What’s My Name? (Gotta Laugh, Gotta Love…)

A cartoon I posted to Facebook and the comments I got...

A cartoon I posted to Facebook and the comments I got…

Names, again!!!  🙂  Okay, so I did my post on Gloria, right?  What I didn’t mention exactly was that I always hated my name, even before being transgendered was at the tip-top of my consciousness.  There was not being able to live up to the glamorous image of Gloria Swanson, and there was being called “Glooey-Baby” by school mates.

So when I got a job at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock as an accounts payable clerk back in 1979, I told my boss how I detested my name.  By then, my partner, Dee, and all my friends were calling me by my middle name, Gayle.  I felt like two people in two worlds.  “Gayle” to my partner and friends, and “Gloria” to my family and in my professional life.

Being “Gayle” was much easier.  After all, there was Gale Gordon from I Love Lucy.

You’d just know this clip would have an airplane skit…  “Yeah, it’s a drag…”  Hilarious!

What was I saying?  Oh yeah, about my name…  So anyway, when I complained about hating my name to my supervisor, a wonderful woman named Jan, what does she do?  She orders me a new name plate with Gayle Carraro written on it, and instructs my co-workers that they must henceforth call me “Gayle,” which they did.

That fixed the “professional” part, but not the “family” part.  I tried to get my mother to call me Gayle, and told her how important it was to me, but she refused.  (One of the many ways she invalidated me….)  And because my mother refused to honor my preference, the rest of my family was in a quandary.  Sometimes talking to me directly, they would call me “Gayle,” but when they mentioned me to my mother, they had no choice but to call me “Gloria.”  So I spent a couple of decades being 99% “Gayle” and 1% “Gloria.”

Of course, then as the first step from transitioning from female to male, I changed my name to Terry.  Naturally, at first my mother balked, but eventually came around:

"My Dear Son Terry...."

“My Dear Son Terry….”

My relatives were quicker on the uptake than my mother — I didn’t look like a Gloria or Gayle any more, and they were smart enough to know they’d appear to be lunatics if they called me by my old names.  100% Terry.

However, my biggest gripe is when people use the feminized version — Terri.  (I have a cisgendered female friend who has the same name — Terry — and even she has the same gripe!)

So, I posted the comic up there at the top to my Facebook page.  You can read the comments.  My friend, Terry, says “haha; my argument all my life,” and my cousin, Susie, says, Those of us that have known you all your life we know how to spell “TERRI” Love You!

Okay, I really have to stop and laugh.  My wacky family, fundamentalists and all, for the most part they do accept me, as is obvious from Susie’s reply.  But she still misses the intent of the cartoon — TerrY.  (If it’s spelled with a “Y” it usually, but is not always a boy name.  If it’s spelled with an “i” it’s always a girl name.  Gotta laugh…  Gotta love….


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Dog Dharma is written by a human who loves dogs and who believes dogs have attained enlightenment. The human behind Dog Dharma came from humble origins, has faced many trials, enjoyed many adventures, and taken a path less traveled. He claims no special privilege or expertise, and remains humble. Dog Dharma‘s author has learned a few things along the way, and has much yet to learn. He has been told by many people that he has a talent for writing, and aspires to write a book, but is a little too lazy and disorganized, so his blog will suffice for now. He opens a window into his life in the hope that some of his words may be of comfort, some may be a beacon or warning, and perhaps he will connect with like-minded souls. Everything shared comes from a place of openness and honesty, but with no claim that he possesses the Truth. People and places mentioned should be taken as pseudonyms. In many cases, details may be an amalgamation of actual events disguised to protect the “innocent.” Nothing written is to be taken as actual fact, but as the author of Dharma Dog‘s limited understanding. From the mouths of the Beatles: In the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make
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14 Responses to What’s My Name? (Gotta Laugh, Gotta Love…)

  1. safirefalcon says:

    Took me a minute to get the joke in the cartoon. haha.
    As for the spelling of the name Terry/Terri…I’ve often wondered about the difference in spelling and if there was a gender difference. The reason for my random occasional wondering is because I know two women with the name Terry and I went to school with a boy named Terry.
    I have no point to this really…lol…just writing what I associated to the post. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • DogDharma says:

      Most of the women who have “unisex” names spell it with an “i”. For example, male “Bobby” / female “Bobbi”, male “Ricky” / female Ricki or “Rikki.” I picked “Terry” because it is usually (but not always) the male spelling. Alas, there are a few females named “Terry.” But there are NO males named “Terri.” I don’t think this means I’m a narcissist because I’m hung up on the “i”!! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • safirefalcon says:

        I have always loved unisex names like Bobbi or Bobbie,(I knew a Bobbie once) Billie, Ricki, etc. Funny that the female version of Terry is rarely spelled with a y, but I know two. I feel privileged. 🙂

        I also meant to comment on the Lucy video you shared. I know it was because of Gale Gordon and the name and all but the video was hilarious. I had never seen that episode.


  2. Jamie Ray says:

    Every time I hear the song “Once in love with Amy” I want to smash the radio…and yes, many people try to spell Jamie as Jaime(?!) – I want to tell them to wake up – I didn’t do this to use the girls spelling!

