Former Backstreet Boys singer AJ McLean is publicly speaking out in support of his nine-year-old daughter Ava changing her name to “Elliott.”
News of the daughter’s name change broke when his wife Rochelle shared a photo of Ava holding a sign that said “Elliott’s First Day of 4th Grade!”
“When my daughter asked to change her name to Elliott, initially, I didn’t know if it was a transgender thing, which it is not, but it is a personal choice,” McLean told People Magazine. “And it is her body, it’s her name, it’s her everything. And she’s still Ava. She’ll always be Ava to me.”
“But at the same time, whatever reasoning it is, that’s hers, and I’m going to support it a million percent, my wife will [too],” the former boy band member added.
McLean said that the name change doesn’t necessarily mean that his daughter is transgender.
The singer said that his daughter went to him a year ago and said, “Dad, I just feel like my name is not that unique and not that original, and there’s a lot of Avas at dance and a lot of Avas at school.”
“She just finished watching Pete’s Dragon, and she loved the name Elliot, but with two Ts,” he continued. “Now it just rolls off the tongue. Now she’s Elliott.”
The girl’s mother also posted on Instagram that the name change is not a “gender thing.”
“For those asking … not that it’s anyone’s business but Elliott’s name change is not a gender thing,” Rochelle wrote. She said that the daughter had tried out a few names before deciding on that one.
“She wanted something unique that no one else had (There are so many Ava’s). I didn’t really see the harm in respecting her desire to be unique,” the mom wrote.
She added that she finds it a “little odd” that parents pick names for children and “expect them to forever indentify[sic] as that person.”
“Anyway … so that’s how Ava became Elliott. I knew once I put it out there people would have opinions, but be kind,” she continued. “She’s just a kid trying to make her way in this crazy world! I just want her to know she can always be whoever she wants to be”