I changed my name by deed poll in December 2010, and was uncharacteristically efficient telling everyone (well, sort of everyone…well, ok, most people…some) that needed to know. One of the first things I did was get my driving licence changed, as it’s very useful to have photo ID with the correct name on when you’re changing other things (another Trans Top Tip!). The bank presented no problem, my GP surgery was fine, and so on. Mind you, all this time later, there are still a few things lurking in the woodwork in my old name. Partly because I was a wuss about changing some, and partly because I just didn’t get round to it.

The biggest change that I really must make is my passport. At the moment, I’m not able to leave the country, but until I can get my sh*t together and get a letter from a doctor confirming that my “change of gender” (their words)  is expected to be permanent (well, duh) and £77.50, I am destined to holiday in the UK.

I’m much better at dealing with things like this at a distance, eg: via email, or by post, if I can at all get away with it. In the case of my driving licence, all I had to do was send a copy of my deed poll, fill in a form, send them a cheque, and voilà – all sorted. However, sometimes it’s necessary to speak to someone in person. Despite my notable lack of modesty regarding my transition, I still feel uncomfortable telling complete strangers – “coming out” really, just for the sake of getting the right details on someone’s computer system. It took me ages to sort out my mobile account, because I knew I would have to take proof of my new name to the shop. I ended up doing it in London, because I figured that the staff on Oxford Street would probably be more cosmopolitan than here. Nope. You probably can imagine the sort of young guy who works in a mobile phone shop – times that by five, and imagine me explaining at the counter, then twice more, that I needed to change my name…and then watch their face when I handed over my paperwork. #bloodyembarrassing

My situation isn’t helped by the fact that I changed my name twice within 6 months. I went from being (let’s say) Spottyknickers Smith to Spottyknickers Smith-Jones when my partner and I got hitched, to Mark Smith-Jones. Of course, it would have made much more sense to get it done all at once, but life doesn’t always turn out that easy to organise. So I have two lots of name change paperwork. For a short while, my partner and I were both Mrs Smith-Jones, which was complicated enough even before my transition became official.

Just occasionally, this makes my life awkward, such as when I get a ‘phone call from someone asking for Spottyknickers Smith. Or Mrs Smith-Jones (do you mean the ACTUAL Mrs Smith-Jones, or the person who is now MR Smith-Jones??) Or just Miss Smith. At this point, I have a dilemma. I don’t want to say “yes, I’m Spottyknickers” as, well, I’m not. But I don’t know if the person calling is someone Dead Important, or just some poor soul in a call centre using an old contact list. So it can go a little like this:

“Hello, can I speak to Spottyknickers, please?”
“Aaaaaahhhhhhhm………….can I ask who’s calling?”
“It’s Curlylocks Hair Stylists. We’ve got a great new offer on at the moment”
(Audibly relieved) “Ooohhh, I’m afraid Spottyknickers hasn’t lived here for a while. Sorry!”
“Er, thanks…..goodbye”

At which point I realise I’m speaking to them on my mobile.

I haven’t yet had the guts to say “Spottyknickers? No, I’m sorry, there’s no-one of that name here”, just in case it’s information I might need, or the news that a Great-Aunt I’d never heard of has left me a squillion pounds. But really, as time goes on, the name Spottyknickers is increasingly redundant, and I guess the time will come when it can be quietly but respectfully consigned to my personal history book.