How I Stopped Being 'Lindsay,' and Became 'Silas'

Silas Hansen writes about his journey

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 14, 2013 1:17 PM CDT
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(Newser) – Silas Hansen was called "Lindsay," the name his parents gave him when he was born a girl, for 24 years—but the name never felt like his. "When I look in the mirror, I don’t see a Lindsay. I never have," Hansen writes in a moving Slate piece about how he chose his new name. "I always felt like I was a fraud, like the name didn’t belong to me—it belonged to someone else, and I needed to give it back. I needed to get rid of it." Even so, when he settled on Silas, it was jarring to hear his friends actually call him that. At first, it made him wonder if he "was wrong about being transgender."

But eventually, as even his family got used to the new name (with his grandmother, ever bad with names, usually calling him "Cyrus" instead), it started to feel right to him. He had chosen the name, he writes, because it's quite popular in Denmark, and his dad is Danish. It means "man of the forest," which seemed to fit. And, as he started testosterone injections and legally changed his name, he found it fit in another way: The name doesn't sound overly masculine, and Hansen grew to appreciate the way it "borders on the land between masculine and feminine, the way I do," he writes. "I can carry that name with me as I learn how to be a man, learn to navigate this land of men’s bathrooms and facial hair and talking to girls as a straight man without losing sight of who I am, who I used to be." His entire essay is worth a read.

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