February 18, 2019

Transitioning is the terminology utilized by the transgender community when physically transitioning into another gender. Throughout this process, Gerhard has been confronted with many obstacles while seeking her own happiness. “Not knowing who to go to for the hormones and how to get them, not knowing what type of doctor to see, there is just a lot of things a high schooler seeking to transition wouldn’t know, but since I’m 18 I’m expected to already know all of this,” she explains.

Her journey has not been without sacrifice. “I temporarily lost the connection with my family. But to be honest I don’t think I lost much, if anything I gained more,” she said. Some parts of her life, however, she was happy to give up, including her old name. It wasn’t an easy process finding and choosing a new name that truly fit and defined this new happiness and stage of her life, but the end result was worth it. “It’s nice finding a name that really fits you, I personally don’t like names that are close to my dead name,” she says. “I went through a few different names. Because my birthname was Nick, I thought Nicki would be easier for others, but I just didn’t like it. Then I tried Hannah for awhile, but it just didn’t work for me, then I tried a few others, like Vanessa, but those didn’t work for me, either.”

One of the challenges was that Gerhard wasn’t just finding a first name, she was also searching for a middle name. “I always hated my middle name, I remember that being a first sign of dysphoria for me. My middle name was Robert, and I just hated it.”

Finally, she settled on a name that felt right. “When I played video games at about 10 years old, there was a place in a Pokemon game called Azalea town, and I thought that was really pretty flower name. I always thought it would be a nice name to name a daughter someday,” she says. While searching for the perfect name, Gerhard remembered that moment and had an epiphany, trying the name out for herself. “It fit,” she remembers with a smile.

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