What if I were to 'officially' change my name to Lucy Melford by Christmas?
It would actually be a big convenience. The name on my passport, driving licence, bank accounts, credit card and so on would then fit my general appearance. And I really need to get a fresh driving licence soon, not only because of the change of address to Mum and Dad's, but also because the 2005 photo on the licence doesn't look at all like me now, and ought to be replaced. Same with the passport. And if I'm going to change those things, I might as well go the whole hog and do the name as well.
I already present myself to the world as Lucy 24/7, except in situations where I still need to use my original name, such as when dealing with Dad's estate, or in connection with my personal healthcare. But these needs will disappear.
I haven't got the voice sorted out yet, but in practice nobody seems to care too much about that.
More importantly, I haven't yet sounded out everyone I care about on how they might feel if I abandon the name I was born with, the one my parents chose, the name that links me to other members of the family, the name by which I've been known for 57 years. My niece and nephew seem cool about it, and my niece actually texts 'Lucy' not 'J---'. Not everyone will accept it so easily though. I've been taking the line that nobody has to use my 'official' name if they don't want to, and will be able to call me what they wish, at least in private. Should I insist on 'Lucy', though? It is after all my chosen identity.
Could it all create a mess, with 'Mr Lucy Melford' appearing on my credit card, because some bizarre rule says that unless I 'officially' change gender as well, I can't be called 'Ms' or 'Miss'? Nightmare. I hope not.
And yet a name change by Deed Poll or other legal means would indisputably mark the beginning of my 'Real Life Experience'. I need to do that unambiguously. I need to generate household bills and suchlike, with dates on them, addressed to 'Lucy Melford'. But more is needed. I must create evidence that Lucy is out there, mixing it with real people, and not just a name on a blog. I don't work, so I can't get an employer to testify that I function as Lucy in worktime, interacting with customers and colleagues. So I need to register my right to vote as Lucy. I need to join organisations and clubs and classes as Lucy. And anything else I can think of, like getting a bus pass asap in Lucy's name.
A rather big step. Inclined to go for it, though.