Ringing the changes part 2

So, my first post about how I changed my name with various organisations was starting to get a bit long, so this is a continuation.  The first can be seen here – Ringing the changes

I hope this detail on my experience helps.  I will probably get round to doing a normal blog post again at some point.

6. Admiral Car Insurance.  I e-mailed their customer services asking for the best way to go about changing name and gender.  They responded quite quickly telling me just to e-mail them at customerservices@admiral.com with the details of the change.  I did this detailing new and old name and specifically that there was the gender change too.  After a couple of weeks of stiff ignoring I called them on the phone.  The representative informed me that it was in the process of being changed, they then reversed the changes before putting them straight whilst I was on the phone.  Five minutes later I logged into the online system and my certificate of insurance had been replaced with a new shiny one in the name of Mrs Amy Georgia xxxx and Mrs Helen E. xxxx.  So that all seemed straight forward and didn’t even need the deed poll to be sent.  I guess the final proof of this will be at renewal time.

7. The NHS.  This one was easy.  I wrote to the practice manager at the Drs asking them to update my records at the surgery.  They then called and said they would need to see Deed Poll. We dropped this in so they could see it.  They then informed that after they had updated the surgery records this would then ripple through to update all NHS records.  No further action was needed.  Very professional and helpful.

8. Driving license. This too was quite simple, which surprised me.  You need form D1 from the Post Office or ordered from online for free. Then tick boxes in section 1 to Change Name and Renew Photo.  Then enter current driver number into box in Section 2. Put new name in box in Section 2.  Also put old name in the free field text box in Section 2. Nothing to do in Sections 3 and 4.  Then it was Section 5 that I thought would be hard.  For proof of ID I used my Passport, even though this is still in my old name and old photo.  I entered Passport number in Part A of Section 5 and then put an X in the box for Deed Poll in proof of name change in Part B.   Then added new photo (which wasn’t signed by a witness) and signed the document in Section 7.  Then sent off with Deed Poll to the right address.  New license with right name back in a couple of weeks.

 

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This entry was posted on October 28, 2016. 1 Comment

Ringing the changes

Well, it’s been a very long time since I wrote a blog post on here.  It has mostly been my better half posting, but then she does write better than I do.

Anyway, I’ve got to the point of going full time as Amy in all things apart from at work where I still present male at the moment.  As part of this I’ve been going through the process of changing my name.  In doing this I’ve turned to the internet to be the source of useful information and have found lots. Two sites in particular were great reference points. These are:-

http://www.gires.org.uk/law/documents-to-be-changed-upon-gender-transition

and

http://uktrans.info/namechange.pdf

I also found lots of help and advice from the lovely people of twitter.  What I didn’t find easily was a ready reference of do this for this company or do that for this other company. I also didn’t find lists of links to relevant pages or forms used etc. So I thought as I was going through the process right from the start that I would collate as much as I could from my experience and put that in this post.  It will become an ever changing and evolving post as I do more and more companies and organisations but I hope the information and lessons learnt will help others who follow me.  Obviously this is going to be UK based and in certain regards England based as the different regions of the UK have different processes in place in certain regards.

Anyway, onto the steps taken.

  1. Obviously first and most important was the Deed Poll.  I did this using this site – http://freedeedpoll.org.uk/ – which after researching at https://www.gov.uk/change-name-deed-poll/make-an-adult-deed-poll and reading on the uktrans.info page above I decided was perfectly valid and legal.  I printed it out and got two good friends to sign it.  And then you feel a little “is that it?” But we celebrated the momentous occasion with some fizzy wine anyway.
  2. Still slightly disbelieving the legality of the Deed Poll I though the best way to kick off the process was to check it with HMRC and get my tax records sorted.  Here I found that you can change your name and pronoun, but you can’t change your gender until you have your Gender Recognition Certificate.  So that would have to wait a couple of years.  Anyway, the process with HMRC is to write to Special Section D as I found out here – https://ukftm.tumblr.com/post/114926905646/how-do-i-change-my-name-for-my-national-insurance and also here – https://www.gov.uk/tell-hmrc-change-of-details/gender-change
    So, I wrote the following letter to them and included my Deed Poll and a stamped addressed envelope for the return.
    HMRC
    Special Section D
    Room BP9207
    Benton Park View
    Newcastle upon Tyne
    NE98 1ZZ26th September 2016

