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New Author's Byline

One of the issues I have been wondering about for some time was whether I should publish under a different name.The name I was born with, Geoffrey Edwards, despite the efforts of my parents to create a unique name, is used by several other individuals with a certain level of notoriety. Hence there was an actor who died a few years ago, and there is a British political scientist who, like me, publishes in academic journals, although fortunately not the same ones. Julie Andrews' son from her marriage with Blake Edwards, is also called Geoffrey Edwards.

I had considered using a pseudonym - these are actually common for writers, and doubly so for writers who have or have had a career in another area. But to be honest, I would rather my books be associated with my own name, and not some other.

During some recent exchanges with a close friend, we talked about my sense of myself as being gender fluid. Out of the range of terms that have emerged in recent years to describe different aspects of gender identity, this is the term I feel most strongly reflects my ambiguities. I am not trans, I have no desire to abandon my own masculine body. Nor am I gay, or even bi. I prefer not to use the expression heterosexual, however, since I do not identify as only male. Nor do I see myself, strictly speaking, as cisgender, since my gender identity does not align with my birth gender. However, although I have had a great many misgivings about openly acknowledging my gender fluid status, I finally determined that I could use a gender fluid variation on my name as my official author's name. This would serve two goals. It would affirm my gender fluid status, and it would create a unique byline for my books. And so I have taken on the name "Geoffreyjen Edwards".

Technically speaking, this is a pseudonym. I have to use my birthname for legal documents - I do not plan on legally changing my name at this point. But I have started to modify my social media accounts to reflect the new name, and some of my friends have started to call me "Geoffreyjen", or "GJ" for short. I like it. Why "jen" as a suffix? Quite simply, "Jennifer" was the name my parents chose if I had been born female.

A final note on the image I use on my author's website (see banner image above). This is a NASA image showing an unusual planetary nebula created by an intermittent shockwave passing through the interstellar medium. I use it because it portrays almost exactly a scene from one of the later books in The Ido Chronicles. As far as I know, the image is in the public domain, and I do credit NASA whenever I can.

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Dearest Geoffreyjen, how beautifully and articulate you describe your process into accepting and coming out with your innermost reality. You are thus contributing to the increasing open-mindedness in the culture towards the great variety of humankind. We are the One and the Many. Andrea (my own bi-gendered name)

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