Hi. I’m Eris. Today we’re celebrating!
Over the last year and a half, my transition has taken me to some pretty cool places. Since coming out as genderfluid, I’ve been able to use my platform (and my artistry!) to better represent and speak to the experiences of gender-marginalized people on a broader scale than before. During this time, I’ve spent quality time (lots of it) considering how I want to be addressed and approached. With the support of my closest friends and loved ones, I’ve made it to the point where I can finally, confidently say: hi. My name is Eris.
Beginning today, December 1, 2021, I will no longer be answering to my deadname (the name many of you have previously known me as)—for any reason. Over the past several weeks, I’ve updated all my scores and sent out replacement copies to everyone I have a record of who’s bought, downloaded, or commissioned a piece from me over the years. If you’re on that list and haven’t seen an email (or several) from me, check your spam folder, and if there’s anything you’re missing, drop me a line. (In a couple cases, emails have bounced, so if you’ve moved emails since we last corresponded, reach out to get your score!)
Moving forward, all of my professional (music/artistic) content will be available through https://erisdejarnett.com, and I’ve already pivoted most of my socials to be @honestlyeris. (I remain HeyItsEris on Twitch.) If you need something and my Contact page isn’t the right move, you can reach me at eris [at] erisdejarnett [dot] com. I won’t be checking old email addresses much anymore!
I’m sure many of you have questions about this decision and what we’re doing to celebrate, so I’ve answered a few big ones below, ordered (generally) from most fun to least fun (and there’s some information on how to get ahold of cheap-or-free music in there too!). For anything not answered here, check out my newly-expanded FAQ and keep your eyes peeled for more posts to come!
If you’re looking for resources, I’ve also included a couple infographics at the very bottom about practicing new names and pronouns. I hope they’re helpful!
Why announce today?
Realistically, I could’ve picked any day to announce my new name, but today is extra special because Diversify the Stand is releasing the first part of an interview I did on their podcast under my new name! Ashley and Carrie have been great to work with, from the very first email to now—especially considering the late-night “hey, I think I’d actually like to be introduced by this name I haven’t yet started using” message I sent two days before recording. Ashley is a longtime friend, and sharing that initial moment of claiming my name with her and Carrie was so, so precious to me. Check out Part One of my interview today, and stay tuned for Part Two next week (it drops on my birthday, which we DID NOT PLAN AT ALL but will be a wonderful distraction from sitting at the computer trying to buy health insurance).
What are we doing to celebrate?
A bunch of stuff, actually! Here’s the list I’ve put together, but feel free to add your own:
- Kind messages are always appreciated! (But also not required, if you’re Tired™ like me and can’t bear to be in contact with people any longer than necessary. If you do reach out, I’ll get back to you when I’m able, but I’m guessing there may be more than a couple things arriving in my inboxes today.)
- Update me in your contacts! Seriously. Some of y’all are going to forget, and seeing it in your phone will help you learn the new name way faster. (Tip: put people’s pronouns in the Notes section of their contact! That way you can update as needed but have the info around if it’s been awhile since you’ve talked to/about them.)
- I’d love to get a lot of scores with my new name out into the world relatively quickly, and my newly-redone website now has a Real Actual Store(!!!), so for the month of December, every score in my shop is $5 off. On top of that, you can use the coupon code BuryTheDeadname to get 50% off up to two scores currently priced at $10 or more (in a single transaction). If you’re looking for something currently unavailable (delayed delivery), use the form on that piece’s page to drop me a line and tell me you’d like to apply the coupon when it’s available.
- You can also stream or buy my new release, The Dead Scar, when it comes out on Bandcamp Friday (December 3, 2021). This is the beginning of a new project called From the Ashes that’ll probably span the course of the next six to twelve months; I’m hoping to release a new piece every month, but we’ll see how that ends up working with my spring schedule. (And yes, WoW nerds, that is the reference you’re thinking it is.)
