Award-winning performance poet changes name to Kae Tempest
The award-winning performance poet Kate Tempest has announced a change of name and pronoun. The poet said on Instagram: “Hello old fans, new fans and passers by - I’m changing my name! And I’m changing my pronouns. From Kate to Kae. From she/her to they/them.”
Tempest added: “I’ve been struggling to accept myself as I am for a long time. I have tried to be what I thought others wanted me to be so as not to risk rejection. This hiding from myself has led to all kinds of difficulties in my life. And this is a first step towards knowing and respecting myself better.”
Kae Tempest won the Ted Hughes award for innovative work in 2013. They were named a Next Generation Poet by the Poetry Book Society, and their albums Everybody Down and Let Them Eat Chaos have been nominated for the Mercury music prize. The latter's accompanying poetry book (also titled Let Them Eat Chaos) was nominated for the Costa Book of the Year in the poetry category.
Tempest said: “I’ve loved Kate. But I am beginning a process and I hope you’ll come with me. From today - I will be publishing my books and releasing my music as Kae Tempest! It’s pronounced like the letter K. It’s an old English word that means jay bird. Jays are associated with communication, curiosity, adaptation to new situations and COURAGE which is the name of the game at the moment.”
“Funny because I know this is much more of a big deal to me than it is to anyone else, but because of my role as artist, it is in some ways a public decision as well as being a private one. So, here is my announcement. Sending my love to you all and wishing you courage as you face whatever you must face today. This is a time of great reckoning. Privately, locally, globally. For me, the question is no longer ‘when will this change’ but ‘how far am I willing to go to meet the changes and bring them about in myself.’ I want to live with integrity. And this is a step towards that.”
PHOTOGRAPH: KAE TEMPEST/ INSTAGRAM