How did I pick my name?

One of the most common questions I have been asked the last several months is “How did you pick your name?” so it seems like a good topic for a quick blog post!

I chose my first name (Anna) last January.  I had tried out several names in my head since at least freshman year of college, but none of them really felt like they fit.  My solution was to copy what other transpeople had done for renaming themselves:  I looked up how popular my old name was in the year I was born, and found the matching female name.  I found “Bryan” ranked number 54, and when I slid my eyes over to the female column my first thought was “Anna … that’s a palindrome!”.  The name stuck.

My middle name was easier to pick out.  I already knew that my old middle name (James) was my Dad’s first name, and I decided long ago to stick with the naming pattern and choose my Mom’s first name (Michele).  I still considered others, just in case I found something that I liked better, but in the end I kept coming back to “Michele” since it just felt … right.