Friday, 30 October 2009

Deed Poll update

The name-change pack I ordered online from the UK Deed Poll Service arrived yesterday morning. Very efficient. It all looks very impressive. I have arranged for someone to witness my signatures on the Deed straight after a church service in Brighton this coming Sunday!

This is momentous. This is more fundamental in some ways than coming out. Once you're 'out' people can always believe that you didn't mean it and will 'see the light' or 'come to your senses'. Even beginning the hormones isn't anything more than taking some medication that can be halted, and it isn't a public act. This will be. I am permanently changing my very name, not merely adopting a nickname, or a nom-de-plume, but making a legal change that I must tell all the world about, and insist on 'Lucy Melford' being my proper and only name.

The police stop me on Sunday afternoon: I'm Lucy Melford. I visit my local surgery next week: Hello, I'm now Lucy Melford. An old half-forgotten friend phones out of the blue, someone I've not spoken to for a long time: Got to tell you straight off that it's not J--- any more but Lucy. Yep.

I'm having 25 legal copies produced - lots and lots of official people to notify, starting with health services, financial institutions, the pension payer, the local council, all utility companies, and so on. All friends and relatives. Gosh, I'll be busy.

I half expect that this will crystallise any held-back anti-transition feeling in some people's hearts. Others may simply take note and wish me well. A few who have still not any idea that Lucy has come into being will be in for a shock. Come what may, I will be Lucy Melford.

And I will be proud of it.


  1. Hi Lucy...many congrats !!!!!
    I used the same company (very good)...just a small note :
    you won't need 25 legal copies, only NI office will need a legal copy & maybe some pensions/credit card. Bank can visit with original, utilities, Tax etc on phone.
    Passport visit the office & pay premium service then they won't keep your original, just view it. Visit the DVLA office & they will photocopy your original.
    Save some money on those legal copies ! (although will give you something to frame :-))

  2. Well, Nicky, it was a basic £13 for ANY legal copies at all, then 'just' £1 for each copy. So 25 copies = £25. I'm a fatcat, Miss Loadsamoney. (If only: that's another dire story not for public explanation, but I will tell you if you want to know and email me privately) I can afford that.

    Also, it is my way to send out lots of letters with attachments - it gets the news out fast, and is something physical on record. I am suspicious of bland assurances given over the phone, and besides even a simple name like 'Lucy Melford' can be misheard. Don't want to be taken as 'Lucian Milfer' or somesuch. I don't mind speaking to a real person over a counter, but then not everything is conveniently local.

    But thanks for your concern over my lavish impulse-spending!

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  4. (Sorry - typos above!)

    I think I ordered about 8. I then scanned the original, pasted a text box with a big 'Certified Copy', and space for someone to sign etc onto it, and used that. I got my GP to sign them all and dished them out. They were all fine.

    Like you though Lucy, I like to be Miss Thorough. I also put an SAE in with my letters, so got most back and recycled a few.

    All 30 or so of mine went out in two waves about 11 months ago now. To it I attached my letter from Richard Curtis confirming my 'gender change' and its permanence, and for good measure, my GP did me one too.

    In the letter I asked them to change my name, form of address,and gender marker and signed it in both old and new names.

    For the most part it all went fine. John Lewis got me a new credit card in about a week I think!

    The insurance companies can be can pension/insurance companies. Much depends on whether you are asking them to change your name and your gender or just your name. They get all anal about gender, though it often makes no difference at all to them in reality, and you find yourself pointing out to them that if you had a GRC they'd have to just do it anyway, so why don't they now? Some get hung up on whether they software will let them record you as Miss when the screen insists on putting you down as Mr, even if you are now 'Lucy'. I had that - really irritating. One or two letters to 'Mr Josephine...'

    In my experience it varied. My car insurance people caved in immediately, very apologetically, when I made a fuss after their initial refusal, and recored me as female. Life Assurance people refused point blank, and when I told them that Passport Agency had done it, I was told "Well they were wrong to do so."

    The other thing is to put in your letter that you want your details changed EVERYWHERE on their records - all their databases. Some of these big companies actually hold your details all over, and even though they say they've done it, you might still get marketing rubbish, or something, in the wrong name months or even years later. BT was (and still is) a nightmare for this. Vodafone too, until I got mildly hysterical with them...

    Oh yes - and my biggest top tip. The credit reference agencies. Don't forget them. You only need do one, and they'll sort the other two. The one to go for is Experian, who really are first rate at this stuff and will handle it all for you. If you want I can email you the details of the guy/dept there?

    And yes, it's a very big moment! Congrats!!! :-)

    (Sorry for the essay!!)

  5. @Josephine:
    Wow, Jo, it was an essay but full of hot tips, and I will indeed pay heed!

    Touch wood, I'm not usually at odds with officialdom or institutions, and with forwarning to assist, I feel lucky about it all going smoothly. As you know, I got the LM credit card in place first, without the slightest trouble, and I hope that's a good omen. (I've used it many times in the last few days, and what a pleasure it is doing so, even if nobody ever scrutinises the name on the card. I wish they would!)

    I never thought about credit agencies however. Thanks for mentioning them.

  6. The Credit agencies are really important...if you ever want a loan, a mortgage, to open a bank account, then it makes a difference.

    Basically it allows you to approach the issue of changing financial records in two ways. You write to your bank etc and they (should) do it. But Experian will approach them too and make sure they have.

    In addition Experian will insure that your credit rating is transferred from old to new identity and all your records - going way back - are changed. So if a finacial company does a search on you they will find Lucy Melford, not the old identity, but you'll benefit from your inherited credit status. Without it, you could just be 'blank'. In fact, Experian will 'break the link' (if you want - most do) with any old name you had, so that it is no longer possible to identify you in your male name.

    If you don't get this sorted you can find that for some weird reason years later you get refused credit...


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