HEAR OUR HISTORY
If you’re interested in the history of trans rights check out our podcast with special guest Christine Burns MBE,
who was instrumental in building the UK’s gender recognition act.
SO YOU KNOW YOU’RE NOT CISGENDER?
Hi, Milo here!
What I’m going to be writing here is a sort of gender guide that someone struggling to define their gender can follow to help figure themselves out, or even label themselves (which isn’t a thing you need but we’ll get to that…)
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They're might not be a time when you COMPLETELY understand gender!
Gender is confusing and how you see your gender identity may change under different circumstances and that is completely fine.
Using a personal story , I was 100% sure I was a cis female until I was 14, when I first started doubting my gender identity. This lead to me identifying as genderfluid when I was 16 for about 4 months before understanding myself to be trans masculine.
I know that somewhere down the road I might feel more genderfluid or nonbinary than I do now and that is completely fine, it isn’t something that is ever concrete and official. There’s been lots of cases of someone who identifies as trans and is on hormone treatments realising that they might not be as comfortable in their gender identity as they thought and starts to detransition.
This is COMPLETELY FINE!
Anyone who tries to tell you otherwise is just a bit uneducated in these things (or ignorant,) and has no right to try and talk you down.
You don't have to dress like society's understanding of your gender...
Using myself as another example, I identify as trans masculine but I still wear heels because I dislike the fact I’m 5 ft 4″.
I know a trans woman who wears cologne and suits, doesn’t mean she’s any less of a woman. What you wear doesn’t define your gender. Sometimes this is called gender performance – it’s different to gender identity.
Our “what is gender page” explains a bit more on this one…
Changing your name
Well, if you want to get your name changed there’s a few options;
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Friends and family
Get your friends/family to call you by your new name!
If they say no, get new friends/family who accept you for who you are. Most of the time coming out like this is a lot harder than just saying “hey, I want to be called this name and pronouns, just saying” but this is just a guide. Some of you might be able to actually do this and have everyone agree to and, in that case, keep those people. They’re great.
Like coming out, there’s loads of way you could do this. Some people have made songs (like the one here) or written down what they want say in advance. Sometimes picking just one person you really trust to go to first helps. For more tips, take a look at our coming out guide!
School and college
If you are okay with family seeing this new name, ask your school/college to change your preferred name if you don’t want to get a deedpoll yet.
This is literally as easy as going to your student services and saying “Hi, I would like to change my preferred name on the register to this and can you let all my teachers know about this change.” They aren’t allowed to refuse you as you aren’t actually changing your name, just your preferred one.
If you get hassle with this you can point out you’re protected from discrimination such as this under the 2010 Equalities Act which clearly highlights gender re-assignment as a protected category. It also specifically mentions social transition (i.e. changing your name), so you don’t have to be even considering hormones or physical transition to be protected – the school needs to change your preferred name if request it or they’re discriminating against you.
Also you can point out the current Ofsted framework looks for inclusivity of protected categories, such as treatment and inclusiveness of trans pupils.
You can find useful docs about this on the Mermaids website. Here’s a couple of excerpts that might be handy…
“The equality Act protection from discrimination because of gender reassignment in schools… means that it is unlawful for schools to treat pupils less favourably because of their gender reassignments, and that schools will have to factor in gender reassignment when considering their obligations.
Gender reassignment is defined in the Equality Act as… anyone who is undergoing, has undergone, or is proposing to undergo, a process (or part of a process) of reassigning their sex by changing physiological or other attributes. This means… a pupil will not necessarily have to be undertaking a medical procedure to change their sex.
Pupils who are undergoing a social transition, for example, going by a preferred name or pronoun are protected by the Equality Act.”
Getting a deed poll
If you want to permanently change your name and title, get a deed poll done. You can pay for the government to do this for you (normally costing about £40 for multiple copies and an online saved copy) or you can do it yourself. There are many sites that allow you to do this, but I’d suggest not trusting any that doesn’t include “.gov” at the end of the URL as some places (like banks) may not recognise this as an official deed poll (and a lot of sites charge you unnecessarily for the service…)
Most people, myself included, printed this deed poll on parchment paper to make it seem more professional but honestly, it doesn’t matter much.
To make your own deed poll, you simply use the wording below (this is for 16+ people, anyone below this age will need a parent/guardian to do this for them unless they’re in special circumstances such as emancipation):
“I [old name] of [your address] have given up my name [old name] and have adopted for all purposes the name [new name].
“Signed as a deed on [date] as [old name] and [new name] in the presence of [witness 1 name] of [witness 1 address], and [witness 2 name] of [witness 2 address].
“[your new signature], [your old signature]
“[witness 1 signature], [witness 2 signature]”
This is from www.gov.uk/change-name-deed-poll/make-an-adult-deed-poll so it’s official and not a con, trust me!
Once you’ve done this deedpoll, you can basically use it everywhere. Very few places don’t accept this deed poll, but the places like banks, schools and the DVLA do accept this so yay I guess.
Anyway, that’s it for now! Any other tips, just post them in the comments or if you need any help, comment and I’ll get back to you ASAP.