    Dear Sir/Madam,

    Re. National Insurance Number AAxxxxA

    Please find enclosed my deep poll showing that I have legally changed name as part of my transition to live in my preferred gender role of female.

    Please can you therefore update my record with HMRC to show my new name of Amy Georgia  XXXXX and that I will be no longer using Txxxxx George XXXXXX.

    Please can you also restrict my record such that the gender markers are hidden.

    I enclose a stamped addressed envelope for returning my deed poll.
    Yours faithfully

    Amy Georgia XXXX

    After sending this off by Signed For post I was expecting it to be returned saying I had done something wrong.  But this morning a special delivery letter came addressed to Mrs Amy Georgia XXXX which explained that they had received my change of name Deed Poll and that my details were being amended to reflect the change.  In addition to updating the records additional restrictions have been applied to my National Insurance and Department for Work and Pensions records to limit access to authorised users and that my taxation records held in Cardiff would be restricted to specific users.  All very nice and simple.  So, it turns out that the Deed Poll was in fact fine and that I didn’t need a stamped addressed envelope as they kindly returned it to me unused.

  3. Amazon – well this one seemed remarkably easy.  I just logged in and edited my details in the My Account section.  Changed delivery addresses and name and all has worked. It has been lovely getting Amazon deliveries to Mrs Amy XXXX.
  4. Adobe CC Photo Plan – again this one seemed straight forward, just logged into account and changed the details.
  5. OneAccount Bank – We have one of those combined mortgage current account things with the OneAccount.  I wrote to them requesting they update the account and mortgage details to reflect new name and gender and sent the letter along with my deed poll to their head office address in Norwich with a SAE to return the deed poll.
    Today I got a letter back stating that they have made all the changes and new cards and cheque books will be delivered within 7-10 days.

Limbo.

That’s what it feels like, we’re in limbo with nothing to do but wait, Amy’s referral was made in November and if she’s really lucky she may get an appointment in June at the very earliest and that’s only the first of many steps. So I ask myself how do we get through the next few months? We can’t just sit here and wait, we’re on a journey so we need to keep moving forward and every little step makes it feel more real, just this last week Amy emailed her oldest friend to told her and had an encouragingly supportive response. Not to be outdone I also emailed a friend which was pretty scary as she was the first person I’d told myself, she sent the most lovely and accepting response  which was just what I needed for my first go at telling someone! Obviously we are carefully selecting who we tell at this stage, people fall into categories, people we are confident will be accepting so will tell first, people who will have to be told personally regardless of how we expect them to react will be told before we get too far along the path and others who will eventually find out via a mass email/FB announcement if (when?) Amy decides to go full time. The rest of the world beyond that can find out on the grape vine.

So maybe not quite in limbo, taking tiny baby steps forward but heading in the right direction at least and then there’s tomorrow’s GP appointment which is taking up far too much of my head space today! You see, Amy asked him about prescribing bridging hormones which the guidelines say is an option but it’s not the surgery’s policy to do so as they don’t have the expertise so he wouldn’t. He did however write to the GIC to ask their advice on the matter, the last time we saw him he hadn’t heard back from them and had little hope that he would but a letter came a couple of weeks ago saying he had heard back with recommendations about bridging hormones and asking Amy to make an appointment. I’m not sure I dare hope that they’ve given the ok or quite what I’m expecting him to say, I’m swinging between hope and dread and if it’s a no we’ll be back to me saying lets investigate the private options and Amy saying “I’ll just have to wait” but at least it’s something, it’s action not inaction.

