I started preparing for my transition 12 months before I took the plunge, actually not knowing if I had it in me. My Idea was that if I grew my hair long, which turned out to be to my shoulders by the time I was ready to try; that at least having a wig fall off in public couldn’t happen. As well as the fact that I couldn’t afford a wig which wouldn’t be glaringly obvious as a wig; I had a one which I wore in private, so I knew what I looked like in it.
At least with long hair I could flit between the two sides of my world without that worry, while I tried living in my new reality, as and when I could.
I even when to the back, and spoke in private with someone and asked if they would remove the tittle from my back cards, as I found I could pass as a woman, I was scared of some shop assistant on the tills challenging why a woman was using a card which said Mr on it. Even if it was the case that I didn’t quite pass, at least the lack of Mr on a card would make them think twice at saying anything. I know in most big stores they never get a look at the card, but some of the small shops do. And I didn’t feel like taking the chance at ending up in a situation, in public.
Next up was choosing the name I would be living with for the rest of my life, ( sure I could change it later but it’s quite a hassle). So I spent a lot of time while waiting for my hair to grow, trying on different names in my head to see what sounded nice to me, I wanted to feel comfortable with it, ( I know a few people, why have said why did my my give me that name !) I decided I knew it would be stupid to pick something outlandish, like Shakira, no matter how much I loved the idea of it. So I went with what made me feel pretty, and seemed to fit me, and which I liked the sound of when I spoke it out loud. Something you have to do a fair bit in this world.
I practiced signing my new name until I didn’t feel like I was going to sign my old name by accident.
When my friend finally got me to take the plunge I went to my GP, and asked for a referral to a gender clinic; and asked the practice manager if she could change my name on the patient call screen to my new female one, which they did, at least for a few months, as I was having to go in for regular blood checks. But that I needed to change my name by deed pole. Which I did, (I will talk off how to do that latter). Here’s where things started to unravel a bit on me. The surgery sent me a letter to say that they had found out that they were not allowed to put my new name up on the call board, with the title Miss, the best they could do was to use Mx. Well that made me feel like they may as well put trans-gender as my title. I know some people do use Mx, but to me it felt like a slap in the face.
After several meetings with the practice manage, they agreed to no title at all. Apparently they were under the impression that they had to use the title which went with my medical records. and that that would only be able to be changed after I had, had my surgery, and received my gender recognition certificate, so I could be legally declared female. I spoke to the clinic, and they said that’s rubbish, and that I could apply for my NHS number as a woman, now I had changed my name. But My Gp’s would not budge on the issue, even after I told them what the clinic had said. They said that there is no such thing possible; but I stuck them out and made them call the clinic.
Needless to say they came back to me and said that they had been wrong, but that if I did change it it was irreversible, because all my old notes would be removed from my records. so I had to sign a form to say I understood that; not that I’m saying that it would be the right thing for everyone to do, but it was for meIt took a few weeks to get it sorted but I got there, another step forward; that’s what it’s like with a transition, always something to get sorted to be able to move on.
Going back to asking my GP for the referral, I would recommend to ask your GP if they, would be prepared to prescribe your oestrogen, as even through you GP it’s prescribed off licence. it’s not yet been approved for it to be used for this purpose, and some GP’s will not do that. Even though they prescribe testosterone blockers for men with prostate problem, some will not prescribe it for this use. If they will not, you can either find a GP who will or travel to your clinic to get it done.
My regular GP refused some 9 months into my transition at the clinic, panic time! I hadn’t know I needed to ask the question. In the end another GP at the same practice agreed to take over my care, deep breath, relax girl.
Changing you name and title is a faff, but easy to do. Go on the internet do a bit of research, and choose a deed pole service. Follow what they need from you give them your new name and title, and away you go. You can choose Mrs, if you want, even if you are not married, but I went with Miss, I didn’t like Ms, or the idea of Mrs, though I did consider that one for a while.
Then comes the faff, you must notify everyone with whom you have formal contact with, banks, HMRC, insurance, council, the list ended up way bigger than I realised it would be. You just have to go though your entire life, and swop everything over. If you don’t you are in breach of the terms of a deed pole, and you have to swear to maintain to your new identity at all times. You will be best to order some certified copies, as it’s more expensive to have to go back for some, if you find you need them.
Some places will be happy with an ordinary photo copy, some will request a certified copy and want to keep it, some will return them, some will demand the have sight of the original. So make sure you get the most secure for of postage. You may even have to send the return prepaid envelope with it, to get it back. You are in for some headache if it doesn’t get back to you.
Now began the long wait to go for my first clinic appointment; it’s no good keep phoning to ask when because they will just say check our website for the latest info on waiting times. And I have heard the admin staff grumbling at people clogging up the phone lines wanting to know when. Your appointment will come when it comes, I found it best not to stress over the when; and used the time to settle into my new gender role, while I waited. Many of you may not feel able to go full time at fist, wanting to wait until you were in the clinic.
But I figured as I had no ties to worry about, like family, or work, keeping me feeling the need to wait for as long as I could before coming out to friends family and work. You will have to do what’s best for you. But I found knowing that I could hack the life, before getting to the clinic, meant I wasn’t waiting over a year, to suddenly find when at the clinic, that I had waited in agony all that time hoping I could do it when the time came for having to.
It gave me lots of time to work on my gender dysphoria, ( For non trans readers, feeling that you mind does not fit with the life role you are living) and body dysmorphia ( feeling that your body does not match you self identity. You know that you were born with a male / female body, but it feels like the important bits, don’t belong to who you know you are, even hating them to the point of anguish ).