My legal name today is Robin Hawley Gorsline. In 1946, I was born Robert Howard Gorsline. I chose to go through a legal name change process in 1992 for several reasons:
- My family had called me “Robin” since birth. It felt more comfortable, and also more fitting to my gay self than Robert.
- I also wanted to honor my mother’s family name, Hawley.
I did not tell my mother until I completed the official change because I was afraid she would object and I would back down out of concern for her feelings (my father died about a decade earlier).
I should have trusted my heart. When I told her, she had news for me. It turns out that she had wanted to name me Robin Hawley Gorsline, but gave way to my father’s desire to have me named after him (he was grieving the untimely death of his first son from a previous marriage).
They made a deal: I would receive the legal name of my father, but they would call me Robin, and they would tell no one.
However, apparently I knew anyway. My real name was inside me all the time.