Way back in college, when I first started figuring out my gender issues and felt I needed to pick a name, I tried to find one with the same initial as my boyname, L—- (I’m talking about my real name, not my blog character’s name, just so you don’t get confused). So for a while I used Linda and sometimes Lynda (because this was when Wonder Woman was on TV), but really only because I felt I had to have a femme name go to a TG support groups. But it didn’t feel like me. It felt completely artificial.

At the time, I was really into the Irish author James Joyce (still am, but in a non-professional way these days), reading, enjoying, and doing research in Ulysses and Dubliners particularly and his play Exiles in a bibliographic way, and I think it was my friend Honoria who said, “You ought to use Joyce since he’s such a big deal to you.” And I initially thought that was a horrible idea, but it planted in my head and grew and kept coming up every time I thought about what to call myself, Joyce was at the top of the list.

It’s been my femme name for so long (since the mid-, or perhaps late-80′s) that I would turn my head when people called “Joyce” in public, even well before I transitioned. When, a couple of years ago, Mary Jo and I began talking seriously about my transitioning, we bounced hundred of names around, but Joyce felt (and still feels, fortunately) completely natural, that all of these other names sounded quite fake. As a result, the name is one of the few things that hasn’t felt incredibly weird to me these past months.

For your statistical edification, let’s look at the Social Security Administration’s database of baby names. You will see that the name was ranked 837th in 2007, and as you go backwards in time, it was considerably more popular, a whopping 50th in my birth year of 1959, and 21st ten years before that, and peaking in popularity at 11th (!), in both 1937 and 1938. So if I had been looking for a generation-appropriate name, I think Joyce qualifies.

Birth
Year Rank
2007 837
2006 830
2005 802
2004 760
2003 738
2002 703
2001 677
2000 669
1999 676
1998 685
1997 663
1996 651
1995 605
1994 603
1993 561
1992 539
1991 526
1990 479
1989 481
1988 478
1987 406
1986 410
1985 415
1984 382
1983 359
1982 353
1981 340
1980 330
1979 320
1978 298
1977 285
1976 248
1975 219
1974 200
1973 209
1972 206
1971 182
1970 164
1969 147
1968 128
1967 116
1966 100
1965 90
1964 87
1963 83
1962 74
1961 62
1960 58
1959 50
1958 46
1957 40
1956 30
1955 29
1954 28
1953 26
1952 27
1951 28
1950 27
1949 26
1948 21
1947 20
1946 20
1945 18
1944 18
1943 16
1942 13
1941 13
1940 13
1939 12
1938 11
1937 11
1936 12
1935 12
1934 12
1933 12
1932 12
1931 15
1930 18
1929 23
1928 30
1927 35
1926 44
1925 59
1924 83
1923 103
1922 126
1921 137
1920 153
1919 173
1918 170
1917 185
1916 221
1915 238
1914 247
1913 290
1912 305
1911 339
1910 337
1909 378
1908 350