Gender Identity

Re: “Dani”

On the off chance that anyone visiting the website is wondering why I’ve shifted from referring to myself as “Dan” to going by “Dani”, I imagine some explanatory comments would be appreciated. “Dani” is a nickname, but the more feminine variation isn’t arbitrary. I’ve had difficulties with gender dysphoria for a while now (to put it mildly), and since the world seems to be moving towards greater acceptance of transgender and gender nonconforming folks I’ve started trying to be more open.

To keep it brief:

  • What label? For the most part I describe myself as transfeminine, but that’s an adjective rather than a noun. I suppose the standard nomenclature for someone in my situation would be trans woman, but I’m very early in gender affirmation, so I’m being intentionally vague at this point.

  • Which name? Almost every version of my name appears to be in use in some context and I’m not especially bothered by that. My legal name is still Daniel, but I’m likely to switch to Danielle - and as of 2018 I’ve changed my academic publication name from Daniel to Danielle. In everyday life I mostly go by Dani, but in all honesty Dan doesn’t upset me - Dan and Dani are both perfectly sensible contractions of Danielle, and (if used as contractions of Danielle) I’m happy with either one.

  • Which pronoun? Pronouns are giving me a little grief. It’s very clear that my preference is she/her, and because my gender presentation is pretty much exclusively feminine these days, I’m starting to feel a little uncomfortable with he/him. That said, it’s a slow process! Convincing myself that it’s (now) socially acceptable for me to state a preference isn’t coming easily, and I’m trying not to rush things.

  • How public is this? It’s pretty much public knowledge at this point, despite obviously being a work in progress.

  • Transition? It depends on what you’re asking. Transgender people often distinguish between the social, legal and medical aspects to transition - they’re qualitatively distinct from one another, and are associated with different issues. I’m almost entirely socially transitioned at this point, very much to my own astonishment. Perhaps unsurprisingly, legal and medical aspects are a little more complicated, but neither one is especially relevant to my professional life… so perhaps best not to discuss either one in this context.

  • Is this awkward? Oh my yes.

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Danielle Navarro
Associate Professor of Cognitive Science