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Changing the MC's gender - questionable decision or am I overthinking?

Here's how I have it in my world with three genders: babies are not named at birth, just called by a temporary baby name until they're old enough to receive their real ones. Around the age of two or three, the child's gender is divined--this is a world where intricate forms of divination are practiced, mainly by priests (it takes some expertise to really know those intricate forms of divination). At that time, a suitable name is chosen.

So the cisgender characters have the kinds of gendered names we'd expect them to have. For my non-binary characters, I use names that are rarely if ever used in the real world and do not have a solid association with masculinity or femininity. Or names that go either way in reality. Some of the cisgender characters also have made up names, but those sound similar to real world male or female names.
 

pmmg

Vala
I think I would rather keep the genders as they are than change a characters name. While it is just a label, a simple thing like that can change the whole way i would approach the character.

I dont know what you will choose to do, but you got to give the story what you think it needs. If its been calling to you that it should have been another way, you have a bit of rewriting to do. Write the character as you envision them. They dont have to fit into anyone elses mold.
 

Vafnir

Scribe
Here's how I have it in my world with three genders: babies are not named at birth, just called by a temporary baby name until they're old enough to receive their real ones. Around the age of two or three, the child's gender is divined--this is a world where intricate forms of divination are practiced, mainly by priests (it takes some expertise to really know those intricate forms of divination). At that time, a suitable name is chosen.

The idea of not naming a baby at birth would go along with my idea of a naming ceremony quite well. I just need to decide who is the one naming the child, at the end - the parents, the child itself or someone else, like the priests in your case.

So the cisgender characters have the kinds of gendered names we'd expect them to have. For my non-binary characters, I use names that are rarely if ever used in the real world and do not have a solid association with masculinity or femininity. Or names that go either way in reality. Some of the cisgender characters also have made up names, but those sound similar to real world male or female names.
I think I would rather keep the genders as they are than change a characters name. While it is just a label, a simple thing like that can change the whole way i would approach the character.

I do want to keep the genders as they are, i.e cis-male, cis-female and third genders, such as intersex and non-binary. When it comes to names, I really like Rosemary Tea 's approach. If I understand it correctly, you have a mix of names from the real world and also some you made up yourself? That is how names in my world are, I have some real ones (Bella, Liam) and made up ones (Quince, Ikara). Gender-neutral names for non-binary characters are a thing I've been considering for potential non-binary characters anyway, but in Bella's case, she has a typically female name because she does identify as a woman despite being intersex.
The problem with my names is probably that I don't have aclear formula of names being male or female. For example, I like the name Quince very much, but there is no indication that the name is male (which it is, in my story). The next thing I am motivated to do is to establish naming rules, such as how to identify a name as masculine or feminine, and also what kind of names would be unisex/not gender-specific.
 
The idea of not naming a baby at birth would go along with my idea of a naming ceremony quite well. I just need to decide who is the one naming the child, at the end - the parents, the child itself or someone else, like the priests in your case.
Slight quibble with the details: in my story, the priests don't choose the child's name, just divine the child's gender. I realize my wording didn't make it quite clear. The name is chosen by the child's godparent, who is a close family friend or relative and has been asked by the parents to do the honor. Not only the honor of naming the child, but of serving as an additional parent (because just two parents can't do it all).

When it comes to names, I really like Rosemary Tea 's approach. If I understand it correctly, you have a mix of names from the real world and also some you made up yourself?
Yes.
The problem with my names is probably that I don't have aclear formula of names being male or female.
Do you need one?

You can simply use the naming conventions that exist in the real world. If a name is feminine in real life, it's only given to female identified characters, and if it's masculine in real life, it's only given to male identified characters. If it doesn't exist in real life (as far as you know), consider how it would land with readers. Would people think of it as feminine, or as masculine? Would it go either way? If it sounds like a name that goes either way, it can be a gender neutral name, or you could decide it's masculine or feminine in your story.
For example, I like the name Quince very much, but there is no indication that the name is male (which it is, in my story).
No? It reads as masculine to me. I could also believe a non-binary character named Quince, but I'd have trouble assigning that name to a cis female character.

In any case, you have gendered it, by giving it to a male character. Your Quince is male, therefore, Quince is a male name.
 
The gender of names is not a fixed thing. Plenty of names have "switched gender" through the years or have different genders associated with it in different languages. Though it should be noted that usually, when names switch genders it's from male to female, and not the other way round. Easy example is Lauren, which is a french male name, but it's slowly becoming a female one, especially in English speaking countries.

As a side note, not sure if you're aware, but Quince is also a fruit. It's still fine as a name (after all, plenty of people are called appel or rose), but it's something to keep in mind.
 
Easy example is Lauren, which is a french male name, but it's slowly becoming a female one, especially in English speaking countries.
Lauren has completely made the switch to female in English speaking countries. So completely that a friend of mine who is mtf transgender chose that name when she transitioned, wanting a decidedly feminine one. Men with a homonymous name still exist, but the male version is spelled Loren. Never Lauren.
 
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