Friday, May 4, 2012

Name change.

I'm changing my name!  Yep!  I shall henceforth be known as Cliff Pervocracy.

Details:
a) I'm still going primarily by "Holly" in real life, but I'll answer to "Cliff."
b) My pronoun is still "she."
c) No big deal if you call me "Holly" from time to time. I realize this is an abrupt change, that not everybody reads every post, and I won't be upset or anything.  I expect to be "Holly/Cliff" for a while and that's okay.


Reasons:
a) Anonymity.  "Holly Pervocracy" is too close to my real name (my real name is "Hailey Bervocracy") and I've had some privacy scares recently.  A new name will help maintain the division between my real life and my work/school/family life.

b) Gender, part 1: Holly is a rather unambiguously feminine name, and I am a rather ambiguously feminine person.  I'm more comfortable with a masculine/neutral name.

c) Gender, part 2: I'm curious if my treatment on the Internet will change what I appear male to the casual viewer.  I've heard a lot of stories about women being engaged in discussion when they posted as "X" but treated with condescension or cynicism when they posted as "LadyX," and I'm curious if I'll have experiences mirroring that.

d) Maybe it'll stop skeevy dudes from thinking this blog is a personal ad.  NO I DO NOT WISH TO SEE YOUR PENIS SIR NO THANK YOU.

e) I like the idea of a chosen name.  In my despotic utopian fantasies, everyone would have to change their name (or consciously and explicitly choose to keep their birth name) upon reaching adulthood.  (Or better yet, every ten years.  This would result in a lot of middle-schoolers named Rocketship Dinosaur McExplosion and that's awesome.)  It's such a big and important part of your identity, it seems odd to just go with whatever you were handed.

Especially with what you were handed as a baby, when your parents couldn't know the sort of person you'd grow up to be.  Certain names fit certain sorts of people, and it's hard to predict that fit from a newborn.  "Cliff" is a name that's tough but dorky, macho-outdoorsy until you remember it's short for "Clifford," and that seems to fit me far better than "Holly."



f) The big one: I want to.

I've been having issues with wanting things lately.  Something in my brain, part from my family and part from society and maybe part just me, tells me that simply wanting a thing isn't a good enough reason to do it.  It tells me that wanting is inherently selfish and unbecoming, that wants must always be placed below all other considerations.  I can do a thing because it's healthy, because it's feminist, because it makes other people happy, because it's educational.  I can't do it just because I want to.

(This has not made me a beautifully selfless and giving person.  More "neurotic and passive.")

Honoring our own desires is not something we're taught to do.  It's assumed that kids are balls of cheerfully self-indulgent id already, that all you have to be taught is how not to eat everything and hump everything and name yourself Rocketship.  The lesson on "actually, indulging yourself in safe and considerate ways is not just okay but necessary" never really comes.

So it's something I'm learning as an adult.  I'm learning that eating delicious things makes me healthier than diet-and-shameful-binge cycles.  I'm learning that asking for sex doesn't always get me laid but it has a much better track record than not asking for sex.  I'm learning that when I have the time and money I'm allowed to go out and do silly things.  (Did you know Boston has a trampoline park?!)  I'm learning that well-considered self-indulgence is not half as annoying or gross or immature as allowing yourself to turn into a big bitter ball of frustrated desires.

I've wanted for months to start using this new name, and my "Wanting Isn't Good Enough" brain kept digging up objections.  It'll be inconvenient for people!  It'll be confusing!  It'd be okay to change to a masculine name if you were trans but since you're not then you're not allowed! It's frivolous!  It's self-indulgent.

Damn skippy it's self-indulgent.  It brings me happiness and does nothing else for the world, and that's okay, because bringing me happiness is something real and important.

So call me Cliff.  It'll make me happy. :)

115 comments:

  1. Good for you, Cliff. A woman I know changed her name to Sidney (from something I literally can't remember since I only knew her by it for a short time) because her more feminine given name was a barrier to her career as a sports writer. Turns out people take you seriously when you talk about sports if you are a dude or gender-ambiguous, but as a lady not so much! Go figure. Glad you are giving yourself a little bit of happiness, for whatever reason.

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    1. Also, S.E. Hinton!

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  2. Let me be the first commenter(?) to say Hello Cliff!

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  3. Cliff, I think this was an awesome decision made for excellent reasons. :-)

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  4. I protest! Rocketship Dinosaur McExplosion is an elementary school kid's name. Middle school kids (whom I teach) would end up being something like Twinkie or Deelo. Trust me on this one. :)

    I changed my name when I was 5, and legally changed it when I was 17. I agree that people should be called whatever they want to be called, even if it's Twinkie or whatever.

