1. Pick something you are comfortable with. This is the most important thing, if you think your name sounds funny, or if you feel embarrassed about it, keep looking. If there’s something you really really want, but aren’t sure if people will take you seriously, weigh whether it’s worth it.
2. If you can, try to keep it common. It’s gonna suck for you if no one can pronounce or spell your name, so try not to make it hard on yourself.
3. Think about what your family is going to think about it. If your parents are accepting, you could ask them to help you. It may matter to you what they think about it, so keep them in mind as well.
4. You want something that can be professional. You aren’t always gonna be a cool fifteen year old, someday you are going to have a job, and you want to be taken seriously. You don’t want to have to introduce yourself as Jaguar to a potential client or boss.
5. If you are going on Baby Name sites, find the common ones for your age group, not this years. Today’s modern name trends aren’t going to be the same as the ones in the 90’s.
6. It’s not a race. You don’t have to have a name all picked out and ready to go when you come out. Take the time to find the right one for you.
7. Most of all, picture yourself with your name. Try to imagine introducing yourself as your name, and how other people are going to perceive you.
STEP TWO: Become your new name
1. Begin using your name in writing. Use it online, make a new email address, change your facebook, your tumblr, whatever.
2. Practice writing it. Get your signature down. Figure out all the little details of how to write the letters.
3. Start letting go all the things associated with your old name. That old softball Tshirt with your name on the back? It’s gotta go.
4. Say your name out loud to yourself. The more you hear and see your name, and know it means you, the better you will begin to associate with it.
STEP THREE: Getting other people to use your name (This is the hard part)
1. Have patience. Some people will get it right away, some will take years. It can be very difficult to change the way one thinks about another person, however much they may love and support you.
2. Correct people. If you consistently correct them, they will at least begin thinking before they speak, if not using the correct name. Don’t let people get away with misgendering you, because it is not okay. You may feel uncomfortable with it, but it does need to be done.
3. Make sure that those having trouble with it get to hear other people calling you by your name. Humans tend to go with the easiest path, if everyone around them is calling you Sugarplum, they’re probably gonna call you Sugarplum too.
4. If they refuse to use your name because they are transphobic, find a happy medium, or consider if they are worth your friendship. If you’ve got someone that simply refuses to call you anything but your birthname, try to get them to call you by your last name, or a nickname.
5. Don’t hang around with people that misgender you. They aren’t worth the heartache and the anxiety, and it will only get worse with time. Do yourself a favor and invest in people that truly love you for who you are.