Out with Ellens, in with the Elliots — Part 1 of 2

Arielle Isaac Norman
13 min readDec 28, 2020

They should’ve changed his name to Elliot years ago. It’s what most of us dude-spirit lesbians have always done. Jacquelines goes by Jack. The Katherines are Kats. Courtneys might go with Cory. Hopefully the Tiffanys have middle names to utilize, or else they can just go by T.

I never had to change mine because it’s Arielle, which, while technically my parents used the French feminization of a Hebrew male name, still causes enough gender uncertainty to work fine for me. Notice that Elliot, like so many afab* trans men and non-binaries— whether hes or he/theys — went with a cutesy androgynous name rather than a fully masculinized Robert, William, or Brian.

I get it. We’ve always been the little boy ones. Everyone knows that. Some people have been trying to change us since we were toddlers, but even so attempting they were acknowledging our problematic boyishness. Nowadays we even might be on to the science of it all as it looks like we vagina people of the strong jawlines, attraction to women, and, at least in my case, menopausal/teen boy/new trans boy amount of facial and body hair, probably got some extra testosterone in utero.

I think of us as a variety of women, but many people, especially those any younger than I (born in ’86) am, have decided it’s better to think of us as males or neither/boths. I certainly think of myself as medium. I think of myself as boyish. While this has been a challenging space to figure out how to occupy, as with all difficult things, it’s also a hugely rewarding one.

When I first became aware of E. Page as a person, it was when Juno was making waves (2007) and I realized this was the same actor who’d been such a cute little badass in Hard Candy (2005). Page was exactly six months my junior and bore a striking resemblance to my college (2004–2008) crush (and future ex-wife); from the time the movie came out, Juno became my crush’s celebrity look-alike, and she was sometimes actually mistaken for E.P. from across a street.

Apparently, we had all known (or guessed) Page’s sexuality before it had occurred to Ell. Despite her having mated with a dweeby boy, we all saw Juno’s facial structure, heard that slightly raspy voice on that tiny frame, how good those layered flannels looked, the matter of factness of-

Arielle Isaac Norman

Comedian and podcaster (Gender Fluids & Wrong Questions Only)