New year thoughts from Amy’s wife.

Back to the real world today and my heart is breaking. I’ve just watched the love of my life get into the car and drive off for work after two weeks at home. He’s going to a job he feels overwhelmed by in an industry he doesn’t want to work in and feels trapped and hopeless. It doesn’t take much imagination to picture that mythical black dog weighing him down, the depression that just won’t let go, that constant companion that does it’s very best to suck every bit of joy out of him. I feel useless, helpless and I’m at a complete loss as to how to help, how to banish this darkness that we have lived with for so long.

But that’s not really true is it? I have a pretty good idea of exactly what would help because whilst on a day to day basis the job makes everything harder, it’s not the real problem, not the root cause of the depression. It’s that tiny little word ‘he’ not only trapped in a job that makes every day more of a struggle than the last but trapped in a body that doesn’t match the person inside. You see on the inside is a wonderful, beautiful woman who is desperate to get out, she’s always been there, she was the little girl who played Star wars and wanted to be Princess Leia and the young woman who came shopping with me and always had a good eye for what suited me or didn’t. I’ve known that she exists for more than two years now but I’ve loved her for much longer without realising it was her.

Surely the solution is simple then? Change the outside to match the inside and live happily ever after…

If only it were that easy!  If only we lived in a society that allowed people to be who they really are without fear of persecution, a world where anyone who doesn’t fit with the accepted norm didn’t have to fear prejudice or violence and if only making that change came with a guarantee of future happiness and peace.

So two years on from discovering that I had in fact married a woman not a man as I had thought a lot has happened, yet in some ways nothing has happened. We have talked more about things that really matter than we ever did before, I’ve learnt loads about what it means to be transgender and came to really admire the brave women who have taken this step to become who they were always meant to be. Finally in the autumn we did it, we took the huge step of telling our teenage sons, we needn’t have worried, they took it really well and seemed quite chilled about the idea. The next week we went to the GP, he was great and did a referral to the GIC immediately, saying that we should hear back with an appointment in two weeks’ time, things felt hopeful at last.

Here comes another but…

But then there were two weeks of waiting, exactly two weeks to the day a letter came from the GIC saying ‘we are processing you, you are on a waiting list’ so now we wait. Waiting with no idea of how long for seems cruel, surely they have a diary and know how far ahead appointments are free? Whether it’s a 6 week or 6mth wait, knowing would help, there’s a feeling of being in limbo, your future is in the hands of some strangers who will at some point allow you to start the process of jumping through the many hoops required to prove to their satisfaction that she is in fact a she, that she is trans enough to tick all of their boxes. For someone who is already buckling under the weight of depression, who has waited until the need to act on these feelings has become pretty much overwhelming, this just feels too hard, too much. All the hope that seemed to be creeping in is crushed and swept away, it took such courage to take even this first step and feeling that there’s nothing to show for it is hard. It’s hard being the one watching too, wanting to help, to make it better but not knowing how; watching the person you love slipping into a big dark pit and wanting to pull them out but fearing that if you try too hard you’ll just send them further in.

I realise that I can never really understand how it feels to be transgender, when you’ve always been comfortable in your own skin it’s hard to begin to imagine the pain and distress it causes for the internal and external to just not match. All I can really do is be here and support the best I can and hope that it’s enough, hope the system works and that we can get started on this path soon because moving forward no matter how slowly has got to be better than just sitting still.

Amy’s wife pops in again.

Hello, Amy’s wife here again, here are a few more thoughts from me x

I wish the world were different, I wish it was a place where people were free to be true to themselves without fear of what other people might say or do. I wish I was brave enough to not care that it’s not like that. I wish I could say “Who cares what the world thinks? You be Amy, wear what you like, when you like and wherever you like!” But I’m not that brave, not yet anyway, maybe one I will be, maybe one day I’ll have to be braver, just not yet, I’m not ready for that.

