- NB The following text refers to my personal experience and is not intended to suggest this is the correct way to handle transition.
I’ve transitioned twice, so you could say that I detranstitioned but that’s not how I looked at it at the time. My first transition, in 2008, was a spur of the moment decision (in the kitchen next to the washing machine!) after I’d been refused a gatekeeper interview and my marriage was falling apart. My words at the time were “I have nothing left to lose.” This is not the best basis to transition. A week or so later I walked out of the home I owned to escape abuse. I did manage to persuade my bank to change my account name without a deed poll or any other documentation.
I lasted six weeks, sofa surfing, before I sought mental health help. By the end of that day I had relocated. My divorce solicitor suggested “toning it down” so that my transgenderism couldn’t be used as a stick to beat me with. Unfortunately, my pre-teen children were a part of the proceedings and that meant Social Services were involved, further complicating matters. I effectively lived a non-binary existence at the time, but wore a ‘disguise’ for all the legal hearings. At the opening hearing the judge made it clear that personal attacks weren’t welcome or relevant, that meant the divorce proceeded under the ‘no fault’ heading and this suited me! My bank account reverted at this point, so I was asked for a deed poll and the staff wouldn’t initially accept that I had changed it without any documentation!
The divorce was finally settled in 2009 but I then faced an uphill struggle to get access to the children, despite having the correct court orders! That took me back to court in late 2009 and early 2010 some time after the decree absolute.
I applied for custody in the spring of 2010 and was awarded it late summer of the same year (I had evidence and a good barrister), my daughter (then 9yo) came to live with me the same day. She wasn’t fazed then seeing me en femme and still isn’t!
In 2012 I told my (then) GP I was a transwoman. His reply: “I know”. He ordered a gatekeeper interview, which is documented in my Referral Timeline . By now I was fully non-binary but rarely wore a skirt or frock in public. When the pandemic started my dress sense shifted and I gained confidence, as well as expanding my wardrobe! I used the excuse of the pandemic to grow my hair, but I told my supportive stylist what I was doing!
I spent the winter of 2022/23 testing the water and was frequently seen in jumper dresses and leggings with few comments.
In the Spring of 2023 I was physically and mentally ready to transition again. By this time I had my referral lodged (or not!), and my confidence was good. I started with a deed poll (unenrolled) then wrote to my GP. Meanwhile I started my social transition by appearing in a local bar skirted for the first time. Two of the staff commented “it took you long enough!”. A few days after the letter to my GP I was called to the surgery to complete a form then was asked if I wanted the gender marker to be changed. 11 days later I received a new NHS number and a few days after that I had it in writing. Next were HMRC and the local authority. As I’m in receipt of a pension, I next contacted my pension provider. I also started the process changing bank accounts – try in person first!
Along the way I updated my disabled railcard, store accounts, national clubs & points schemes etc. As I have a radio licence I also had to speak to Ofcom. It’s worth scanning any ‘official ‘ letters that arrive if they have name & address on them. If ad hoc additional proofs are needed, these can be useful even if they have no intrinsic value.
Socially I encountered a mix of acceptance and bewilderence plus a little hostility. Initially I avoided public events, preferring to keep my exposure contained but as the months moved into summer this wasn’t manageable. Six weeks after transition I found myself at a beer festival, and will be at another before the summer’s out. I’m also the ‘official’ photographer for a number of public events so I had to get over the exposure issue and just get on with it.
I was still dealing with the administrative side of transition. I’d had to wait until I had my deed poll, HMRC & NHS letters, bank statements etc to update my mobile phone contract. It’s an accumulative procedure, as I can now use the mobile phone invoices as a proof for any organisation that’s playing difficult!
The only document I started with was the deed poll, and the only cost was the high quality paper! Everything else spun from that. Four months after I started, the only major item remaining is my passport. Given that will cost, and (at the time of writing) it’s the middle of the summer, it’s probably best to wait for a few months – I don’t plan needing it this side of Christmas!