- You can come to my birthday celebration on Twitch! Even though it’s the week before finals, I’m going to take a break from grading and hang out on stream with everyone on Wednesday, December 8. We’ll talk a little about the Diversify the Stand podcasts, play some Rocket League (or maybe Sims 4?), and I’ll make sure my cats make an appearance. I’ll try to get the ball rolling before the East Coast goes to bed, but I’m having Birthday Dinner: Takeout Edition (Year 2) with my partner, so no guarantees.
- I’m throwing a Q&A/party over on my Patreon! Sign up to become a Patron (any tier) during the month of December and get access to the conversation, which will be held on Saturday, January 1, 2022, at 1PM Arizona time (12 Pacific/1 Mountain/2 Central/3 Eastern) in a Patrons-only channel on my Discord. We’ll be talking about identity, questioning, the process of coming out and transitioning, and helpful resources for both queer folks and their loved ones. I’ll talk about my journey a little more openly than I’m prepared to with the general public right now, and I might invite some of my mods/close friends to come and share their own experiences surrounding my transition. You’ll be able to submit questions in advance, too! Tier 1 subscriptions are just a dollar a month. If you can swing it, I’d love to have you!
- Along with the Q&A perk for all Patrons, I’m launching new Patreon bonus incentives for the 2022 calendar year. Join me on Patreon at Tier 2 or higher and get access to Patrons-only listening parties before I publicly release new works (which at least next year should be fairly often). Join at Tier 3 or higher and, if you subscribe for four months or more, get a 10% discount on a single commission contracted in 2022. Join at Tier 4 and, on top of profuse gratitude, get 20% off a single commission contracted in 2022 if you stick around for four months or more. And all these new perks are on top of all the other stuff I already offer my Patrons, including a newsletter and sneak peeks at works-in-progress!
How can I make sure I’m being supportive if I present your work/talk about you moving forward?
I’ve got some more specific tips in my FAQ, but here’s a few big ones that will have a HUGE impact:
- Actively practice my name and pronouns until it feels easy and natural. Generally, I recommend some intentional practice when you’re starting out and then localized practice as necessary from there. Use my name and pronouns in a bunch of sentences, whether you’re talking to yourself, speaking with a friend, or writing on paper/virtually/etc. As time passes, localize that practice to correcting yourself several times when you slip up. It’ll get more consistent as you go, though you might have a weird day or two every once in awhile where you mess up a lot. (Anecdotally, my first time learning new pronouns took about six months to get to the point where I never messed up for any reason. I’m faster with names, but you might be the inverse.) More on practicing in the infographic below.
- Never use my deadname on purpose. Deadnames get their name not because a person has died but because the name (and, usually, some of the gendered associations we’ve made with it) no longer exists. Some slip-ups are going to happen, but if you’re deadnaming me intentionally (for any reason), you are being transphobic.
- Shut down any transphobia that may arise when interacting with or presenting my work, especially if you’re in a position of power (presenter, teacher, guest artist, etc.). If you’re talking about me and someone else is being a shit, continue using my correct name and pronouns. A general statement like “we respect names and pronouns here” or “if you aren’t willing to respect Eris, we will have to ask you to leave” are good scripts if you need to address something more head-on in a public environment. But do ask people to leave if they keep being asses. (If it’s a student, you might want to talk about the importance of respecting artists’ identities instead, but familiarize yourself with your institute’s code of conduct/diversity statement/etc. so you know if you have documentation to support you. The Biden administration currently interprets Title IX as also protecting gender identity, so if you’re in the U.S., there’s already some stuff working in your favor.)
- Consider the implications of where you’re presenting my work. I do not belong on a “women composers concert,” since I’m nonbinary. If you’re trying to highlight the works of gender-marginalized composers, that’s cool, but there should be representation from other nonbinary/gender-expansive folks, trans men, trans women, and culture-specific genders on those concerts, too.
- Remember, my identity and journey are not appropriate stand-ins/generalizations for all trans (or nonbinary, or gender-expansive) people. All of us are different.