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    1. It's absurd how hard and expensive it can be in some places for people to change their legal names. Typically, people changing their names for reasons other than marriage are treated with suspicion and their motives are questioned and judged.

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  5. You should probably change the "Posted by" at the end of your posts...which still says Holly.

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  6. Replies
    1. Also over on the top right over there it says, "Contact Holly."

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  7. Ohhhhh. I read something referring to you as Cliff Pervocracy earlier today and was mildly confused. This explains it! (I think it was on Manboobz)

    I, too, have struggled with doing things simply because I want to. I think a lot of people do, but especially those born with girl parts. So good one on you. Also, Cliff is a nice name.

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  8. Welcome, Cliff! We're one step closer to Dudetopia.

    A lot of what you wrote here resonates with me. Mostly, though, I think it would be fun to sit around with friends and say, "You think that's bad? My name used to be Zaxxar Lazerclaw!"

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    1. I know, right? I think it also teaches some good lessons about the freedom to make mistakes.

      So you were Zaxxar Lazerclaw, so what? Once you realized that was a silly name you changed it. No harm done, or at worst, only a finite amount of harm done. You aren't Forever Ruined, you can always change your name again.

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    2. Oh my goodness, yes! I hate the mindset of, "Well, if we give people the freedom to do things they want to do, what will happen when their wants change?" If you're allowed to do what you want, you are not then stuck with that choice once you no longer want it.

      Actual thing that happened: I told someone that the (all girls') school I work at should have a policy of calling students by the pronouns they prefer. They responded by saying that that wouldn't work because a student might want to be referred to by masculine pronouns for a while, but then later prefer the feminine ones. I stopped the conversation there because I didn't feel I could explain that flaw in a way they could understand.

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    3. @Copcher

      I don't know about your school, but the one I had the great misfortune of attending had great difficulty understanding that a female student with female parts could want to do things that are not feminine, and that it wasn't as simple as "fake it for 30 hours a week". I think that trans and genderqueer students would have caused the human equivalent of the Blue Screen of Death.

      @Cliff: You has an awesome name. :D

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    4. @Cliff

      "You aren't Forever Ruined"... that is of course, unless you change your name to Forever Ruined ;)

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  9. It's interesting to me how many people never got taught that very important lesson - if it's something you want, and it's not going to put you in an unstable financial situation, or cause you unwanted harm, or anything like that....go for it. If you want to eat the ice cream on occasion, you should. If you want to take a nap, and there's nothing pressing to do, you should. Being constantly in a state of self denial is so incredibly bad for us as human beings. So good for you Cliff! (I have to admit, I will probably picture you as a big red dog on occasion. In a totally awesome way.)

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  10. Good for you, Cliff! I don't think I could ever do that, honestly. Mostly because if I weren't called by my (current) name, I have no idea what I would choose.

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  11. Will you be annoyed if I call you Cliffy? It just flows better with "Pervocracy".

    Also congratulations and that - I must admit it will be interesting to read about how this goes for you. You're right about choosing names, too. It's quite odd that we seldom change them,w hen we change just about everything else constantly.

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  12. I answer to Iron. Its hard not to eff up at work.

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  13. Now I will always picture you as a know-it-all mail carrier with a beer in hand, you know... :P

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  14. I'm going to have a little difficulty keeping this clear in my head, and I'm going to have to change my habit of referring to The Pervocracy as "Holly's blog" in my social circles, but that's all my problem.

    I hope your new name brings you happiness, Cliff.

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  15. Okay, Cliff it is. And yay for self-indulgence. I just spent almost fifty bucks on toys myself, so I am so there.

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  16. Nice! Way to go, Cliff! Self indulgence is one of those things I'm also slowly learning, but it's all the more fun for how little I've indulged in the past. So good luck and have fun trying out your new name :D

    But more importantly Boston trampoline park?!?! Holy crap why have I never known about this?!

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  17. If leaving the Holly identity (or name?) behind means leaving the blog behind I will be sad.

    Other than that, congratulations! Or, good luck! Or, whatever form of felicitations is appropriate!

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  18. I don't comment often, but I just wanted to say that this is really awesome. I'm working on recognizing and acting on wants as well. It's such a powerful thing that we are often taught to actively shut down. Rock it, Cliff!

    Also, a fun anecdote on the name Clifford: I study archaeology/anthropology, and both my partner and I refer to Clifford Geertz as Cliffy G. It makes me giggle.

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  19. I love this post in the worst way! I love being able to choose your name, and I love being okay with self-indulgence.

    What a great post.

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  20. "macho-outdoorsy until you remember it's short for 'Clifford'"

    That is probably the best thing I have heard anyone say about a name, ever.

