Weekly Digest: What’s In A Name?

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In about a month, I will undoubtedly be the same person, but I will be leaving Sabet behind to become Schoenauer.  Say it with me: Shay-Now-Er, emphasis on the shay.

I’ve decided that Ksab will be retired and KayShay will emerge.  It’s quite cute, no?

Besides the obvious perks of having a cute alter-ego moniker, my choice to change my name (again) has not only a very practical reason but also a deep symbolism that I feel so strongly about.

I don’t call myself a feminist.  Many strong lesbian women identify themselves that way, perhaps because the traditional roles in a male/female relationship simply don’t exist and when one party does not have different expectations placed upon them than the other, it calls attention to all other traditional relationships that do have those inequities.  I feel that being a feminist simply means being a strong woman and making choices that are the best for you and make you happy, regardless of tradition, expectations, or the general desires of others.

From a social sense, the world has come a long way in terms of acceptance and equality for gay rights.  But we’re still struggling to get there.  I am so fortunate that I don’t feel pressure to hide who I am or act any differently than any other girl getting married- but I think that is because we are in a wonderfully educated and socially sophisticated metropolitan area.  Would G and I be walking hand in hand at the Piggly Wiggly down in Albertville, AL?  Likely, no.  And that would make me miserably sad.  In fact, of the thousands of people who know that I am bi and getting married to G, the only people who have ever expressed disapproval, confusion, or any negativity whatsoever to us are my own parents.  Go on, be disgusted…

I was so unimpressed by my parents support during my divorce that I was unwilling to change my name back to my maiden name because I feel so strongly that your name is part of your identity.  And I didn’t want them to be any part of mine.  I also felt that as part of my history, Sabet is just a natural transition to who I became and who I am.  Taking my ex-husband’s name wasn’t something that I did because of tradition, or because he or his family expected it.  I did it because it made me happy and I wanted to.   Which is further evidenced by the fact that even after we were no longer together, I still strongly identified with the name that I chose.

And I’m not only thrilled to do it again, but I find it wildly romantic and unifying to be a family with my beloved girl and puppy-son Levi.  Sharing a name is a symbol of solidarity to me.  And in a world where there might be any question whether G and I are a family, I want there to be no question.  No assumption otherwise.  She is my wife and I am her wife.  We share a name, our family name.  I guess the more naive could think we are sisters, but they would have to be blind to not see how we look at each other.  And to preserve the Sabet name for the family that I am no longer part of, I will happily keep my own given middle name which I have never forsaken.

So what is in a name?  It is something that you answer to every day.  Something that people identify with you, and will remember you as long after you are gone.  It is your description, your representation, your pride, your brand, your bond, and your legacy.

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2 thoughts on “Weekly Digest: What’s In A Name?

    Devon Fitzgerald Ralston said:
    August 3, 2014 at 12:53 pm

    I also changed my last name once my partner and I got married, and that action more than anything upset certain members of my family. My brother still refuses to address mail to me with my revised last name. Recently, when I made hotel reservations, I had to remind him that they would be under MY last name and not his.

    I love saying my last name even after 3 years; it is a constant symbol of the bond and love between us. Names are important, symbolic, ideological. Bravo to you and congratulations.

      kimsabet said:
      August 13, 2014 at 10:28 am

      Thank you for sharing that Devon!!!

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