Anyone who knows me will know I am a huge supporter of the NHS, without it most people in the UK would be screwed. However, this will not stop me kicking up a veritable stink if they get it wrong – and this time they have got it wrong, very wrong.
As a citizen of the UK I have the legal right to change my name and title. As it happens I obviously want to change my name to a male one and I have done. I have also changed my title to that of Mr. and that is my legal right to do so. No organisation has the right to refuse me that not even the NHS.
I informed my doctor, and to be fair she totally and absolutely supports me, my gripe is not with her in anyway. My issue is with the practice pen-pushers who call themselves management. At best I call them uneducated in matters of law, more likely discriminating bastards. They refuse point blank to change my records without a gender recognition certificate – which they are not allowed by law to ask for. By law they have to change my name on the records and accept I am now Mr. Simple as that – it is not rocket science. They still refused.
I have now obtained, in addition to a deed poll which is a legal document, a statutory declaration that my name change is permanent. This was done at my own expense as it matters a great deal to me. Okay that is not a huge amount of money but nonetheless it is inconvenient. This document has been presented to the practice. They still refused to amend their records.
So here is the legalities under the Equality and Human Rights Act.
Specific processes for certain agencies
Some organisations have specific procedures for processing name changes relating to gender transition. These procedures have often been in place for 30-40 years and are not negatively affected in any way by the Gender Recognition Act.
The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) will alter your name on their records and will issue a new plastic National Insurance Number Card with that name on it. They don’t alter anyone’s National Insurance number under any circumstances. There is no gender indication within the number and therefore no point to do so. A change of name on its’ own does not alter the rest of your national insurance / tax computer records, as you will remain a member of your birth gender until such time as you successfully apply for legal recognition. The Gender Recognition process issues instructions to the DWP and Inland Revenue to make appropriate changes at that time.
The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) will change their records of your name and issue you with an updated driving license on written request. In this case the procedure, which has been used successfully for many years, includes the issue of an amended driver number. Your driver number includes a gender marker. This is updated to show your new social gender so that anyone inspecting your driving license will see a code that concurs with your name and the way you present.
The process with passports has changed slightly over recent years because of a greater need to prevent fraud. However, the policy of the Passport Agency has always been to facilitate issue of a replacement passport when the applicant has changed their name and social gender role, backed by a letter from a medical professional to confirm that the change is for gender reassignment and intended to be permanent. As the process for any change of photo and details involves an interview it is best to enquire with your local passport office about what you should do and the evidence you need to supply.
Processes like these were in place before the Gender Recognition Act and remain unaltered by the introduction of the formal legal recognition process.
Other organisations such as employers, educational establishments, registration bodies, your local NHS GP, hospitals, utility companies, and service suppliers such as banks should likewise be prepared to change your details on request. Some may request evidence in the form of a statutory declaration of your name change, but that is all.
Gender Recognition Certificates
Some organisations may mistakenly believe that they are not supposed to change their records to show your new name and appropriate title (Mr, Miss, etc..) until you have obtained a Gender Recognition Certificate. This is incorrect and in most cases would constitute discrimination.
Furthermore, nobody is entitled to see or record the details of a Gender Recognition Certificate if you have one. If someone requires proof of your legal gender then you could show them your birth certificate.
The Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC) exists only for the Gender Recognition Panel to instruct the Registrar of Births to make a new entry in their register, from which a birth certificate can be drawn. The document states clearly that it has no other purpose. Recording sight of a GRC would automatically lead to a breach of Section 22 of the Gender Recognition Act, since sight of the record by any other person would constitute an unlawful disclosure of protected information. Officials should therefore be gently advised against making up rules involving GRCs.
There you have it in black and white. I am now sending a copy of this act with yet another copy of my documentation to the practice management and also a letter from my lawyer informing them they are breaching my rights, and unless they change my records at once there will be legal proceedings taken against the individuals causing the issue. As I said I have no gripe with my doctor nor should I she is just as unimpressed with this as I am.
No one should be made to feel less for being who they are. Here in the UK we are protected by law from discrimination like this and I will not hesitate to use it. I face enough prejudice every day from walking down the street and I deal with that. I will not put up with it when I do not have to.
Thank you so much for being there to all who read, follow and/or comment. Your support is very precious to me and I love you all dearly
Love and light