Saturday, 3 September 2011
The next big step - the Gender Recognition Certificate
The time is approaching when I shall make my application for a Gender Recognition Certificate under the 2004 Act. I've already downloaded and printed out the 15 page application form and the 25 pages of guidance on how to fill it in. That's a lot of pages! But then, this is a Big Thing, even more important than a passport application.
The application form is assessed by a Panel who, if they need to, will be all judicial and summon me to appear before them. But they make it clear on the website (http://www.justice.gov.uk/guidance/courts-and-tribunals/tribunals/gender-recognition-panel/index.htm) that in most cases they expect to deal with the application on the basis of paper evidence alone.
I can see at once that filling in this form is something that will have to be done 'just so', if I want the process to go smoothly. And in particular, I will need to ensure that my paper evidence of full-time female living during the two years prior to the date of the application is very solid. It won't do to simply attach the doctors' letters, a legal copy of my Deed Poll, and mention that I've been presenting myself as Lucy Melford in a public blog since February 2009!
Obviously the date of the Deed Poll itself is pretty decisive. That was 1 November 2009, and originally I planned to submit my application as soon as possible after 1 November 2011. But now I think I'll make it later in November, when I can show some of the letters I received in response to the name-change notifications.
I can show some pre-November 2009 items (actual documents, or photos of them) that demonstrate that I was representing myself to the public at large as Lucy Melford the woman. For instance, an eye test in May 2009; a signed note left in Kentisbeare Church visitor's book in July 2009; a receipt adressed to Lucy Melford for a painting I bought in August 2009; and the Electoral Register form for 2009/10, completed in September 2009 by Lucy Melford, and signed by her. But I want to show a flood of evidence.
Actually, I've got plenty of time. Having got my Certificate, there will be no changes to my day-to-day life - apart from the ability to claim a woman's rights and protections in legal situations - until my State Pension kicks in late in 2014. So I could do this anytime during the next two years. But I want it in the bag. It'll be another important transition landmark: the definitive official validation of my female status. Psychologically, an achievement absolutely worth striving for.
It's also irrevocable. Once 'certified a woman' I can't change my mind. It's much, much more of a one-way ticket than surgery. I've thought about this. But it's not any kind of worry. Nor am I frightened at making a life-long commitment, with consequences that I will be saddled with forever.
Ah, the joys of being able to wave that magic piece of paper at someone!
To the brutal tranny-hater: 'Stay your hand, fellow. Look, I'm actually a proper woman. It says so here.'
To the absolutely gorgeous person I'm longing to get closer to: 'I fancy you to bits. Let's go to bed. By the way, here's my Gender Recognition Certificate.'
On the sinking Titanic: 'Hello, I want a place in that lifeboat, please. Women and children go first, and look, it says here that I'm a woman.'
That GRC will be endlessly useful! I won't leave home without it.