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If you have a question for Ms. Magnolia, please mail it to P.O. Box 669, Vidalia, GA 30475, or e-mail to [email protected]

Ms. Magnolia

Dear Ms. Magnolia, What does “deadname” mean? My great-nephew came down from Atlanta to visit his sister and said that he didn’t want to be “deadnamed” and wants to be called by his chosen name. I admit that I am from an older generation, and I just don’t quite get all this changing of names and pronouns. K

Dear K, “Deadname” means “the name that a transgender person was given at birth and no longer uses upon transitioning,” also called “birth name.” According to some psychologists, “using the individual’s chosen name and having their chosen pronouns respected by all of the people around them affirms what they are doing” so that they can “feel seen, accepted and respected.”

Article after article mentions suicide in relation to transgenders. Research has found that “transgender youths report having suicidal thoughts and attempting suicide at nearly twice the rate of their non-trans peers.” When transgenders are permitted to use their chosen names at work, school and home, “their risk of depression and suicide is lessened.” Transgender youth who are able to “change their name and/or gender marker on legal documents, such as driver’s licenses and birth certificates, reported lower

rates of attempting suicide.”

If transgenders are unhappy enough with themselves to want to change their total identities, and then want to commit suicide when they do, perhaps our culture should be looking deeper for the cause of their unhappiness. Gender at birth doesn’t seem to be the real cause. Perhaps soul-searching development of a belief system, faith, creed, dogma, or doctrine would help. We are not helping our children by keeping them from a faith-based philosophy.

Letters have been edited for length and clarity.

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