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  21. My child, on learning one of my considered options for a birthname, at once added the name as a "secret middle name". I"m cool with that, having wanted to do the same with my own name at the same age (and wanted to use the (unconventional, but meaningful) name, but succumbed to pressure from family, which was very silly of me). I explained that it can be added legally. What do I care? I gave the current name before I knew the kid, and before the kid had a chance to weigh in on the matter.

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  22. This was something explored in the future-time of "Woman on the edge of time" by Marge Piercy. People were given a name, which they kept until they were 12, then they went off for some time without their parents, then they had a new name, and generally changed it every so often before finally settling on one after a few years. Sounds like a good plan to me.

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    1. I was totally gonna mention that book, but you beat me to it. It is awesome.

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    2. Also Ursula K. LeGuin's "Always Coming Home", people changed their name for major life changes.

      It's amazing how changing your name just because you feel like it is OMG awful scary can't expect people to do it! But changing your name because you got married/divorced is totes normal and everyone should instantly comply and respect your wishes.

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  23. You go, Cliff. I changed my name from Elizabeth to Eli about 6 years ago for about the same reasons, even though I didn't have the words for genderqueer or whatever. I'm cisgendered, but I just...felt like I had a bigger identity than the vagina-shaped pigeonhole a girly name and a very girly body put me in. Also I absolutely loved George Fayne from the Nancy Drew books when I was little. :) Good luck!

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  24. Sounds like an awesome idea. In fact, writers and other artist people do this sort of thing all the time. Why shouldn't you, if that is what *you* want? I will do my best to, when pointing people to your blog, remember that your preferred moniker is Cliff. :D

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  25. I was wondering why you were Cliff Pervocracy over at Manboobz: I thought it was a commentary on that Reddit thing. Thanks for the explanation! And henceforth, you shall be referred to by me as Cliff (I know we've never talked, but I point people at your blog with some regularity). Kudos to you.

    -Kyn
    (who wasn't born "Kyn" but doesn't want to be called anything else)

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  26. Go Cliff go!!

    Don't forget to change the section on the right side of your blog screen that currently says "Contact Holly" :)

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  27. A couple of times I wound up doing this really shitty gig which involved spending pretty much two straight weeks in a strip mall in a posh suburb. While I was there my policy was that whatever I wanted, I could have. Did I want to drink coffee spiked with.Bailey's all day? Sure! Did I want to eat nothing but ice cream for lunch? Why not? Did I want to spend $20 on celebrity gossip magazines even though I find them just as morally repugnant as I do entertaining? Go for it!

    Of course, these little indulgences were a cover for the big thing I wanted that I wasn't letting myself have, namely getting the hell out of there and never going back. But eventually I was able to do just that, and letting myself have those little rebellions was a big part of that.

    Anyway, TL/DR, congrats on owning your desire. Hugs, etc.

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  28. The funny thing is that I tend to pick up different names depending on the groups I'm in. When I started with EBBS back over twenty years ago, I was Altair. I shifted to other names, depending on availability and whim, so people know me as Altair, Vermilion, Shimmer, and Flames. Helps me in a way, since then I know who is who. "Vermilion? Ah, that was back with Nightstar, right..."

    Nice to meet you, Cliff. Of course, I've got a buddy from the SCP Foundation in my circles, and his name there is Clef, but I'm pretty sure I won't confuse the two of you.

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  29. Hi, Cliff! It is good to re-meet you. I'm Rubin, having very recently deprecated my legal first name, Sarah, and also having indicated my birth pronouns as also deprecated. Rubin is my chosen/desired family name, and I'm still looking for a first/personal name that feels natural and comfortable to me. I'm not actually sure if I'm transitioning and I'm not binding/presenting ambiguously very often, so I'm still carrying a lot of cis privilege, but this feels like a good and right step for me to take. Also, very much seconding the idea of doing what makes one happy.

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  30. I think Cliff is a great name :). I look forward to hearing about how your experiences change as your views of yourself change, and as others perhaps treat you differently.

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  31. Hello Cliff!

    I'm really happy for you, and I think I understand where you're coming from. I've been dealing with similar gender stuff and just having online pseudonyms is kind of a stress relief, for very similar reasons to the ones you listed. I'll do my best to refer to you by your chosen name. :)

    (also, my middle school name would have totally been Dragon. No shame.)

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  32. Yay! I thoroughly approve of chosen names.

    Especially gender-ambiguous ones. Having been born with one, I've since chosen another. And by coincidence my partner also has a gender-ambiguous name. If nothing else it makes bills and junk mail amusing - which titles will they pick (they never choose "master" despite both of us having master's degrees).

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  33. Heya, Cliff. If it makes you happy, roll with it. *high-fives*

    Personally, my given name is a fairly unusual one. I've never had a nickname or gone by any other name, even online. I think that's because the name is so unusual, I've generally been the one to define it for other people, most of whom have never met an Anissa before. I can't quite wrap my brain around answering to anything else.

