Why I Chose to Keep My Birth Name

A lot of transguys out there change their name as their birth name is usually a feminine one. Though some are lucky to have an androgynous name like Alex or Sam. I would consider myself one of them but then again I am Asian so maybe it doesn’t really count.

But I decided to keep my birth name because it is the one thing my parents gave me that I could keep after transitioning.  However, my parents didn’t give me a Christian name, Asian names are usually your family/last name before your first name. So let me give you a little history on my birth name…

My first name is Shue Vern. At first glance, there’s nothing very feminine about it – but when written in Chinese, it is probably one of the most girly names in the universe. In my father’s native dialect, Hokkien, the literal translation is – wait for it – lady. Yep… L A D Y. But in my parents’ defence, they didn’t choose it.

Are you getting confused yet? See, it’s very common in Chinese families (especially if you have a buck load of traditional relatives) where when you’re born or even before you’re born a name is chosen for you by some aunty/uncle higher up in the family hierarchy. It’s even a bigger deal if you’re the first born, as I am. A name is chosen based on your birth year on the Chinese calendar, your birth date and of course, your gender.

So, someone in my family decided that since I was the first born daughter of my father and thus being the first to hold the family name in that branch of the family tree, I was planned to be the ‘lady’ of the family. Boy, are they wrong or what? Or maybe I was just born to rebel – I was born in the Year of the Cow so stubbornness is an essential trait.

Anyways, back to my birth name and why I decided to keep it. Now that you know the story behind my name, technically my parents didn’t choose it. But they made it theirs in their own way. I think they wanted me to be one-of-a-kind (though it could mainly be because they’re English educated) so they made the English spelling to be Shue Vern.

There are plenty of other girls out there with the same Chinese name as me, but their English spelling would be Su Wen or Xiao Wen or something similar along the lines but still basically mean the same thing – it’s a girl’s name. Period. But I have yet to meet someone else with the exact same name as mine in English. I’ve got several Shue’s and one other friend with Vern but none so far with both names.

So in a way, I’ve rebelled against my traditional Chinese background whilst staying true to my parents’ expectations of me being special. It’s funny how life works out 😉

And that is the story of why I chose to keep my birth name. Vern is androgynous enough for me and I appreciate that my parents took the time to make me different. But I guess they never knew how different I was going to be in all the extreme ways haha. Funny story: before transitioning, whenever the barista asks for my name when I am ordering a coffee and I say Vern, they assume it was short or Veron or Veronica. After transitioning, they think it’s Vernon.

Honestly, the only people I’d be alright with calling me my full birth name would be my parents because they gave it to me and have been calling me that even before I was born. But that being said, my father, has made the effort to call me Vern instead of ‘girl’ (my parents called me ‘girl’ and my brother ‘boy’ – yes, how convenient, I know) so if my parents can make the effort, other people have no excuse.

While I am comfortable revealing my birth name, not all transguys are. So, before you go asking them – DON’T. Seriously, if they tell you their name is Scott, their name is SCOTT. And do not ever ever EVER ask “What is your REAL name?”. It may be an innocent question from you to satisfy your curiosity but to them it could trigger dysphoria or turn their good day into a bad one. So be a decent human being and don’t let your curiosity get the better of you.

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Currently 332 days on T aka 24 ass jabs and loving it. Not much visible facial hair except for the top corners of my lips – which makes for a very lame ass moustache but small amounts of fluff are slowly growing.

Acne has reduced, though this could be a combination of antibiotics, antibacterial soap and my body growing accustomed to the new levels of T. Upper body is getting broader, thicker and so are my arms from working out and protein shakes. Fat distribution is shifting towards my gut from the hips which is annoying but it happens.


Jameel and I have decided to collaborate and produce a 2017 FTM Calendar. Our aim is to showcase transmen all over the world in all stages of transition. 2017 FTM Calendar SNEAK PEEK

If you are interested in getting a copy, please order one from our Kickstarter Campaign – you will not be charged if the project doesn’t get funded. Our goal is $7500AUD and we’re offering worldwide shipping.


  1. Hi bro, I have something would like to ask about.. But I don’t know where I can send to… So I put here instead. Sorry for that. Do you know any grs hospital in Thailand? I’m currently a bit confused and no idea which is reliable and cost affordable. There are 3 hospitals that I found quite good, but the price is…. Especially afraid after seeing some bad reviews on Google. Hope to hear from you soon. Thanks!

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