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Pregnant Woman Upsets Her Trans Cousin By Considering Using His Deadname For Her Baby

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Baby names, like weddings, seem to be mine fields filled with family conflicts and drama.

One Redditor found herself navigating turmoil over her chosen name for her daughter. So she turned to the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for feedback.

Redditor aitababycousonsam asked:

“AITA For using my cousin’s deadname for my baby?”

The Original Poster (OP) explained:

“Pretty simple. My cousin is transgender.”

“I was six when he was born, and my aunt let me pick his name. I’m not going to say what I picked, but it was a friend’s name at school that I really liked.”

“And I still love the name. When my cousin changed his name, I was a little upset, but decided it was life.”

“I’m currently pregnant with my own baby girl, after doctors told me I’d never have a baby. Everything seems to be going well, and the only name I can think about is that one.”

“I brought it up to my cousin first, obviously, and he was pretty upset by it, but ultimately said it was my choice. He did say, though, that he probably won’t want to be around my baby.”

“My girlfriend thinks that he’s being weird about it, and while I think it’s a little extreme, I don’t know what hearing his deadname will be like for him. I offered to spell it differently, but he doesn’t like that either.”

“He told his mum and she’s now trying to convince me to use a different name. She’s expressed that she would love for me to use the name, but it’s not fair.”

“We’ve tried coming up with new names, but nothing sticks. I’ve loved this name for nearly twenty years, and nothing else feels right.”

“So, would I be an asshole if I still went with it?”

“I’d appreciate judgement from other trans people.”

The OP later added:

“My girlfriend is trans! A few people think she’s entitled, she only said what she did because she’s coming from her own point of view.”

Redditors weighed in by declaring:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

Redditors decided OP should be concerned about more than who was the a**hole.

“A**hole or not, are you prepared to lose your cousin over a name?” ~ V0mitBucket

“Yeah, NAH, but she’s gonna lose her cousin.”

“It’s also not for your girlfriend to determine his reaction, it’s probably a bit of a hard situation for him.” ~ aftermidnightowl890

“Exactly. Your cousin will be hurt even if you’re not exactly an a**hole.”

“Are you sure you are willing to live with the consequences?” ~ tolkienphilosopher

“I mean, that’s why I’d switch it from no a**hole here to YTA. The cousin expressed that it would hurt them but OP still plans to go through with it.”

“When it’s something that you can avoid, choosing to do something you know will hurt someone is a**hole behavior.” ~ ClownPrinceofLime

“Yeah, OP, I don’t know if cousin is overreacting or not, but it does seem clear that if you pick this name it will be at the cost of your relationship with them perhaps forever.”

“Up to you to decide if that is how you want to live.” ~ whatchagonnadobedo

“Seems like a really weird line in the sand to draw. There are sooooo many names and only one relationship with cousin.” ~ Longjumping-Study-97

“I can understand the aunt’s reasoning here, even if it’s not really her place. What I don’t understand is why the aunt let a 6 year old name her kid for her.”

“Like, yes, maybe take a suggestion from your 6yo niece. If you like it, perhaps use it.”

“But putting the responsibility of naming your own child on another child? This isn’t a pet, this is a human.”

“A human that decided they didn’t want the name their cousin chose for them. So they chose another.”

“It may be an important name for OP, but it’s an important name NOT to use for OP’s cousin. And while it is totally OP’s right to name their child that particular name, it’s OP’s cousin’s right to not want to associate with them anymore for using a name that hurts them.”

“So I don’t know about a**hole territory, but I agree with the others saying that OP needs to weigh whether naming their child this particular name is worth losing their cousin. As well as deprive their child a relationship with their cousin.”

“If those relationships mean less than using the name would, they have their answer, but they’ll have to deal with the consequences.” ~ drakeotomy

“But here is the thing—OP asked her cousin if he would be ok with it and he said no. If she is going to go ahead and use it anyway why bother asking?”

“The problem is that by asking first and then ignoring her cousin’s feelings she is basically telling him that she only asked to look nice  but the moment his answer didn’t match what she was hoping for she is just going to ignore it and say that he is being weird about it.”

“Not very nice.” ~ lisavieta

“There’s a big difference between meeting a random person with the name and having a close family member with it.”

“If it’s triggering for the cousin then it’s triggering for him.”

“He’s not even the one saying not to use the name, just that he’d have to remove himself from the situation for his own well-being which is a completely reasonable response.” ~ postmortemmary

The OP asked to hear from other trans people, but they didn’t get the permission they sought there either.

“Consider for a moment that it’s not about the *name* per se, but the *action* being taken by the OP that’s at the crux of the issue.”

“Speaking for just my individual experiences as a trans person: it’s been over a decade since started transitioning and stopped using my given/dead name. A younger me, like a lot of other trans folks I know, had a period where hearing their former name at all, even in reference to others or out of context induced dysphoria.”

“Those names are so often deeply associated with painful memories, intense dysphoria, and experiences where people use that name *as a weapon* against you specifically to hurt you and invalidate you.”

“We aren’t ignorant of the fact that these are feelings we need to work through and live with in a healthy way, because for most people avoiding anyone who has that name is impossible. I’ve been trans long enough [poor phrasing but work with it] that my previous name doesn’t bother me in the abstract.”

“I went to school with people named it and I’ve had a very good working relationship with a co-worker with the same name. I’ve ‘dealt with’ my difficulties around that name about as well as you could hope!”

“However, if say my sister decided to name her child that one, very specific name, that would cause me to rethink a lot of things about our relationship.”

“It wouldn’t be about the *name*, the sound of it causing dysphoria or triggering me, but rather about the lack of care and consideration it would show that she has about me.”

“Out of the heaps and heaps of names out there in the world, the only one she wants is the singular name that’s associated with some of the worst times and experiences in my life?”

“I would wonder, and imagine the OP’s cousin is as well, are they trying to essentially ‘replace’ the [boy/girl] that they ‘lost’ when you transitioned? Some people genuinely do have that thought process and its extremely upsetting and disconcerting.”

“Rightly or wrongly, given how the OP mentions they were ‘a little upset’ when their cousin changed his name, I wonder if their cousin is feeling a bit like his dead name is being purposefully pushed back in his face.”

“A bit like ‘well if you don’t appreciate the name I chose for you I’ll give it to someone else who will and you’ll see how great it is’.”

“Sure I have no right to tell my sister ‘no you can’t name your child [Rhandir-Helekh’s deadname]’, but I’d have every right to take it as the sign it is about how much she cares about me and the way she thinks about my transition.”

“Just as if I decided to give a child a name that’s associated with some dark times in *her* life, i.e. after an abusive partner or someone who cheated on her.:

“Sure she couldn’t necessarily avoid people with those names in her life at large, but she’d be very right to reconsider how much I care about her as a person and how much I really want her in my life if I decided that having a child with that name was *that* important to me.”

“That kind of lack of compassion, in my opinion, would warrant some reconsidering and re-evaluating of the relationship you thought you had with someone.” ~ Rhandir-Helekh

The OP can name their child whatever they want, but they asked their cousin for permission.

If ‘no’ wasn’t an acceptable answer, why did they even ask?

Written by Amelia Mavis Christnot

Amelia Christnot is an Oglala Lakota, Kanien'kehá:ka Haudenosaunee and Metís Navy brat who settled in the wilds of Northern Maine. A member of the Indigenous Journalists Association, she considers herself another proud Maineiac.