Written by IainB
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Wednesday, 5 September 2012

image for Trails and tribulations of transitioning - changing name I've even brought my own pen

Apparently you cannot just walk into a bank and ask them to change all of your cards to your new name.

Even if you're in a dress.

I went into a popular high street bank that is open on Saturdays. There were a few stares, but I'm used to that, and I used the ramp, it's easier in heels. Seriously, there were few people who stared, but not many. Yes, I was in a dress. A grey and black mid-calf jersey striped number with a scooped neck. I'd even worn matching heels and handbag. Yet they still stare. I'd made the effort to be sober looking. It's not like I'd turned up looking like Bet Lynch.

I guess, banks and cross dressing men aren't a normal combination. At least, not in the branches. The boardroom perhaps, but not the foyer of their Stockport branch. Still, here's a little tip for you, if you walk into a branch of a popular high street bank wearing a dress and ask to see somebody, you get put in a little room very quickly. Somebody will even interrupt their lunch break to come and assist you and get you out of the establishment as fast as humanly possible.

I told them I want to change the name on my account. Apparently, this is Not Allowed Until There Is A Signed Deed Poll. I asked if I could have a card with my new name on. According to the very uncomfortable looking man, this too was Not Allowed. Not even when it's against my account. There was a moment of abhorred silence when I told this otherwise pleasant young man that I would get my name changed through Deed Poll, and return once done, wearing a tight red leather mini-skirt, boob tube and five inch red stilettos.

Apparently, threats don't get you anywhere either.

The problem with changing name is that it is not the same as changing gender.

You can call yourself anything you like for £30 and a stamp. They really should do it on-line, as the price of stamps is exorbitant. They've been going up in price ever since they made the back self-adhesive. You send the form off and get a letter back addressed to your new name.

This leaves you called Debbie, but still down as 'M' on any form you choose to fill in truthfully.

In Canada, or Argentina, or Australia, in fact, in most countries, except the US and UK, you send off a request, and they change your 'official' gender. It is much much harder in the UK. First off, you have to see a psychiatrist, as anybody who wishes to become a woman must be mentally ill. When the psychiatrist is happy to declare you mentally unfit to be a man, you can then go to the Gender Reassignment Council in person. This lovely group of a dozen self-appointed people then tell you to start living your life as a woman for two years. At the end of this, they will consider (consider!) changing your gender. It can take four years, a lot of heartache and a considerable amount of upheaval.

In Canada, you send a letter to the right government department, and you're an 'F' not an 'M'. And twenty dollars lighter of pocket. This is still cheaper than a train ticket to London or Sheffield to see the Gender Reassignment Council.

Now, there is a good reason why the 'op' requires a lot of hoops to jump through. It's kind of permanent. A one-way street. Changing an 'M' to an 'F' on a computer screen takes half a minute at best. It's not permanent, it's easily changed back and it is not a symptom of mental illness. As one transsexual said to me: "There's nothing wrong with my mind, it's the rest of me that's wrong."

Still...Hopefully, it won't come to that.

The bank were very happy to see me, with my signed Deed Poll document. The red mini-skirt went down a treat and I was in and out inside of ten minutes, clutching my new identity. Still as an 'M', I hasten to add, but I now had a Debbie card. This is like a debit card, but the money on it disappears faster.

Coincidentally, the credit card company didn't give a toss. As long as I was a good little credit whore, they didn't care what the name was.

If only the rest of the world was as sympathetic.

The company where I work still hasn't changed my email address. Sigh.

The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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