Transgender Renaming Ceremony
Updated: Oct 17, 2019
This activity is for children of all ages who feel that their name does not represent the person they truly are. A ceremony makes something real. We use them as rites of passages and I believe renaming is an important part of someone's journey and deserved a special ceremony and celebration.
I have had the privilege to work with many LGBTQ+ children over the years. I have known several transgender children.
Each child under the rainbow has a unique story of their discovery of who they truly are on on the inside and trying to match that to what is presented to the world on the inside.
For many LGBTQ+ children, there is a lot of suffering, self-doubt, self-hatred and confusion. As parents, it is our job to love our children unconditionally. This means we love them as is; as they are, not how we wish them to be. It has amazed me over the years, the different reactions parents can have to a child coming out to them. I have seen beautiful and absolute acceptance to absolute hatred and denial.
Having been so blessed to have so many young adults come out to me and look for love and guidance, I feel that a renaming ceremony can be a healing experience for transgender children as well as other LGBTQ+ children who want to match the name they present to the world with the person they are inside. I have told many transgender kids that if they were mine, I would want a say on their new name. As a parent, I loved naming my kids and feel it is a special rite we get to do as a parent. If you are a parent reading this, I will assume you feel the same way. Before the naming ceremony, you may want to have a discussion with your child about a new more appropriate name. It can be the name you had in mind if they were born of the other gender, it can be a more gender neutral name, it can be whatever the two of you want to decide. Once you have the name decided, you will need to gather some supplies.
Two candles (any size or color you would like)
Two name cards (one with the old name written on it and one with the new name--you can make these as fancy as you wish)
A bowl to place a card to burn
A picture of your child (make sure they approve)
A nice place to set these items up (a family altar, outside, the kitchen table)
Other Things to Consider:
You can invite friends and family.
You might have everyone dress up like for a wedding or baptism.
You can play soft music or diffuse some calming oils like lavender or neroli.
You may want to arrange this ceremony on your child's birthday to make it all the more special and get a cake with your child's new name. But you don't have to wait for a birthday and can call this your child's "Naming Day."
One of the points of this ceremony is to make your child feel special and loved.
Stand with your child and each light a candle. Explain to your child why you had given them the original or old name that you did. Explain to your child that you accept them as they are and that you understand this name no longer serves them. Then burn the name card with the old name and place it in the bowl or dish to let it burn.
Next, have your child announce their new name and place it in front of the candle they lit. Your child can speak about the name meaning or why they chose it if they like.
Then have your child say "I am (new name)." And blow out their candle.
Then you say "You are (new name)." And blow out your candle.
If you are a LGBTQ+ person who is renaming themselves without the support of a parent.
First let me tell you, you are brave, beautiful and perfect as you are.
You can do this ceremony alone or with your chosen family. You can still use the two candle idea and have a friend stand in for a parent or you can do the ceremony on your own. But I think you should still celebrate after, because you deserve to be happy and celebrated!
Two Voice Poem for Ceremony or Write your Own:
A two voice poem is where two voices come together as one. I encourage you and your child to write your own to share. The left is for the parent or chosen family member and the right is for the transgender child. The poem reads best on a computer, so if you're on your phone, make a quick switch to see it best.
You are special I am special
We are family
You are loved I am loved
Names change but hearts remain the same
You are whole I am whole
Everyone is perfect as they are
You are (new name) I am (new name)