    My girlfriend was (coincidentally) named Holly, which doesn't suit her either. She's gone by Lois since she was 13 years old, and everyone except her family calls her that. She won't legally change the name, though, because it would upset her mom. :/

    ~Anissa

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  34. Hi Cliff!

    Name changes are super exciting and I'm glad you got the chance to find something new and fun for yourself. I agree with your idea of changing names from what your parents named you - they had no idea what we're were going to grow up to be when we're still squishy babies. I'm now at about a year and a half after changing my name to something more genderqueer and I'm still very happy I did so. It's almost a way to take back my identity from my rather emotionally abusive parents and move through the world on my own terms.

    Wishing you the best!
    ~quzzicallyqueer

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  35. I shall now mentally play the Rocketeer theme every time I click over to read your posts.

    And I, for one, think this is awesome.

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  36. I love this post, and all of the thought processes that went into it <3

    A few years back I made a conscious decision to stop using my very feminine first name, insisting that everyone use my very gender-ambiguous middle name. No real reason, other than that my first name had never, ever fit me or felt comfortable (despite the fact that I am relatively comfortable in my female body). Luckily I have the kind of family who tried to indulge me even when, in elementary school, I continually changed my name to things like 'Thor' and 'Laserbeam'(seriously! they were awesome about it :D ). The change made a surprisingly large impact on the way I deal with myself and my life and the people I meet - being called by the name of the person I wanted to be really made it a lot easier to just be that person. I hope you derive as much pleasure from the change as did I, both on the tiny personal scale of "I did what I wanted, just for me!" and the larger scale of how other people may choose to interact with you.

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  37. Woohoo! I am geeked for you that you're taking this step in self-definition! Cliff is a great name, and I think it fits you well.

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  38. Good for you!

    I like how every time I read one of your posts, I learn something about the world and my view of it, and how my view may not always be the correct one. So that's great! Thank you for expanding my mind!

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  39. Hey Cliff! I'm happy for you since doing something self indulgent is more important than society lets us believe. I decided long ago that I would name my kids something gender neutral, just to confuse the crap out of people who hadn't met them. Congrats on your new name! :-)

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  40. Hi Cliff, and may I say that that's a beautiful name :) Good for you!

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  41. My name in RL is not Karalyn but I've been using it online for the last... um, well since "online" was a thing, so 14-15 years now. I've always felt it suited be better than the name I was given, but I'm happy using it just online. And I'm

    One of the things I found cool about the BDSM community was the "you want to be called Z? Ok, we'll call you Z"

    So more power to you.

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  42. Congratulations on your new name!

    Choosing my new name (and being called by it when it was safe) is a highly powerful experience for me as I begin the long process of gender transition. My birth name is a tool, something I use for purely utilitarian purposes. My new name is one that affirms me as a person, and very special :).

    Transitioning is the most selfish thing I've done in my life, and it's going to affect a lot of people, but hurt no one, and make me so very happy :).

    So you go, Cliff! Wear that name loud and proud, because it's yours.

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  43. Henry WellsbournMay 5, 2012 at 7:00 PM

    Hey Cliff, congratulations. I'm not actually called Henry Wellsbourn either but that isn't going to stop me using it (although I do think you missed a chance to claim Rocketship Dinosaur McExplosion as your very own).

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  44. might take me a few times of commenting for it to stick but I'll do my best. Good luck with the new name cliff. Also, you might want to change your copyright at the bottom of your page too. And I love the new name. It fits you well.

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  45. Hi Cliff! (that's all, really)

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  46. Cliff, you helped articulate something I've thought about off and on for years; thank you :)

    Names are part of how we say who we are - since we are all made up of many different aspects, male, female and un-gendered (gasp), how a name fits can reflect self-perception. I'm cisgender female, identify as female, and have a gender-neutral nickname which fits me way more than my given name. For years I have struggled with adopting my "real" name because it sounds "more professional..." but it's not me. When someone uses my long-held nickname instead of my given name, it's welcoming and natural - something I've only recently come to realize. Congrats on having the courage of your convictions :)

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  47. Good for you!

    Originally this messed with me a little (as if I had the right to be... pfft!) because I had to update the mental file, but that lasted for about 30 seconds, because I totally get it.

    I'm not gonna co-op your post with "ME TOO!"-ism so I'll just say I am completely onboard with understanding wanting to choose a name you feel actually fits you, rather than being issued one.

    Hope this all works out for you/brings you happiness.

