Over the course of our lives our understanding of ourselves may change. Sometimes a new understanding
is signified with a change in name as we endeavor to share our insights about ourselves with those around us. I've
changed my name several times to reflect an ongoing conversation about my identity with myself and
Throughout this site you will find that I have referred to myself by many different names, pronouns,
and titles. Partly this was for simplicity, as it would be difficult to retroactively change my name on the
primary documents. However, my various names are also a way of reflecting the different outlooks I've had over
the years. The serve as a way of reminding myself of the breadth of experience that I have known.
The fact that I have chosen to share my previous names does not mean that it would be right for
another person. It is the height of rudeness to reject the name a person chooses for themself and
inquire about previous names that they have had.
Socially I have decided to start using my new Hebrew name (עזריה
לירון / Azariah Liron) for most social interactions. Given the
financial and emotional cost of legal processes, and the realization that my name still changes every few years, I have decided to keep Ari Leigh
as a legal name of convience. I still use they/them pronouns, and prefer the title Mx. when a title is required.
(Azariah Liron Mibeit Sara v'Avraham) (May 2020 - Current) [Hebrew, Social]
A truth I have learned about myself is that I experience as fluid things many others percieve as static. Names are at the top
of the list of things that taught me this about myself. Since 2011, it seems that every two years or so something changes in me that I want to honor
in what I am called. Sometimes this change comes from something I am drawn towards, other times it is something that I need to move away from. Often
it is both, for it is impossible to arrive at a new destitination without leaving one's current place.
In late April 2020, in the midst of the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, I began to grow uneasy with my name. It was a like an itch. Yes, it was my name. But it
still didn't feel quite right. As I was in studies with others who held that name, I saw that I was more comfortable with Ari refering to them,
rather than myself. After an extremely painful incident in which I realized that the work I poured my heart and soul into was not valued by those I performed
it for, I decided that I wanted to lean into this discomfort. As this decision was made, I returned to my notes. Unsurprisingly, it had been just over two years
since I had taken the name Ari, which was taken two years after I Andrew Amanda and so on.
One of my reactions to the desire for a new name was a heavy sigh at the enormous amount of paperwork a name change involves. Because of that I decided
to make this transition solely a social one. Unlike my past transitions, I feel no invalidation in keeping a separate legal name for the sake of convience.
Those who care about me, who want to see the me that I am becoming, won't require documentation to call me the name that brings me joy.
Ari Leigh (Sept. 2017 - Current) [Legal, Professional, Social (ended May 2020)]
As much as I loved the richness of 'Andrew Amanda', and despite finding a loving community that saw
with me as who I was, the intensity of discrimination I faced due to my name meant that a change was in order.
For names are about more than reflecting our innermost selves, they are first and foremost about communication,
and while Andrew Amanda enabled me to connect with many people who needed to see me, I simultaneously lost the
ability to access
key services due to discrimination.
Thus I set out to find a new name that met three criteria, was short enough to be easy to say,
allowed me to keep my same initials, and
had a meaning I could resonate with.
(Ari Liron Mi'mishphachat Sara v'Avraham) (Sept. 2019 - April 2020) [Hebrew]
My first Hebrew name was a gift of Trans Jews Are Here: A Convening. As a part of the gather I was offered an aliyah, which I declined as
I was not yet halachically Jewish. However, I mentioned that I had helped dress the Torah before, as I longed to be a part of the worship there. What I didn't
realize was that the customs of Congregation Beit Simchat Torah were slightly different than those of my home shul.
I was given a card that instructed me to put on a tallit, and be prepared to give my Hebrew name when I was called up. In that moment, I took on the name
ארי מבית אברים ושרה following the customs that I knew. I chose mbeit at the time because I felt like a foster child among the people of Israel, working
and waiting for the adoption to be finalized. At the mikvah, on the 18th of Elul 5779, I took on the name below as I became Jewish in the eyes of custom and the law.
Mx. Andrew Amanda Leigh-Bullard (2015-2017) [Legal, Professional, Social]
My legal name from July 2016 - Sept 2017, it reflected my desire to claim the fullness of my experience.
It is a shorter form of the name I began using in 2013, having been simplified in order to adapt to cultural
limitations. I started using my full first name (AndrewAmanda) in daily life during the fall of 2015 after being made
aware of other cultures in which dual first-names are a common practice. This change was also prompted by gender
dysphoria. The nickname "Andy" that held a lot of meaning for me began to feel constricting because it was being
used by the communities I was in to force me into a 'masculine' role. I knew it was time for a change when I realized
that I was using the nickname
'Andy' for other peoples comfort to such a degree that it was masking the truth that I'd been given to share.
Mx. Andrew Leigh Amanda LeAnn Bullard (2013 - 2015, written) [Social]
In January 2013 I began to be aware that my gender was not limited to a masculine presentation.
I wrestled with this for a few months, finding comfort in the term "bigender". In early spring I began to take
steps to reclaim the femininity I had set aside during my first transition. As I grew more comfortable with
myself as being both male and female I began to take steps to share this insight publicly. I did so by creating a
signature which combined my legal and my birth names, affirming that both were critical to my understanding of myself.
I began to use this name online, along with gender neutral pronouns, in the summer of 2013. It became my preferred method
of signing documents in the fall of that year.
Andy Leigh-Bullard (2013 - 2015, spoken) [Professional, Social]
As I moved to New Haven, CT in August 2013 I realized that I strongly desired to complete my
transition to living as both male and female, having experienced the painful limits imposed on male and
female identities. As I had been socialized to believe that Andrew Leigh Amanda LeAnn Bullard was
prohibitively lengthy to use for spoken conversation I sought a nickname that I would both be comfortable
with and that could still reflect the fullness of who I'd become. During this time I also began to use
Andrew Leigh-Bullard (2011 - 2013) [Legal, Professional, Social]
During my 2011 transition to male I searched for a name which would reflect the person I thought
I was becoming. I settled on Andrew Leigh-Bullard by reversing and expanding my middle name and adding my
father's surname. This worked on multiple levels as I also appreciated the ability to keep the same initials
while many other things in my life were changing. I started using Andrew Leigh-Bullard in April 2011 and the
legal name change was approved in Lyon County, KS on July 5, 2011. During this process I also started to be
referred to by "he" pronouns.
Amanda LeAnn Bullard (1989 - 2011) [Legal, Professional, Social]
The name my parents gave me at birth. I was raised as girl using "she" pronouns.
Copyright © Azariah Liron 2020