On Changing My Name

In January 2017, I changed my name to Grey. I feel it’s necessary for me to align my sense of self with the sound and symbol that we call a name.
What does your name mean to you?
For me, the name my parents gave me at birth no longer aligns with how I feel and I never felt a close connection to “Beth”. I think it sounds and looks nice, but there is a distance between me and that name.
I’ve known for years that I identify as nonbinary, which means I do not stick to feeling totally masculine or totally feminine. I want to ask you, “What does it mean to be masculine or feminine?” I think it’s important for us to be aware of the limitations of “gender” as well as how it functions and influences our lives. We have this idea of gender as a real thing, but it’s a social construct, meaning that it is not something we can touch or feel, it is an idea.
Grey is intentional. I chose it to reflect the idea of a “gray area”, the space between and all around the binary system. My preference to be referred to as Grey also aligns with my preference for gender neutral pronouns; They, Them, Theirs.
The following essays are important in understanding my feelings about gender identity and expression:
A genderqueer activist explains what it means to be nonbinary on the gender spectrum
The Gender Unicorn
I want to embrace my nonbinary identity and expression and I am so appreciative of all the people who have accepted and embraced me for who I am.
Thank you! Thank you to my teachers, mentors, role models, friends, family, classmates and everyone who has shown me love, compassion, empathy and hope. You inspire me to speak up and out and to resist in every way I can.
With love and solidarity,
Grey BurfordGREY

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