    Liked by 1 person

    • DogDharma says:

      Maybe you should have gone with “Ray Jamie,” but then there would undoubted by someone who spelled it “Rae”!!! Argh! No winning for losing. Even my poor pup, Cecil, gets called “Cecile.” Yes, he’s been neutered, but he clearly has a “package.” Grady, on the other hand, never gets called “Graci.” 🙂


  3. DogDharma says:

    Ack, Jamie — I even made a “typo” with “type” — pretty silly in itself, given my quibbling about I’s and Y’s. 🙂 My keyboard must be refuting the gender binary. 🙂

    safirefalcon, *yes*! That video was hilarious! As someone who has flown across the ocean quite a few times, it was all-around funny. I’m sure I must have inspected to see if I could find the inflatable vest. Then Lucy was trying to pretend flying was old hat to her, and she said the line about it being a “drag.” Double-entendre for people in our community. And then the vest inflated under the blanket, and I couldn’t help thinking, “Oh, it’s like she’s had a boob job!” 🙂


  4. Terry,
    I would appreciate your advice. A past trainee of mine changed her name from donna to charlie and when I asked why she said because it is gender neutral and she had always been a bit of a ‘tom boy’. Do you think she could be suffering from some kind of identity or gender confusion or denial? She does look quite boyish in appearance and in the way she acts but has never outright said she wishes to change sex but it seems so fitting. …. obviously I don’t want to just come out and ask because I wouldn’t want to cause upset either way but I would also somehow like her to know that it wouldn’t change my view of her if it was the case.


    • DogDharma says:

      Well, there’s a “can of worms” question, free speaking. Even biological sex isn’t black / white. Unless one has gone to a geneticist, one doesn’t know for *sure* whether one is XX or XY. Gender identity is more complex because it’s what goes on “between the ears,” how someone feels about their own identity. Further complicated by by social expectations of what constitutes male behavior / appearance / social expectations. There are girlie-girls, androgynous girls, and tom boys. If a woman wear high heels and red lipstick, is her gender identity “female”? If she wears work boots and flannel shirts and like motorcycles, is her gender identity “male”? Only *she* (or *he*) knows what’s going on inside her / his head. Whether the choice of clothing is simply what makes her feel nice, or whether she / he is mimicking to social expectations of her / his particular cultural milieu without giving it a thought. Or whether her / his behavior / appearance is an expression of her / his self-perceived gender identity. I would not make *any* assumptions.

      Whether to *ask* is another question. It would be kind of rude to go up to someone and say, “Hey, are you transgendered?” On the other hand, most transgendered people appreciate it very much when their friends respect them by using their preferred pronouns and name. If they are close to you and trust you, they will usually disclose to you at some point — if they are far enough along to have worked this out for themselves.

      Take my own case… I knew that I wasn’t “girl” as Western society defines girl when I was ~3 years old. But I was too little to understand the complexities. I acted like a tom boy, I lived as a lesbian, I never wore a dress after 1986. But if someone had asked me if I was transgendered, I’d have said, “No.” I might have wondered why I was asked the question, and another little light bulb might have gone off, or I might have been offended.

      A series of events caused the “big” light bulb to go off. Once I’d put all the pieces together and understood all the complexities, then I’d have answered, “Yes.” If you were my friend, and I liked you and I trusted you. Or you had a reason “to know” — such as being my doctor or being a potential romantic partner. Otherwise, I might have smacked you in the nose for being “nosey.” 🙂

      If you are sensitive to transgender issues, you might bring up the topic in indirect ways. For example, you might say, “I really like ‘Orange is the New Black.’ Laverne Cox is really pretty.” Or, “It’s awful that in the United States, they want to exclude the T (transgender) part of GLBT from ENDA (the Employment Non-Discrimination Act).” Then your friend will know that you’re supportive, and if s/he is transgendered and knows it and trusts you, s/he’ll tell you.

      Said up front it was a can of worms! I love ‘Orange is the New Black’ and I love Laverne Cox. She’s gorgeous. But this was a post about “names” and oh my goodness — could an MTF woman have a worse surname than “Cox”? She’d have been better off choosing the name “Laverne Gloria.” 🙂 Now I’m going to get hate mail because I have a silly sense of humor! 🙂


      • DogDharma says:

        PS: I changed my name to “Terry” as the first step to transitioning, as mentioned several times. No hormones or surgeries yet. Later on, *after* I had fully transitioned, I had a friend say to me, “I wondered when you changed your name to ‘Terry’ if you were FTM.” She was right, but she didn’t talk about it until *after* I’d transitioned and had disclosed to her and my former co-workers who had remained friends with me.


  5. Lol ok I think I get it. Thanks for your advice


    • DogDharma says:

      If only I could be that succinct. 🙂 Wasn’t really trying to make sense out of something that IS mysterious and complex. Probably should have said, “Just stare at the Tao symbol for a while and it will come to you.” 🙂


      • DogDharma says:

        Err, “WAS really trying..” Type / typos again that I can’t correct. 🙂 Or maybe I knew I wasn’t making sense?


      • No I think you’re right. Talk about something relative and if she chooses to open up then I can start to help her relax. She is very tense and seems nervous for reasons I can’t work out.


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