blake would seem 10 years younger than me and someone named Dylan would seem 10 years younger than that.
posted by Chaussette and the Pussy Cats at 4:27 PM on May 26, 2016 [1 favorite]


I vote for Tristan. Tristan Lee sounds and looks, really nice.
posted by WalkerWestridge at 4:34 PM on May 26, 2016 [4 favorites]


Adding Spencer; liking very much Julian (Jules/Jools is a great nick!) and Peyton.
posted by mal de coucou at 4:35 PM on May 26, 2016 [2 favorites]


Shaun
Micah
Kestrel
Aidan
Juniper
Moss
Orison
Forest (not sure how well that goes with Lee, but YMMV)
Rowan
Xander
Orion
Madigan
Tobin
Stefan
Spencer/Spenser
Mallory
Rory
Quillan
Peregrine
Pippin
Alwyn/Elwyn
Parker
Marion
Nick
Oswin
Elliott/Eliot
Dylan
Corwin/Corwyn

Various state/place/river/mountain/month/day names, if there are any that are meaningful to you

If you do want to choose a name that fits your generation, Baby Name Wizard's Voyager is useful.
posted by wintersweet at 4:36 PM on May 26, 2016 [3 favorites]


Dorian.
posted by feral_goldfish at 4:37 PM on May 26, 2016 [2 favorites]


How about Sacha? It is male, mostly in Europe, and sounds great with Lee!

Sacha Lee.
posted by djinn dandy at 4:38 PM on May 26, 2016


I don't know if you're Vyvyan Lee, but they sound like a lot of fun.
posted by Sara C. at 5:22 PM on May 26, 2016


Hadrian or Adrian.

And, to my ear, rather than Alex Lee, just Lex Lee.
posted by bricoleur at 5:39 PM on May 26, 2016 [1 favorite]


Because it's too hot to do anything else, I went through that entire list of unisex names on Behind the Name and said each likely candidate aloud, followed by 'Lee.'

Based on this rigorous testing, I believe the most purely euphonious name to be:

Hayden Lee.

That said, if you are willing to go more distinctively masculine (but with a more gender neutral nickname), I am also a very strong fan of:

Victor Lee.

I hope you let us know what you decide!
posted by pretentious illiterate at 5:39 PM on May 26, 2016 [2 favorites]


Stacey
posted by Kalmya at 6:16 PM on May 26, 2016


These are my faves:
Nathan
Simon
Michel
Rene
Bram
Isaac
posted by It'sANewDawn at 6:26 PM on May 26, 2016 [1 favorite]


Rory ?
posted by honey-barbara at 6:30 PM on May 26, 2016 [1 favorite]


Jamie
Madison
Micah
Daniel
Aaron
posted by mareli at 6:31 PM on May 26, 2016 [1 favorite]


Oh yes, I came to say, "Madison"' which the previous commenter mentioned. You could be Mad Lee to your closest friends!
posted by missmobtown at 7:05 PM on May 26, 2016


Marin
Orlando
Sterling
posted by bighappyhairydog at 7:12 PM on May 26, 2016


Quincy
posted by Narrative Priorities at 7:18 PM on May 26, 2016


Blair.
posted by kmennie at 8:07 PM on May 26, 2016


I like Alex too. Thinking of Alexander brought me to Zander/Xander which I've always considered a very cool name and I think could be gender neutral.
How about Logan? A boy's name I suppose, but I've met a few girls named Logan as well. Logan Lee sounds like a super hero.
But really, I came to suggest Jamie. I see mareli beat me to it, and then I also remembered Jamie Lee Curtis. Is that a deal breaker?
How about Kelly? I think Kelly is a lovely name due for a come back.
posted by areaperson at 8:12 PM on May 26, 2016


I think Hart Lee sounds amazing.
posted by snorkmaiden at 8:18 PM on May 26, 2016 [1 favorite]


So far, nobody's mentioned: Dana
(pronounced DAY-na)
I've liked it for myself, although I would probably choose to write it Dayna as well, as that looks more feminine in the written form, but it doesn't change the pronunciation.
posted by itsflyable at 8:27 PM on May 26, 2016


Archer
Edison
Dalton
Kelly
Mercer
posted by jamjam at 8:40 PM on May 26, 2016


Who are some men you admire, think of as heroes?
posted by theora55 at 8:42 PM on May 26, 2016


Someone above said Jasper. I think it fits nicely in that neutral-to-masculine space.
posted by roll truck roll at 11:06 PM on May 26, 2016 [1 favorite]


My 0.02 €:
of the names above, listed below are most of the ones that sound most plausibly 'European' (let's just pretend for a moment that that is a thing) to my Dutch ears. Most of the others sound distinctly US-American to me. Names that end in -er (Hunter, Harper, Parker and so on) sound very US-American, as do topographical names and names that sound like last names (Harrison, Mackenzie). Sacha, Marion, Mallory and Evelyn are distinctly female sounding to me.
(British falls under European so I've included those, too.)

