Over the past few weeks, I’ve started using Andie more as my preferred first name – and Andy much less. Add this to my non-binary Mx title, I really feel sorry for my postman!
He’s a really lovely chap – very jolly and smiley. And he always calls me Andy/ie when I open the door to get whatever nonsense I’ve ordered from eBay or La Redoute from him.
He’s been my postie for years. He didn’t say anything when the letters started being addressed to Mx Andy… and he’s not said anything now some of them are addressed to Mx Andie…
Add to that the ones still addressed to Mr Andrew… (because some banks won’t change your name without a Deed Poll certificate) and my postie must be seriously wondering what the hell is going on.
So far, I’ve told my friends and sister to call me Andie from now on – whether it’s in a Facebook message or a birthday card. That’s all gone really well.
I’ve changed it with a few websites, with minimal fuss, though there are still loads more to do that with.
But, when it comes to the banks, the NHS, the driving licence folks, people like that, then that is going to involve Deed Poll.
I went through all this a year or so ago when I changed my title from Mr to Mx. Apart from Barclays (and Post Office Broadband), there were no issues.
Barclays were rubbish, though. I complained – so they fobbed me off by putting £25 in my account. I complained again and they gave me another £75.
Very nice – ta for the £100 – but this wasn’t about money. I just wanted to change my title and to stop being called Mr.
So I ended up taking them to the Financial Government Ombudsman, which found in my favour. I got another £500 – but I’m still getting letters addressed to Mr Andy…
I appreciate it takes time to update the computers of a massive global organisation like Barclays, but I had no problem with NatWest, or Santander, or Halifax, or any of the other banks, building societies and credit card firms I contacted.
Anyway, I love my new title. It always raises a few eyebrows when I mention it to people – but I just tell them it’s been around since the 1970s and can be used by people of any gender.
Now it’s time to sort my name out. A big thing is going to be updating Facebook. I have about 300 friends on there, and most don’t know I’m trans. As soon as I make the change, there are going to be lots of questions.
Then there’s work. I run my own business, so I’m going to have to update all my invoices, email sigs and the like with my new name. More questions.
And I don’t just want to update Facebook – and yet know that my real name is still Andrew, and have the banks refusing to change it on their paperwork.
So that’s going to involve Deed Poll. I’ve looked into it and it’s simple to do – and free. You basically visit this website and fill in your details, giving your old name and new name.
You then need signatures from two witnesses. So I thought I’d ask Natalia, who’s one of my best friends and was one of the first people – if not the first – that I told I was trans, many years ago. She said yep – no problem – and that she loves me. Aaaaah! :o)
The other signature I wanted from my sister, who has been a real rock since I told her I was trans. That was trickier. She said yes – but only if I told my parents first.
Which I suppose is fair enough really. They gave me my name back in 1973. They gave me a second name, too. They must have debated what to call their new baby boy for weeks before settling on those two names.
By the way, had I been a girl, I’d have been a Victoria. Just thought I’d mention it!
So I can imagine they may be a bit miffed if I announce I want to change my names. The other thing is they still don’t know I’m transgender.
I’m sure they must suspect – I’m always the one dressed as a woman at fancy dress parties. But I guess they just think I’m a crossdresser.
They came round last week and, instead of hiding everything, as I usually would, I just left everything where it was. So loads of nail varnish on my bathroom counter, makeup brushes here and there, and knickers, tights and ballet leotards hanging up to dry.
They didn’t say anything – and they haven’t said anything to my sister, but surely they spotted them. In a way, I wish they had said something. Then I could have said: “Come and have a sit down, I’ve got something to tell you.”
Apart from Mumsnet-gate a few months ago, everyone I’ve told – female, male and non-binary – has been awesome about the news. They see it as something to be celebrated, not just tolerated, as I’ve said before.
But telling my Olds, as I call them, is a whole new ball game. I reckon my Dad would be the most OK of the two. It will blow his mind – but I can’t imagine him hitting the roof or anything. He’ll probably just change the subject and start talking about football.
It’s my mum I’m most worried about. I’m afraid she may not see the positives and will only look at the negatives. Well, what will people think? So will you be walking around in a dress? What about your business contacts, what will they say? Are you sure you’ve thought this through?
I can’t think of anything worse than that kind of reaction. And that’s why I’ve still not told them. But I need to tell them soon because my first gender clinic appointment is just five and a half days away. And they’re gonna want me to have told my Olds.
My mum and I used to fight like cat and dog when I lived with her. I’ve been out of the house since 1998, but we still clash every now and then. Everything’s black and white with her. And being trans and non-binary is far from black and white. It’s not grey either, folks. Think rainbows and unicorns!
She is pretty liberal, though. My cousin and my second cousin are lesbians, and she’s been fine about that. I just hope that liberalism towards gay more distant relatives stretches to her trans son/daughter/whatever the hell word that doesn’t exist for a NB person you gave birth to!
Anyway, my sister suggested writing a letter to them, and I think that’s the best idea. That way, I can give them chance to absorb the news – and maybe give them a few days to think about what questions they have – instead of just blurting out negative ones Mum-style!
Let’s hope it works. I’ve read so many stories about trans people being rejected by their families after coming out to them. I really, really don’t want that to happen to me.
If anyone has any advice about what I should put in the letter – whether you’re trans yourself or a parent (or both) the comment box is below. Thanks, folks.