You see Amy didn’t really come out of the closet to me, she opened the door a crack and I climbed in with her. It’s quite cosy in here really, we talk so much more than we have for years, about feelings and everything and it’s safe in here, no one to judge and no one to get hurt. That’s my biggest fear, that we will make mistakes in how we handle this and our children will get hurt, neither of us want that and both would do anything to prevent it.

The trouble it that Amy has been stuck in this closet her whole life, ignored, her very existence denied and she wants to spread her wings. She wants to venture forth into the world, not with a loud fanfare or a big bang but quietly, discreetly to just be herself somewhere outside of our house. Why does that scare me so much? Well as I said, the world isn’t always that nice a place and I want her to be safe, I want to protect her.  I’ve stopped asking myself why being Amy here with me isn’t enough, I still kind of wish it was at least for now, but I do understand why it isn’t and I’m working on the bravery.

Craving acceptance.

After my initial experiments with wearing my mum’s clothes I knew that I really wanted to be a girl. Actually it was more than that, I knew that I was a girl. What I didn’t know was that there were options open to me. With the small town, naive knowledge that I had, I was stuck as a boy. Unless God was going to answer my prayers, which didn’t seem likely. I didn’t know that there were hormones and surgeries that could turn my outside into what I was inside. My solution to this as I mentioned last time was to stuff it into a box and become depressed. Not the smartest of solutions it has to be said, but it was the only workable one that I could see.

The upshot of the depression was that I started to crave acceptance in many forms. I started to compromise myself to make sure friends liked me. This didn’t really lead to anything massively untoward but I did and said many things that I wasn’t proud of. The idea of saying “no, I don’t think we should” never entered my head because I was scared to death of rejection. I only had a few friends at school and there was no way I was going to risk getting shunned by them. Better to have a few fake friends who let me tag along and compromised principles than to be billy no mates. Again, looking back this isn’t the smartest approach to life, but then when have teenage boys been accused of being smart?

One of the worst things I got into was drinking too much and probably upsetting a few people.

It was around this time that I got my first serious girlfriend. There had been a few girlfriends before this. An odd snog here or there and one very fumbled and far too young experiment with sex. Fancying girls and having a girlfriend itself caused confusion to me. The thought process went along the lines of – if I am a girl inside then surely I would fancy boys not girls, but I do fancy girls so I have to be a boy. As I said, I was from a small town and was naive, so the idea of possible differences in sexuality from the boy-girl norm did not enter my head. I just knew without a shadow of doubt that I fancied girls. (I think I will talk more about this self revelation in a later post)

Having a girlfriend did help because it made me feel more accepted. I didn’t accept myself but if someone else liked me that much then things can’t be all that bad. This first long term relationship lasted until around the time I went to university. That was it from then onwards I needed to be loved to be able to feel better about myself. The problem was that although when I was young I seemed to be very popular among the girls this became less so as I got older. Probably my desperation to be loved was a big turn off to them. I had one other serious relationship whilst at university and just after that ended horribly prior to meeting my now wife. The problem was that I needed to be loved as I was. I couldn’t accept the need to change and compromise. Thinking about this I believe it is all linked, for me to love myself as I was, I needed others to love me as I was. If they needed me to change to love me then there was no way I could love myself; and there was no way that the other person really loved me because they wanted to change me. If you see what I mean. This was ultimately why the relationship at university ended and also has caused many problems over the years with my wife.

To keep my feminine side properly locked away in its box and to banish the depression the boy on the outside needed to be truly loved and accepted for who he was and everyone needed to adapt to that. As you would expect this selfish approach to life did not work out for the best. I caused a lot of upset to many people, including my wife, and my depression just got worse.

I have certainly learnt the hard way that craving acceptance and compromising principles is not the best life strategy. Now if only I could bottle that knowledge and sell it. Hmmmmm…..

Fortunately for me my wife has stuck by me despite what I have put her through and for that I am extremely grateful and humbled.