Transgender naming

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I know in individual credits, we can use the “credited as” to accommodate misspellings and other alternate names. As well as assigning an “alias” to the artist page.
But my question is for the actual artist page title.

A musician has credits as a male.
He went and did the surgery, and is now a female with a new name. He, who is now a she, has credits with the new female name.

So, the question is ----
Should the artist page be listed as the birth (male) name, or the current female name?

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I would definitely use the current name (and gender).


I usually like apply “artist intent” for these cases. “What does the artist want to be called?” For living and active artists, this is usually fairly easy to determine as it is the name used on their most recent release or on their website or social media profiles etc.

Some people argue that they should be filed under the name they’re most known as, but I think this goes against the currently used “best practices”, like using an artist’s native name (rather than English name) and the principles of our “artist intent” principle. As you say yourself, we can store “old” artist names in artist credits as well as in the artist’s aliases.

(I personally think the more interesting thing here is the Artist:gender value. Should we “retrofit” their new gender on their old recordings? Or should they be split up into one “male” and one “female” artist linked somehow? But alas, that’s a discussion for another topic. :slight_smile:)


I thought gender would be easy, which is why I didn’t bring it up - it is “other”, because it is both. “other” is an option, and it is better than leaving it blank. Blank is blank. Unanswered. But other says “we answered the question, but can’t answer the question.”

Names, however, like any other artist changing their name… Not so easy.
Puff Daddy. P. Diddy. Diddy. Puffy. Sean Combs. Sean “P. Diddy” Combs.
His page should have been opened under Puff Daddy, because that was his first name (to my knowledge). All other names then become are aliases.

It would be easier if the person is retired when they transition, or if they transition before fame - because credits would all be the same. But, not in this case. In this case, there are credits under both names.

Which is why I am here asking.

Speaking from personal experience, transgender (not transexual, unless someone explicitly prefers that term) people usually prefer to be known as their experienced gender and associated name, even retroactively. I realize there’s not much we can do about past credits (unless something were re-released under the current name), but I would definitely not go so far as creating separate artists for pre and post transition. They’re still the same person. In fact, I would say change the artist page even if none of the credits are in the new name.


I just looked up a rather well-known artist, Wendy Carlos (originally Walter Carlos), and I think that the way it has been entered is quite well done. The gender is shown as Female, which is in keeping with @psychoadept’s experience. Prior work is credited to Walter Carlos, which is shown as an alias.

As an aside, I’m trying to decide how to file my collection of CD’s for the artist that published as John Cougar, John Cougar Mellencamp, John Mellencamp and finally just Mellencamp. :slight_smile:


I’ll repeat - I thought gender was the easy part. I was concerned about the name issue, lol.
Artist has credits as both male and female, so the gender should be “other”. Otherwise, we credit a dude with being a chick and vice versa.
See, to me, Bruce Jenner will always be a male Olympian. He wasn’t a girl competing in the men’s events. He was a man in men’s events. He can be female in life. But his “credit” was male.
In the case of Carlos, as with the one I found, the credits were from both genders - which makes it different. IMO.

But the “which name” is the sticky part. And it isn’t even limited to the trans-gender (see, I learned something) artists. It is applicable to the various Mellencamps and Diddys of the world. Which name do we use - or symbol, in the case of Prince.

I can see where a site that allows free-form prose, like Wikipedia, can get away with choosing one gender - because they have the option of writing a biography that explains the male/female issue, complete with transition timeline. MB does not have that.

Again, I am still new, still learning. I am simply asking the question, and voicing the opinion and thought process. Otherwise, I will do it wrong and get yelled at for doing it wrong.

You’re right that gender is the easy part, but you use the gender that someone asks you to use. Always, even in past tense. It really doesn’t matter who someone is or was to you. What matters is who they are to themselves, which is who they have always been - you just didn’t know it.


And that sort of stuff is fine in life. I’m “woke”, I’m good.
But, going back to Jenner, it wasn’t a woman competing in a man’s event. Changing it to female for his credit gives future historians an unhistorical reference. We understand it today because it is current. But in 2217, when the aliens come and want to learn about us - they are going to think a woman competed against men.
:bad example, since the the IOC renamed the records. But I think you see what I am talking about.

Here’s a question - why does MB have “other” as a gender if not for situations like this?
One person with credits as both male and female. Options are - male, female, other, or to leave blank.

I just want to do it right.

Because some people don’t consider themselves either :slight_smile:


LOL, when I said I was woke, I have my limits. Male, female, and those that have changed from one to the other. But I don’t buy into the 32 pronouns that New York City accepts.

I asked the question, and that is the answer.

Sorry for reopening this rather old topic, but I just couldn’t resist giving my two cents since I am transgender myself.

I think the most important points have been made before: Everybody should be addressed and credited by the gender they identify as, their chosen name and their preferred pronouns.

Two things I’d like to add:

I agree, except with one sentence on Wendy’s info site:

It should be noted that this artist originally performed as Walter Carlos and only became Wendy Carlos after a sex change operation.

This sentence made me barf in my mouth a little. This makes it sound like you have to have a gender reassignment surgery to live as the gender you identify as. That is not true. Unless she specifically stated that the surgery for her was the tipping point in her transition from which on she identified as Wendy and no longer as Walter this sentence makes no sense.

I’d suggest changing it to:

It should be noted that this artist originally performed as Walter Carlos and only started releasing music as Wendy Carlos after she publicly came out as transgender in 1979.

And the second thing I’d like to say:
Since we agree that the correct term is transgender can we please change the topic title?


Let’s not force others to use specific language.

The text on Walter/Wendy Carlos own website is his/her personal statement and decision.
If it says that ‘he’ became ‘she’ after an operation, why should anyone else question that?

The choice of words for the topic title of this thread is describing an honest question by the OP, and is, and should be his/hers to choose.
If the OP has second thoughts about the description or terminology, the OP is free to decide to see if it can be changed.
But it shouldn’t be anybody elses to decide or change it.


Really? It says that on her own site? Could you point me to where it says that, I couldn’t find it. If that’s really the case than of course we should leave the sentence as is, but I think a reference to her site where it says that should be added.

So you wouln’t think the topic title should be changed to something more appropriate either if it e.g. contained the n-word?

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Let’s not change the title.
I mean, it is, after all, part of the learning process.


Are you saying that ‘transsexual’ is an offending word?

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Every term that you wrongfully use as an umbrella term for a bigger group of people is offending to most people you use it for. E.g. I am from Austria - some people call us “Schluchtenscheisser” (people who defecate into canyons) and while some of us my really defecate into canyons and even identify as Schluchtescheisser, it’s offensive to use that term for all of us. I don’t even live anywhere near a canyon.

Btw, “sex change operation” is the wrong term too. It’s called (from Wikipedia):

Sex reassignment surgery or SRS (also known as gender reassignment surgery, gender confirmation surgery, genital reconstruction surgery, gender-affirming surgery, or sex realignment surgery)


We’ve had 150 years since the American Civil War to adjust our language. It is fairly well known that “the N word” is offensive.

Vagina and rhinoplasty.
Is anyone going to get pissy when say pussy and nose job?

I’m gonna leave it at this.
I’m glad, and appreciating that you are making your case with some humor.

But I happen to know some Austrians, and now I learned a new word, I will certainly address them with it the very next time I meet with them :wink:
(I surely hope they have a sense of humor too)