- Start taking a stand in defense of trans people! The first five months of 2021 saw more anti-trans bills proposed than in the last ten years combined. We need cis people to be standing up and protesting our discrimination, because oftentimes y’all are the ones who are called to comment on our existence, not us. Your voices go a long way!
Why did you change your name?
Two reasons, really: one, many of my closest friends and loved ones have been calling me Eris in at least some contexts for a couple years, and two, my gender most days involves a lot of question marks and I wanted my name to spark at least a couple of those in folks.
I am bad at names, and I might screw this up. (not a question, but probably a common concern.)
I am also bad at names! If you’re trying, and you accept corrections when people point out your slip-ups, you’re doing the important work. The least awkward, least labor-inducing way to navigate corrections is to accept them with a quick thanks, rather than an apology. “Right, Eris! Thanks!” (or, if you must, “right, Eris! Sorry!”) rather than “I’m so sorry, it’s going to take me awhile to learn, I’ve known you by this other name for so long…” That makes it my job to make you feel better about using a name for me that feels bad, rather than just acknowledging that it’s a work in progress and moving on.
You really changed your name to one letter different than your brother’s? (actually completely fine with this question as it is HILARIOUS.)
Yup. Mom’s already started accidentally calling me Eric. It’s really funny. I’m also 100% sure I will at some point unintentionally put his name on one of my scores.
What if you regret it later? (this is very invasive.)
Funny enough, you can legally change your name more than once. I’m not worried about it.
Don’t you like the name your parents gave you? (also very invasive. yuck.)
I’m keeping two-thirds of it, so overall I’d say so! They particularly hit it out of the park with my middle name—I’m adding another one, but the original’s still hanging out. And I decided many years ago that I’m not changing my last name when I get married, so I’m pleased to inform everyone who thought this was an appropriate question to ask that exactly zero people in my family even bothered to entertain this thought.
Can I deadname you if I need to make clear who you are to someone who knows you but hasn’t heard your new name?
NO. NO, NO, NO, NO. ABSOLUTELY NOT.
Somehow, a lot of cis people have it in their heads that this is acceptable, and while you may run into the occasional trans person who’s less opposed to it, as a general practice, you should NEVER EVER do this to anyone. It’s called a deadname for a reason. While names are part of how we remember people quickly, there are other ways of making that connection. You can mention things about me that this person would remember, like “we had improv class together at CalArts” or “they have a whole bunch of sexual assault pieces” or “your cousin” or “Steve and Robin’s eldest” or “our Counterpoint TA” or “composer of [title]” or “the one who really likes pissing off ICD.” Because my last name is the same and very distinctive (unless you’re related to me), you can just use that, exactly like you would if I was talking about an Ashley or a Nick and you very understandably didn’t have enough information to know which one I was talking about! DEADNAMES STAY DEAD. It’s unacceptable, transphobic, and actively hostile to continue to use my deadname in any context unless I have specifically requested that you personally use it in a very specific situation. Acknowledging names and pronouns is a fundamental way in which we show respect. Anyone who I find out is intentionally deadnaming me will not be permitted to perform my work anymore. (And you shouldn’t be doing it to any of the other trans people in your life, either.)
I am not going to use your new name or your pronouns.
Then don’t play my work. Thanks for stopping by!
I know that for some of you, this update will take awhile to sink in. Like basically everything else we do, the fastest way to improve is to practice. I have full faith in all of you, especially given how many of us are musicians who spend our lives repeating the same small behaviors hoping to get better at them. If you’re new to learning new names (and pronouns, if you missed that smaller update), I’ve made you a primer. Just scroll down.
Your support of my work, whether you found me recently or have been around since very nearly the beginning, has meant the world to me, and I’m so glad our paths brought us together. I’m so excited to continue sharing my work with you!
Thanks for reading! If you learned something from this post and would like to tip me, head on over to my Ko-fi page. For more analysis and commentary like this in your life, come back every Saturday at 8pm MST. To support the long-term work I do as an artist and advocate, you can find me on Patreon and @honestlyeris on Instagram.