What is a deadname? Sunny Laprade TikTok controversy explained

Sunny Laprade deadnaming controversy (image via Fetty images)
A user accidentally guessed Sunny Laprade deadname in her TikTok comments (image via Fetty images)

New York Comedy Club's Sunny Laprade has gone viral on TikTok after she asked her fans not to search for or use her deadname in the comments section.

On November 09, 2022, the transgender comedian posted a video on her TikTok channel, @sunnlylcomedy, addressing the controversial issue of deadnaming. The caption for her video said:

"PLEASE don’t actually try and find my deadname! Don’t make me regret posting this!!!"

In the video, the comedian talks about a user who accidentally deadnamed her, and pleads with followers to avoid using her former name in the comment section.

What is deadnaming and why is it harmful?

Deadname is the birth name of someone within the trans and non-binary community (ENBY) who has chosen to go by a different name that better aligns with their identity. It is basically their former name before their transition. Deadnaming is the act of referring to someone (intentionally or not) using their pre-transition name.

When someone transitions, they often change their name to something they feel comfortable with and something that represents their identity better. Deadnaming a transgender person could give them the impression that you don't respect them. According to child and adolescent psychiatrist Jason Lambrese, MD:

“It can remind them of that period in their lives before they could take steps to affirm who they are. Deadnaming might bring them back into those more negative times in their lives. And often, that gender dysphoria can be associated with depression and anxiety."

Sunny Laprade TikTok video and the deadname controversy

Laprade uploaded the video on her TikTok early in the morning on Wednesday, November 9, 2022. She said that someone, "as a joke, accidentally," guessed her deadname in her TikTok comments. She continued to say how every time she mentioned her deadname, the comment section is filled with users trying to guess "whacky and unconventional" names in an attempt to be funny.

While guessing is not the issue, the comedian claims her actual deadname is "whacky and unconventional," and a user accidentally guessed her deadname.

Laprade ended the video by stating that it is very easy to find her deadname and joked:

"So, if you feel the need to try and guess my deadname as a joke in my TikTok comments, WHICH YOU SHOULDN'T DO, but if you have to, if you absolutely have to, at the very least google search to make sure you don't accidentally get it right!"

Sunny Laprade's video has garnered over 850,000 views already. Here is the shared video.

Disclaimer: The video in this article contains strong language; viewer discretion is advised.

Soon after posting the video, Sunny Laprade used her Twitter account, @sunnylcomedy, to express disappointment in her viewers, stating,

I made a whole video about how I don’t like when people jokingly guess my deadname in my comments and the FIRST COMMENT was someone jokingly guessing my deadname

The deadnaming didn't stop and the comedian again tweeted on November 10, 2022,

Image via Twitter/@sunnylcomedy
Image via Twitter/@sunnylcomedy

Sunny Laprade is an American comedian known for her work on Paranormal Caught on Camera as well as her New York Comedy Club shows.


She has a large TikTok following, with over 230,000 and 13 million likes. Her content focuses on relatable queer comedy. As a transgender woman, it concentrates on trans experiences, including medical updates, and what everyday life is like for transgender people.

Cis people don’t use my deadname ever under any circumstances challenge!!!

This is not the first time Sunny Laprade has spoken out about deadnaming. In 2021, her friend used her deadname in a conversation without consent and Laprade spoke out against it on social media.

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Edited by Madhur Dave
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