Robin
Ryan
Jordan
Adrian
Elliott
Alex
Benjamin
Cameron
Dominic
Jonathan
Julian
Oliver
Sebastian
Avery
Max
Sergio
Jasper
Leonard(o)
Louis
Lucas
Francis
Spencer
Stefan
Dorian
Nathan
Simon
Michel
Rene
Bram
Isaac
Daniel
Aaron
Quincy
Xander
posted by Too-Ticky at 12:58 AM on May 27, 2016 [2 favorites]


By the way, your location is relevant here. Just the continent would probably be enough.
Whether names are interpreted as masculine or feminine differs a lot, depending on rough location.
posted by Too-Ticky at 1:44 AM on May 27, 2016


When my parents named me, they each made a list of their favourite guy names, and then each crossed names off the other person's list who reminded them of somebody they didn't like when growing up.

You are giving yourself a name, so you can't use this approach, but if you're completely stuck, maybe you can have a close friend or two give you a list of names to pick from. If the same name appears on multiple lists, and you like it, it might work for you.
posted by tallmiddleagedgeek at 5:47 AM on May 27, 2016


From the OP:
I'm non-binary but I find that I trend more masculine in my daily expression, hence wanting neutral-to-masculine names. I'm in my mid-30s in the US. And the problem with the surname "Lee" is that everything is an adverb - it's like adding -ly to whichever name precedes it when spoken. Urgh.

That said there are some excellent options so far - thank you everyone, it's been extremely helpful.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane (staff) at 6:27 AM on May 27, 2016


Kerrie
Ash
Robin
Jamie
Chris
Lindsay
Steff
Hero
Casey
Dylan
Hunter
Jude
Taylor
posted by h00py at 6:55 AM on May 27, 2016


My only suggestion is that, should you start really liking a name, Google it, along with the word "porn" to see if it's associated with a porn star. (Not that that should stop you from using it, but it strikes me as the sort of thing you'd want to know up front.)
posted by kimota at 7:03 AM on May 27, 2016


Kendall
Piper
Perry
Morgan
posted by carmicha at 8:22 AM on May 27, 2016


Grant.

Jack.

Eric.
posted by Sockpuppets 'R' Us at 9:04 AM on May 27, 2016


Oh with the extra information this is easy. 35, neutral-to-masculine: you're a Chris, like about half of the 35 year olds in the US.
posted by fritley at 9:30 AM on May 27, 2016 [1 favorite]


Among the names mentioned so far, the ones I like most (and that seem neutral-to-masculine, realistic for someone born in the early '80s, and sound good with Lee) are:

Julian
Avery
Jude
Elliott
Adrian (this spelling is more neutral/masculine; Adrienne is more femme)
Everett
Alex
Dylan
Jasper
Robin
Ellis

I might also suggest Brett.

It's a good idea to check the baby name charts for around the time you were born, but also current ones. Names like Jayden, Hayden, and Peyton are fairly gender-neutral, but they're also very common for people under 15. And Madison might seem gender-neutral to adults without kids, but it's been a super-popular girls' name for the past 20 or so years.

Good luck!
posted by lisa g at 11:16 AM on May 27, 2016 [1 favorite]


What lisa g said about checking baby names from when you were born. That's what I did (I'm a trans guy by the name of Kevin, born in the 70s).

I'd also check trans guy groups on Facebook (memail me if you don't know any) because some names are so common that you may want to avoid them (Skylar, Connor, Tristan, permutations of Alexander).

I'd also think about how you want to be read and what pronouns you want strangers to default to - most people are going to put you in a male or female box. If you want to be read as male/masculine and be called he/him by strangers, it's going to be a lot harder with a gender neutral name*, which is why I picked something unambiguous. This is totally up to you and something you may not care about at all.

*unless you have a beard.
posted by AFABulous at 11:50 AM on May 27, 2016 [2 favorites]


It's also nice to have a name that everyone can say and spell instantly. It's okay to be unique! But it is mighty convenient to never have confusion over "Kevin."
posted by AFABulous at 11:55 AM on May 27, 2016 [2 favorites]


A few more: Jonah, Judah, and Ronan.

AFABulous' comment about ease of spelling and pronunciation is also good. Since you mentioned wanting your name to look professional, I'd pick the most common spelling of whatever name you go with - Zane instead of Zayne, for example. (A feature of some current baby names is that they can be spelled many different ways – Jaden, Jaiden, Jayden, Jadyn – so using a creative spelling might make a name seem younger than you'd want it to.)
posted by lisa g at 12:01 PM on May 27, 2016


Problematic but I haven't seen Ainsley proposed, but then Ainsley Lee doesn't really roll off the tongue, but Ains Lee, er...
posted by porpoise at 12:17 PM on May 27, 2016


I think Michael is a great gender neutral name.
posted by Annika Cicada at 1:08 PM on May 27, 2016


Robin
August
Julian
Cameron

And I like Alex too!
posted by exquisite_deluxe at 1:40 PM on May 27, 2016


What about Shawn? It fits within your age range and while it is classically a male name, I have met a few women named Shawn or Sean. (And I knew a Shawna who preferred to go by Shawn).
There's also Erin or Aaron. I think both Shawn or Aaron Lee sound nice together.

*I like Chris too, but you should be aware of the "It's Pat" reference from SNL. Pat had a partner named Chris.
posted by areaperson at 4:43 PM on May 27, 2016


Advent

Ellington

Adrian
posted by Jacen at 10:18 PM on May 27, 2016


Sean / Shawn
Nico?
Joan / Jeanne
Charles / Charlie
Chris / Christian
Samuel?
Frankie
Quinn
Murphy
Morgan

!totes luhh the name Lee! especially because of its meaning.
posted by speakeasy at 12:41 PM on May 28, 2016


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