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  48. Cliff, I have only recently found this blog, but I just really want to say how amazing you are, how much I look up to you. From the moment I started reading your posts about gender, I was like, "Me, that's me, that's EXACTLY how I feel." And it's been so wonderful to feel less alone. So this post made me feel happy inside, because I know how happy it must be making you :D I'm 16 and in the closet about all my gender queer-ness, but I want to change that sometime in the next year-ish.
    Good luck to you, with everything. I hope this makes you happy, I hope that being out brings you good experiences. <3

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  49. Hi cliff :) I always read your blog but have never really commented before, I thought this was an appropriate time to start. Good luck as cliff!

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  50. Hey there, Cliff,
    I have to tell you something: thank you.
    Your blog has been / is so inspirational and encouraging to me. I've been following it for a couple of years now and it's been a perfect combination of sexuality, politics + personal matters. I'm a female with 'unconventional' sexuality and gender and a keen interest in feminism, social structures considering gender and sex and relationships and love and blah! And it's such a relief to see/read that yes, there are other people in the universe going through the same thoughts and fears. It sort of feels like hey, if she can do that, if she can talk about it, so can I! And I can!

    Oh, i just thought i'd let you know. And also I wanted to comment because I changed my name some years ago to a masculine one. Although I'm, umhh, mostly female. and i'm extremely comfortable with it and it most certainly was a good idea for me.

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  51. You're awesome. This makes me wish I had the stones to change my name to the Beast, which is what I've been longing for lately.

    (Also: you're still Holly on the About page!)

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  52. "It'd be okay to change to a masculine name if you were trans but since you're not then you're not allowed!"

    Oh, hey, that's exactly why I felt super awkward in the first LGBT I was ever a part of. A bunch of people who thought non-gender-conformity belonged to trans folk only!

    Sup, Cliff? The problem I have is that it no longer rhymes :-( I liked the rhyming bit more than I'd like to admit. Cliff Pervocracy it is; however, since that's what you chose.

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  53. Awesome, Cliff! :]

    Gonna indulge in some "'ME TOO!'-ism" (thanks for the term, Jay R.), because I like sharing, haha.
    I've gone through a name shift from a given Biblical name back to my legal Korean name. I was called 'Rebecca' by most people, other than my family, for most of my life, but I've come to identify with my Korean, non-Western heritage much more in recent years and want to reclaim that. I don't mind being called 'Rebecca', though, because I think the alternation between the two suits me better depending on the people with whom I'm interacting, as well as the recognition of my Asian-American cultural limbo, rather than having to choose just one identity.
    Also, it's quite funny to see the moment of confusion at the doctor's office when nurses read my name and hesitantly call out 'Yu?'

    Fortunately, I really appreciate the name my parents gave me, and I think the meaning suits me quite well (the hanja roughly translates to 'dark, secluded forest', as well as sharing a character with the hanja for ghosts... and prisons, haha).

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  55. Names are interesting. Even if at first a name doesn't seem to match a person's personality, after a while you get used to it and that name becomes a shortcut to that person. I think that's why it's hard for people to get used to a name change; the new name is a blank slate and not yet attached to the person in their mind.

    However, people can certainly get used the change quickly. As I think all of us will, because we respect you and know enough about you through this wonderful blog to understand a little of why this is a thing.

    You're totally right about the connotations of Cliff, and I appreciate that you tied it to Clifford. Big red dogs for the win, am I right? I also have to agree with the commenter who said they were going to think of your blog as Cliffy Pervocracy, because it really does flow better. Although if you hate that, I shall cease and desist forthwith.

    Good luck and hats off to you! (Hahaha, are your sexual partner(s) going to refer to sex with you as "scaling the cliff? Because I would. Just sayin'.) (I'm sorry, I had to.)

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  56. I like Cliff/Clifford, it has a sassy young English nobleman feel to it =D

    So how did you come up with Cliff? Just a name you like, or does it have any special connotations for you?

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  57. Howdy, Cliff! My RL name is painfully ordinary, and I have always wanted to change it to Cecil.

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  58. Anonymous @7.37: you should go for it. You wouldn't be the first person I'd met to go by the name of Beast. (I did once learn the birth name of the other Beast, and it just didn't feel like his name - he was so blatantly "Beast" in my mind).

    Cliff: I love the idea of a society where people are expected to choose their own name. Your other reasons for this name-change are also cool, especially (f). However, reason (c) makes me wonder whether you'll now start catching more flak on the posts that talk about your personal life, since appearing male to the casual viewer means that mentioning a male partner will make you appear gay to said casual viewer. And there are many homophobic asshats on the internets :(

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    1. I already get the homophobia sometimes. I'm okay with it. I mean, not okay at all, but... I'd rather respond to it on the level of "you asshole, why do you care what genders someone has sex with" than on the level of "you asshole, I'm a woman." I feel like the latter is a cop-out, something that implies that if I were a man they'd have a point.

