Hi Jennifer,

I’m in the process of transitioning and having a tough time picking my new name. Some background: I am 32, and was born physically male. My parents gave me the name of Joseph, called me Joey as a boy and I went by Joe after the age of 16. Now people (friends) want me to choose something like Joanne or Josephine so they can still call me Joe, but I want something completely different. Something to match my identity–which is different from JOE! WDYT I should do?

New Name Coming Soon

Hi New Name,

Thanks for writing! As I tell parents who are naming their children, a name is so completely tied to your identity that it’s important to choose one that you love. Now that you are naming yourself I want you to take that advice to heart…choose a name that YOU love! Don’t worry about friends and family. They’ll adjust.

I had several friends (CIS) who changed their names as adults because they felt their birth name just didn’t fit them. At first it was strange for me to call them by different names, but then it becomes natural after a while. Don’t let anyone else tell you what you should name yourself! This is a very big decision. You are finally going to present as your gender and now you get to choose a beautiful name to go with it. Congrats, and let me know what you choose!


Jennifer Moss (she/her) is the founder of BabyNames.com, author of The Baby Names Workbook, and Producer of The Baby Names Podcast. Jennifer is widely regarded as the leading expert on popular baby name trends and the naming process, serving as the authoritative source on the subject for national and international media.

Jennifer entered the tech arena in the 80s as a software developer and database architect, and became a pioneer in the Internet industry. In addition to operating BabyNames.com, Jennifer owns a web development agency in central California.