What’s in a Name

Image: green handwritten text reading “Qid Love” on a black background.

I’m in the process of editing my identity across the internet. I’m methodically hitting dozens of apps and websites, changing my display name, pronouns, profile pictures, and all that. I’ve got brand new cards to hand out at networking events, and I’m becoming more comfortable with introducing myself using my new name. Today, I talked with my boss about communicating my change of preferred name to my team and department, possibly the scariest part of all of this. Thankfully, for the most part, everyone has been very supportive.

I’m not sure I would ever have felt completely secure and ready to begin asserting my identity in such a bold way. If I had waited for “the right time”, I’m pretty sure it would never have come. Ultimately, I just did it; one big Facebook post to out myself, and no looking back. However, it was far from an impulsive act.

I’ve been in perpetual identity crisis mode for my entire life. Like most kids with adjustable-length names, I shortened my given name to a four letter word before I was out of elementary school. I’ve picked up, carried, and discarded a number of nicknames provided for me: Bubba, Duck, Stone. As a performing musician and recording artist, I started with my own name and later moved through a handful of personas (Echo Root, Mood481) as my musical styles changed.

Image: directional road signs with arrows pointing in opposite directions, reading “one way” and “another way”.

My diagnosis with Asperger’s Syndrome at age 43 was the signpost pointing to the fork in the road that ultimately led me here, now. That moment was my Point of No Return. The changes I’ve gone through in the past 5 years seem inevitable, like destiny. Finding my name was like coming home with the elixir at the end of my own hero’s journey.

“Qid” came from a completely different thought experiment, a broader brainstorm on the nature of Queer IDentity. I wasn’t even thinking about names. Synapses fired, neural pathways formed, planets aligned, the muse whispered… and Qid was conceived. As soon as it hit me that this could be my name, I was utterly euphoric.

Image: purple-tinted photo of the artist Prince playing guitar. Image by jacther; original Flickr image, By penner [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL],

I mean, it starts with Q, which is really enough. But it speaks queer… queer identity. It sounds like “kid”, so it queers age. It pays sonic homage to The Kid, hero of Purple Rain and Graffiti Bridge, The Purple One’s handmade personal myth. I love words, especially richly-encoded, made-up words that seem like they were there all along. “Qid” is more than a word; it’s a language.

In the language of Qid, “qid” means “we are”. We are Love.

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