What we are called

As an adolescent growing up, my name caused me great embarrassment and I hated anything that was Asian. How I wished to be Mary Smith.Kitty Vivekanada, Sydney, 1992

Our names can be a blessing or a burden. Love or hate them, keep or change them or constantly have to explain them.

The name we are given is our first step towards a separate identity. Names can also signal a connection to our family or a particular religion, language or community.

There are times when our name sets us apart. People ask: 'How do you pronounce that?' 'That's an interesting name. Where does it come from?' or 'How do you spell that?'

The impulse to change our name can be compelling. Getting married? Need to disappear? Feeling pressure to assimilate or fit in?

Ali becomes Alan. Xiao Yun becomes Claudia. Anastasia becomes Stacey.

Meet Vera, hear her story.

Watch this video with a transcript