Saturday, 22 August 2009

Deed Poll - when?

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.


  1. You should see my passport, ten years ago and look like terrorist. Like you I find it difficult to get a snap I am happy with and the new rules for driving licence and passport photos are so restricting. Do not think the credit card company will be a problem, I am going to ask for simple initial so that I don't have trouble whenever I want to use it. If you are that close to thinking about official change of name I think you must be ready, then as you say you get bills in your name though you could probably do that without changing, they just want your money they will not come and fingerprint you first!

    If I were you I would find some sympathetic photo studio and make sure you get a passport snap that shows you to best advantage not a photo booth, have something you will be proud to show.

    Caroline XX

  2. Thanks, Caroline. I think you're right about being ready. I used to be happy with my old name, really quite proud of the surname, but it now fits the new me as badly as my old clothes do. And I'd much rather be addressed as Lucy in public than by my male name, regardless of who is within earshot.

    As for the voice, I bought something yesterday over the phone, using my credit card, and the seller wasn't at all bothered when I gave my name as Lucy Melford.

    I'm actually pretty good at photography, and have taken decent passport photos at home for years past, using a tripod and a draped background. The awful shot of me in the Ugly Duckling posting was something of a spoof. I don't mind sending myself up. And besides, didn't the Ugly Duckling eventually turn into a beautiful swan?

  3. With that gear I should hope so! New rules as to pose , lack of smile,size of face in image, size of image degree of whiteness of background! the list goes on and on. My old photos have been self portraits but I must admit that to conform to the new rules is a challenge and that is before any aesthetic considerations, next time I want to look half decent! Check DVLA, they have clear instructions 45 high 35 wide head between 29 and 34mm and countless rules about hair and glasses! Good luck.

    Caroline X


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