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My Name is J P 제피

I started handing out cards stating "My name is J P 제피." You may have received one. If you took the time to scan the QR code on the back it led you to this post. It likely means that you deadnamed me. Thank you for taking the time to read further.

Deadnaming is the act of referring to a transgender or non-binary person by their birth, given, or former name without their consent. Deadnaming can be unintentional or a deliberate attempt to deny, mock, or invalidate a person’s gender identity, and can contribute to mental health conditions and violence. Deadnaming is a sign of rejection and invalidation of a person’s true identity, gender, and/or experience (i.e., transphobia).

I give the benefit of the doubt and understand that much deadnaming occurs unintentionally. And, sometimes, it is out of negligence or laziness. Many cisgender people feel the effort is too much to learn a new name. Or, they hold an attachment to the trans or non-binary person's former gender identity. Sometimes, the discomfort is so great that people simply do not use a name at all, and the trans or non-binary person becomes nameless, untethered, floating in space without a name. It is a strange and inhuman experience. In my case, deadnaming and no-naming contributed to much dysphoria after I retired my former name. It continues to occur as every single person in a trans persons life learns and adjusts to their new name (and pronouns).

There are also cases in which the deadnaming is intentional and malicious. I have experienced this as well.

It was not easy or comfortable to retire my former name. It was not a cheeky or cute art experiment. It came with consequences to my career, my relationships, my legibility, my established brand as "Jen Pack," and to my safety. I truly liked my given name. It has star power and pizazz. I experienced incredible grief to give it and aspects of my former identity up. I was startled at how much it hurts to hear it and see it written. It was not a flippant choice. It was a matter of survival and claiming of who and what I am.

I also love my distilled, true name: J P 제피.

I am whole and seen when I hear it. The phonetic spelling of ‘J P’ in Hangul is 제피. 제 means ‘my’ in Korean and 피 means ‘blood’. Every time you say my true name - J P 제피 - you acknowledge that I am of your blood. You acknowledge me in relationship to you as your relative. You acknowledge that we are kin. Trans people, like me, are your kin. Please see and treat us as kin. Please advocate for our safety and survival, especially trans and non-binary children.

Thank you for making the effort to say my - and every trans and non-binary person's - true name.

And of course, I must acknowledge artist Adrian Piper's ongoing performance of handing out calling cards. Head nod and many bows.


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