Posted by: Chelsea Novak | September 7, 2006

The last days of Chelsea Gay

Last week when M and I were creating the placecards for the reception he asked me “So what name do I put down for you?” For some reason I freaked out a bit and asked him to put down my maiden name. He looked at me kind of funny and all I could say was “Just for now. I just.. just my maiden name for now.”

Changing my name has been something I’ve thought about for years. My name has not been without it’s challenges. Some have said that it’s a very pretty name, though most have reacted to it with the typical stream of tired jokes. I really won’t be missing those at all and I’ll enjoy that people may have to work a little harder to find something to instantly mock about me. Not much harder, but a least it may inspire some variety in the barbs.

Reactions to the news that I’m changing my name have been mixed. My family has been very supportive of my wishes, which was really key. Some people have reacted with total shock and indignance, which I find puzzling. Wasn’t the whole equal rights thing about giving people the choice to do what they want without being maligned for it? If you want to keep your name, awesome, if you want to change your name, awesome too. What’s important is that it’s your choice.

Philosophically I’ve been ready to do this for a long time. I really love the idea of sharing a name with M and it’s a totally awesome name, so I’m trading up. I thought I was totally ready for the change but my reaction last week threw me for a bit of a loop.

Suddenly it was very real. It wasn’t me sitting in a meeting, bored out of my mind, practicing my new signature (oh how I mourn the loss of my wonderful cursive “g” and “y”), it was that in a matter of days my name was going to change. I was troubled about it until I spoke with a friend who is getting married two weeks after I am, who is also changing her name. She had exactly the same reaction when creating her place cards and for some reason, I felt better and like it was a normal reaction.

A name is just a name. My ego is not so delicate that I derive my personal strength from my name. Sure, there’s a great deal of sentiment (both positive and negative) associated with it, but it’s just a name. Who I am won’t be changing, just the way people address me will be.

The actual process of assuming M’s last name will take me months. There are many documents to wait for from the government and then many offices to visit to get new ID. But on Saturday it all begins. The last day of Chelsea Gay.

So while I make my last preparations for the wedding and becoming Chelsea Novak (and putting Chelsea Novak on my reception place card), if you’re so inclined, please leave your favourite joke about my maiden name. You’ve got just about 56 hours to get them all in.

Today’s sing-a-long song: “Keep It Gay” from The Producers




  1. Pani Novakova!

    No jokes, just wanted to declare it.

    I was wondering if we’d be hearing from you before the big day. I was like, sheesh, does she have a lot to do or something?

    Um, your new initials will be CAN, right? Very patriotic. Also could lend itself to toilet jokes.

    I’m so bummed I won’t be there for the wedding and I miss you terribly!

    Welcome to my section of the alphabet!


  2. I was married a couple of weeks ago and changed my name happily 🙂 though the challenge of changing everything over is well .. time consuming : /

    congratulations and sending wishes for a wonderful day!! : )

  3. Speaking from the recent side o fhte big 3-0…it ain’t as bad as it seemed only shirt days ago. Sure I’m now 30….but inside i still feel about 25, honestly, and think I will for some time to come.

    Remember…you got friends over here!!

  4. I agree that the choice is what’s important – no need to make a statement if it’s not what you want. But I confess I feel quite sentimental about this change in your name. It’s not a new you, but it’s a new, more grown-up era. I’ll be thinking about you guys tomorrow, and really really really wishing I was there. I hope it’s a fantastic day!
    Much love,

  5. Hi Chelsea

    We hope everything goes well for you today and please drop by for a chat when you have a few minutes to spare.

    Best wishes from your friends at the X-Realms:

    Stewart, Kerryn, Daniel, Lory, Mitch, Dave, Cameron, Rob, Carlos & Eric the Transvestite.

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