      (Weirdly, I've never gotten any homophobia [online] for being a woman who's slept with women. I guess that's because the way I've done it has fallen under the asshole mental category of "sexy bisexual chick who might put on a show for you" rather than "actual queer woman who might have sex with no men at all involved.")

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  59. Hiya Cliff! Nice to meet you.

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  60. I changed my name when I was six, and made it legal on my eighteenth birthday. Took a while for my family to catch up with the idea, but they all got it eventually. Hurray for picking your own name!

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  61. Given the amount of trouble that people get into online, and that it's all search-able and so easy to get background on anyone these days, I've heard some people suggest that giving people a new legal name in their late teens or twenties actually makes a lot of sense!

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  62. Awesome, Cliff - glad you're making a change that feels good to you.

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  63. Hey, Cliff!

    Awesome name.

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  64. Hey, Cliff - awesome name!

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  65. Congrats to having a new name!

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  66. I wish we could throw you a "name day" party (some cultures do this for babies). We could have a big rainbow cake and fun cocktails!

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  67. Thank you *so much* for this. I'm genderqueer, ambiguous, and have been flailing around with Who I Am for.... well, forever really, but moreso in the last couple of years. I want a question mark in the gender box; I'm not dysphoric enough to feel like I should do something about it (you're supposed to be sure? yeah, whatever, I think all trans* people go through an I-don't-know thing). I've already got a gender-ambiguous name, most people online read me as my preferred gender, I'm living in this body that doesn't quite fit but it's not wrong *enough* for me to fix, and the idea of using small things to take control of one's identity.... is new to me. You'd think it wouldn't be. Thank you for pointing out a thing to do that'll help.

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  68. The one thing that caught my eye but didn't seem to catch many others is the whole "it's self-indulgent" theme. I, like you apparently, have been conditioned to put other peoples' ease and happiness before my own. In my younger days I rebelled against this without ever really grasping what I was doing, which lead me into some difficulties because I made some really bad financial choices (not as bad as could have been, but enough). I've learned to moderate it some since then, but have managed to take the power out of the argument by learning a short, simple response to it: So what?

    Now if I can't find any reason beyond "it's self-indulgent" then a response of "so what?" is all that's required. If there are other valid reasons, then perhaps self-indulgent isn't the biggest problem the idea or plan has.

    Also, I like the idea of choosing a name for oneself at some point near mid- to late-20s. It may become required to leave the mistakes and such of youth behind as those who are now growing up with a past that cannot be easily left behind may discover to their dismay. Us old folks got a free shot by moving away. It's not so easy anymore.

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  69. Congratulations, Cliff!

    I struggle sometimes to come to terms with my self-indulgent perverted ways, but fortunately each instance of overcoming some left-over shame involves self-indulgent perversion, so it's usually a win-win for me! ;)

    I'm curious though how being perceived as male might affect how your writing on sex and feminism is received. I could see it go both ways...

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  70. Clifford the big red blog?

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    1. Owwwwwww... or should I say "Aroooooooo!"

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  71. Pleased to meet you, Cliff. :D

    -Fishgoat

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  72. Just press a different button on the dropdown menu et voila, the wonders of the internet, as they should be

    hey you cliff

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  73. Ehhh, see, I'm going to go out on a limb here and disagree. It is, of course, nothing but my own personal opinion. But the idea of name changing as a temporary thing really throws me. I guess *because* names are such an integral part of a person, if everyone changed it up I could never keep track of anyone. It just seems really inconvenient.
    So I guess this begs the question of what to do when what makes one person happy makes someone else unhappy. Obviously the correct answer is to ignore the unhappy person in favor of the happy person, but that seems to drive a very unpleasant wedge between people. So what is the correct response when "why can't you just be happy for her and supportive you goddamn selfish stranger, instead of wasting everybody's time with your own discomfort. Get the hell over it because I'm right and you're wrong and nya" is not an option?

    Come to think of it, that actually applies to any situation where what makes one person happy actively bothers someone else. I'm thinking here of, say, someone coming out. On the one hand, they shouldn't have to live with this big oppressive lie, but on the other hand, telling the strongly homophobic parents to "just get over it" seems inconsiderate as well. I'm not saying the parents should be lied to for their own peace of mind at the cost of their LGBTQ offspring, I'm just thinking that sometimes in our efforts at social crusading we can get so wrapped up in our own rightness we forget that just because something is wrong doesn't mean it's irrelevant or not worth care and respect.

    Thinking out loud here, sorry for the weird post. Just trying to figure out how to reconcile my own social crusader with my unexpectedly negative response to your name change. Still though, if you want to be called Cliff, then Cliff it is.

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    1. So do you have this issue with people who marry and change their last names?

