Story URL: http://news.medill.northwestern.edu/chicago/news.aspx?id=218194
Story Retrieval Date: 5/19/2013 11:52:10 AM CST
Picking a name for your child can be hard enough as it is. The difficulty increases exponentially when the baby has no clear sex.
“When you hear a name, people jump to conclusions,” Alex McCorry said.
It usually conveys gender and perhaps even ethnicity and age. When you are not clearly one sex or the other, how do you choose a name?
McCorry was born intersex but raised female and was given a girly name.
“I did not want that. So I chose to go with Alex,” he said. Alex is not short for Alexander, he is quick to point out.
“I was still figuring out my gender identity,” he said. “Alex just went with that.”
McCorry refuses to tell what his birth name was. “That is not me anymore.”
McCorry’s mother, however, still refuses to call him Alex. “She still thinks I am her daughter,” McCorry said.
Crixs Haligowski had a similar dilemma. He wanted a name that would convey his gender ambiguity. Just gender-neutrality was not enough for him.
“I consider myself the ‘x’ gender,” he said. “I picked a common gender neutral name and changed the spelling to include an ‘x,’ ” he said of his unusual spelling.
Mugsie Pike was raised female. “I was just lucky to have a gender neutral name to start with,” Pike said. “I may have picked another one if it weren’t neutral. I will never know.”
Should parents choose a gender-neutral name? David Sandberg, who is a pediatric psychologist who works with intersex children, says that is not a good idea.
“I would discourage selecting an androgynous name like Logan, Jamie, etc., if the motivation is to hedge against later gender change,” Sandberg said.
McCorry has, since his name change, settled on a predominantly male identity and is now considering changing his name to Alexander.