So that’s me, second from the left, bottom row. I’m going to be a guest at the third annual Imaginarium Convention tomorrow through Sunday (Oct 7-9, 2016).
Imaginarium has been an important part of my journey, not only as an author, but as a transgender woman. In 2014, I felt comfortable enough to be me, and in 2015, I did a dry run of living full time as myself the whole weekend. My friends among other women authors were supportive, protective, and accepting of me in a way that I can not begin to describe how important it was to me.
Last night, as I packed books for this year’s Imaginarium, I held my first book in one hand and stared at it a long time. It has my old name on it, the one I was given at birth. My deadname as we trans folks call it. One that I’ve been trying to leave behind for the past few years. In late 2013, I started asking to publish as E. Chris Garrison instead, which is why Reality Check and the Road Ghosts Trilogy all have that deadname on them as author credit, and the Tipsy Fairy Tales and Trans-Continental have the newer byline.
Meanwhile, I began transition late last year, and legally changed my name to Erica Christine Garrison in April of this year, and had the gender markers on my IDs changed from M to F.
The hard part, for a few years, has been standing behind a rack of books with that deadname on it. People started calling me that name again from about 2010 on as I socialized with other authors and began to attend cons as my author self. It was killing me inside, and it hurt more with every year that passed.
My buddy R.J. Sullivan pointed out that the famous directors, the Wachowski Sisters and electronic music pioneer Wendy Carlos all have things out there in the public with their deadnames on them, and for awhile, I used that to soothe the stings of having that name still associated with me. But the more I thought about it, the more the thought of those books, which I love dearly, having that name on them upset me.
I am happy to say that when I approached my publishers at Seventh Star Press and Hydra Publications about my feelings on the matter, both immediately volunteered to have new editions made with my name updated. I don’t know when this will happen, but I have decided that once my current stock of books runs out, I will order no more to sell until the updates happen.
So, I’m bringing the books with my deadname on them to this convention, hoping to sell out of them. And if you don’t see them displayed, you may understand that it is because I wasn’t able to stand behind that name any more. If you want to help purge those books from my life, let me know, I will make you such a deal on them, just ask me.