Very often, the importance of surgery is given exaggerated importance in comparison with the many other factors that have to be dealt with successfully to ensure a happy life for the trans person. A major priority is the changing of official documents to match the new name and gender. This necessarily entails a lot of work and can consume a lot of time as the process required by different organisations vary widely.
The first step is formally changing your name.
There are many legal ways of doing this but the two most common used methods used are:
- Statutory declaration – a statement witnessed by a magistrate or solicitor (a small fee will be charged);
- Deed Poll
Both are accepted for documents such as a new passport or driving licence. It might be helpful to have a simple letter to hand from your GP (or other medical person who knows you) stating that you are intending to transition as part of the information supplied when changing your documentation.
UK Trans Info have a comprehensive guidance page that explains the processes in greater detail.
Documents that will need to be replaced include:
- Driving licence
- Passport. You will need the doctor’s letter described above for this.
- Degrees and other qualifications
- Membership of professional societies
- NHS records, EHIC, GP and other doctors
- Other medical services e.g. Dentist, Optician
- Tax and National Insurance. To change gender in the National Insurance records you will need a Gender Recognition Certificate. However, once they have been notified that an individual wishes to live in a gender opposite to that assigned at birth the records will be moved to a department which will impose special security measures to protect privacy.
- Personnel records at work
- Security Clearance
- Criminal Records Bureau checks
- Workplace badge
- Pension and life insurance records
- Benefits Agency
- Bank and building society accounts
- Investment records and certificates
- Personal and household insurance policies
- Any deeds to dwellings and land
- H.P. Agreements
- Credit cards
- Utilities: Gas, Electricity, Water, Internet and Phones
- Council Tax
- Electoral Roll. This has to be done before your credit history can be corrected
- Credit history
- Club memberships and subscriptions
- Charity databases
- Internet Domain registration
- Birth certificate, after grant of a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC)
The three UK credit reference agencies (CRAs) hold information about virtually every UK adult. Under section 7 of the Data Protection Act, you are entitled to see a copy of the
information the CRAs hold on you. This is called your credit report.
Because your credit report will probably show a link between your current and former names, the three CRAs have each arranged a special service to help Trans people manage the information on their report.
You can get an advice pack from any of the CRAs websites or confidential helplines:
Experian: 0344 481 0800 or 0800 013 88 88
Once you have your credit report and if there is any record of your old name, you may be able to choose to have some or all of the information in your old name changed into your new name and any links (known ‘aliases’) between your old and new names removed from your credit report. Alternatively, you may choose not to update your information and to keep the link to your old name. Both these options have advantages and disadvantages. If your old name is not shown on your credit report, you do not need to do anything else.
You do not have to wait for your Gender Recognition Certificate to be issued. In fact, it is suggested you make contact with them as soon as possible to maximise the level of protection.