Wednesday, 9 June 2010

What's In A Name?

The issue about my name has started popping up given that I still have to use my legal name sometimes. For example next week at uni I am having my end of year show where it is all in my legal name and in my artist statement it has female pronouns used.

In the land of non-queer or non self-identifiable this is 'normal' I suppose. But there has been something bugging me under the surface about it all. I'm not Cleo Leng anymore. To some reading this or that I have discussed this with then this might be a bit confusing. To people who know me well they know there is a difference between who Cleo was and who Leng is now.

Part of me is dreading the show for a variety of reasons but one is that I am still stuck with my legal name which for things like this will have to remain intact. Also when I have my graduation ceremony it will also include my legal name.

Maybe I am being petty, but when I collect the award (will find out what I have got on Friday) and when I hang my work, I sort of feel like I am stepping backwards in time slightly as I feel that I am not Cleo anymore and I do feel as if I am impersonating something from what feels like a previous life.

I don't have too much of a problem right now with bills and bank statements coming in with my legal name as to me that is an admin thing, but things I feel that are me or that define me, well that does bother me.

In a way it is a good thing as it has given me the motivation to want to seriously start going about changing my name to Leng Montgomery. I will still have to remind people that I am no longer called Cleo and I can understand that it's hard at first but hopefully with a bit of time and patience people will start to get it. I know with some people who have known me over the years calling me by a different name will be confusing at first. I can empathise too especially people like my Mum for example who have known me as Cleo for the past 26 years. It isn't easy and it is confusing for some, especially people who don't get that some people change gender.

But being Leng is definitely who I am now and in many ways I find it much easier when I do meet new people as that is the name they will know me under from now on rather than what my old name was.

Still it will take time and I do have to realise that not everyone is going to understand, nor want to understand. I understand some people might have even happened to like my old name too - but that isn't the person I am now or the person I am growing into.

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