      Because that's a pain in the butt too, and often makes old friends hard to find on the internet or causes technical problems with work email addresses and logins and things. Yet, we all accomodate that pretty grumble-free.

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    2. I think it's a little hypocritical that you posted this without even giving a name, anon. Talk about inconveniencing others. :p

      Yes, obviously if everyone changed their name every week things would get silly, but how many people would want to do that? Most people have some attachment to their own identities too. I'm changing my name for the first time in five years of writing, here.

      Also, I think homophobic parents should get the fuck over it. I realize that sometimes it's necessary to treat them a little more delicately, but that's an unfortunate necessity. They should just get over it.

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    3. @Rosa: No, I don't mind usually, because it's presumably only a one-time (or few-time) thing. Mainly the idea of "Welp, kiddo, you're ten (fifteen, twenty, twenty-five etc) now, time to pick a new name" would, I think, distance people over the long run. You would have a mountain of a time reconnecting with anyone after any spate of time.

      @Cliff: Apologies, it's a weird internet security thing with me. Let's call me Jean. I'm sorry if that came off as a personal attack, of course you're welcome to do whatever you want with your name. I just found it a bit off-putting, and was surprised nobody else seemed to feel at all the same way. This lead to me feeling like I was wrong without knowing why, which led to the soulsearch moment up there. As for the homophobic parents thing, I respectfully disagree. That's probably something the parents have been raised with, and by the time they have kids old enough to know if they're LGBTQ it's probably something that's pretty ingrained. Getting over that shit takes time, and should involve a lot of thinking/talking with kid and soul searching to help them think about what they really believe versus what they've been told. Having people demand they "get the fuck over it" lest the parents be instantly labelled cruel, mean, bad parents is harsh and really damaging in a vulnerable time.

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    4. A few-time thing means for a woman who marries twice before she's 60, she's had different names at 4 times in her life, the same as if she'd routinely changed her name every 15 years.

      I'm not actually arguing about how inconvenient these changes are for others, though - just that we think of some changes as natural, not to be complained about, and others as drastic and resistable.

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  74. Considering that your posts on this blog pushed *me* to be brave enough to ask for things I wanted, I fully support your decision to be self-indulgent. Congrats, Cliff :)

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  75. Hi Cliff!

    On a practical note, if you've had a privacy scare, there is one particular historical post that you might like to make a retroactive edit to which should hopefully protect your RL identity further -- I assume you know which one I'm talking about.

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  76. Concratulations on your new, rather cool name, Cliff! I'm happy for you!

    Juuso

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  77. http://mynorthwest.com/123/673485/Nebraska-man-changes-name-to-Tyrannosaurus-Rex

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  78. OFFTOPIC,
    http://manboobz.com/2012/05/06/friend-zoning-out/comment-page-5/#comment-152209

    I fit "OKAY's" from first and fourth group, switching from one to another; I could disagree about several "NOT OKAY" points though. Explaining that to MB crowd seems pointless; they tend to assume I'm sime kind of fervent MRM follower because I sometimes disagree with some topics; but I just want to let you know I appreciate your comment.

    Y.

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  79. Hey !

    I've been reading your blog for a month or two now, and without paying attention, from "previous post" to "previous post" I finished reading it. Just to say that I really enjoy your writing as well as your ideas (most of them at least, I'm a political lesbian dammit).

    This post seemed like the right one to comment for a first time, because I identify as queer and am struggling with the question of my name. Thought it was recent, until I found a blog I was writing five years ago (I was 13 at the time and didn't even know what "queer" meant) in which I presented myself as a boy named Morgan. We always tend to minimize this kind of ideas, but the simple fact of having them is enough to take them into account.
    So I, a total stranger, fully support your choice. A name is a part of one's identity, and just as well as any other part, it is subject to changes and choices.

    So, congratulations !

    PS. I'm french, that may explain some oddities of my writing (and wrong tenses & missing articles, I bet) =)

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  80. Question about these despotic utopian fantasies: if I change my name after less than ten years, when my next decennial change rolls around, can I get an exemption? Is it every ten years of each person's life or mass changes?

    Of course, I don't know that I'd ever go by Hershele Ostropoler in real life.

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    1. I'm not that despotic. You can change your name in between decennials if you're 15 and don't want the name you picked as a 10-year-old. And you can always renew your name if you decide you want to keep it more than 10 years.

      (Also, it's per person, not mass changes. The day after that would be more disorienting than Daylight Savings.)

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  81. Cliff's a cool name besides.

    Also, like Hershele Ostropoler said, I don't think I'd go by any of the Wonderfully Weird Drama Student Names I gave myself in high school now that I've graduated from college. xD

    As for whether I'd want to go by Rubyfruit Pixie in real life...probably not.

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  82. It's very true that having a name that accurately reflects who you are, a name that is completely *yours* is an amazing thing and does wonders for self-esteem. Just ask any trans* person.

    With that said, hi Cliff. Pleasure to make your acquantance.

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  83. Awesome, Cliff, thanks for letting us know! :-)

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  84. Yay! You go on with your own self, Cliff, and enjoy the hell out of it. :) I legally changed my name when I was 18 because the birth mother who gave me my original name was long-gone, but also a horribly abusive person and I wanted no reminder of her in my life whatsoever. I've been my current iteration for over half my life now, and I like it just fine. There is something terribly liberating about choosing one's own name and defining oneself to the world. You, on your own terms.

    It was wonderful having coffee recently, thank you! WE HAVE A TRAMPOLINE PARK?!?!?!! FUCK YEAH!!!!!! I must take J to it. Thanks for the tip!

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  85. Struck by something:
    If someone tells you what zir name is, you don't get to not believe zir. You don't get to say "that's not your name." You don't get to say "that's not really a name, that name doesn't exist." You don't get to say "you don't look like my idea of that name, so I'm going to refer to you by a different name."

    If you replace "name" with "gender" that's equally true.

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    1. You don't get to say "you don't look like my idea of that name, so I'm going to refer to you by a different name."

      I actually had someone do that to me once. (Apparently I look like a Margaret.) Fortunately I only had to work with her two weeks or so, and at the time I thought it was pretty funny. I suspect it would have gotten old fast, though.

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  86. I love the idea of being able to change your name or name yourself and having that be ok. I grew up with one name, then got married, and divorced several years later. I didn't want my kid name back, and I wasn't thrilled with keeping my married name, but I knew that the last name I would have chosen for myself would have sounded all hippie-freak. I ended up keeping my married name because I didn't want to talk about my divorce in my professional life. I would love to have just named myself something different for a while, and having people get that I could do it "just cuz".

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  87. are you sure you want to tell everyone your real name if you've had privacy scares? I don't get it

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  88. Since you live in Boston, I can't help but associate you with Cliffy Claven from Cheers :P

    So, you are hereby Cliff Pervocracy, the Purveyor of Prurient Ponderings.

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  89. Would "CliffyP" be a terrible joke/reference then?

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  90. I'm late to the party, but wanted to pop in to say Mazel Tov!!! I've changed my name legally 3 times and informally 2 additional times. The only time I've regretted it is *right now* and that's only because I'm applying for a huge gov't paperwork thing and once that goes through successfully, I'll go back to having no regrets.

    Interesting how many people will change their bodies, but wouldn't think of changing their names.

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  91. Dear Holly/Cliff,

    I read this line and wondered about how one maintains anonymity by posting your real name?

    a) Anonymity. "Holly Pervocracy" is too close to my real name (my real name is "Hailey Bervocracy")

    My darling husband and I were a wee bit confused last night when we saw Cliff. I kept telling him that's what it says and he insisted your name is Holly. He searched for this post and did an "Ah-ha!" at me! Good luck!!

    xoxox Cate

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    1. It was a joke. I thought "Bervocracy" was obviously fake enough?

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  92. I remember coming to this blag and seeing that the last few posts were by "Cliff". I first thought they were guest posts (by a new boyfriend who was into feminist blogging, or by a Rowdy who had changed his nickname and developed an interest in feministical blagging).

    Then I went back into the archives and found that old posts which I knew you made were also labelled "Cliff Pervocracy". Then i found this post.

    This is the first tim ih ave commented here but I have been readi g this blog for a while and it is retty much the blog which has the opinions most similar to mine. It is like I have opinions which I am too stupid to put into words and I read them expressed really eloquently on your blog.

    PS: What is the difference 'tween a feministe and a feminologiste?
    PPS: Since it is my first comment here, what do you think of my handle (TehDudeBro). It's pretty cool name (I chose it for 2 reasons: it sounds cool (dude is cool, bro is cool, therefore dudebro is doublepluscool), and it is a pejorative (for want of a better word) in the feminologistical community, and therefore it would be wonderfully weird for someone to call himself that here, although I do hope I'm not a dudebro).
    PPPS: Polly Hervocracy. That is all.

    Finally, the questions I asked in this post are not real and I do not expect Cliff to take time out of her busy schedule to respond to this stupid comment (especially since I have become addicted to this blog and would rather have a new post than a response to my comment (people reacting to my actions makes me a bit self-conscious))

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  93. Months after the last post! (my life story--a day late and a dollar short)

    I use my Deadhead name, which I consider tribal. Its like when you join a religious order, they change your name for you and then you use that one. Well, so did I. ;)

    My husband has an aunt named Cliff. Really. I love the connotation of coming to a philosophical (or sexual) precipice, a cliff.

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