Some useful tips

If you are a trans woman, then one of the most important things that you can do for yourself before starting to live full time is to start your laser or electrolysis facial hair removal – especially if you have a dark growth of facial hair. If you are working full time as a woman, it can be tremendously frustrating to start showing a “five o’clock shadow” by the end of a working day – especially if you are dealing with members of the public. The GIC should be able to arrange voice therapy for you on the NHS, but if you want to get ahead of the game there are many Youtube clips which can help – I also found the Melanie Anne Phillips voice files very helpful too (although she does have some very old fashioned views and has discredited herself in the eyes of many members of the transgender community recently).

The Real Life Experience – or RLE:
At the point that a person moves to living full time in their new gender role is technically the start of the RLE. Just prior to this, it is necessary to start notifying the relevant authorities. Unfortunately there is no one click solution to this, but here are a few things that need to be done:-

 List of people you might need to contact
1.Probably the first and most important - change your name either by statutory declaration or deed poll, without this being done, you will have difficulty getting anything else changed.
2.Change your bank account details and get a new credit card/cards issued in your new name
3. Notify the Inland Revenue (Tax Office) of your new name and gender change - the Inland Revenue has a specific Helpline you can call for advice on changing your tax and National Insurance details - please ring 03000 534730
4.Notify the National Insurance Office of your new name and gender change - also see above for the government helpline for this.
5.Write to the DVLC to get a new driving licence issued (you will need a new photograph for this)
6.If you have a passport, apply for a new passport in your new name and gender (again, new photographs of you will be required for this)
7.Go and see your GP and arrange for all your medical details to be archived and your details to be changed on their computer system.
8.If you have a Blue Badge, a bus pass, etc., you will need to get these changed to your new name and gender (they will require new photographs)
9.Your employer, and former employers where you might have a pension
10.Your pension provider or providers
11.Your landlord or mortgage company
12.Your local authority (council), for such matters as council tax, housing benefit and social services
13.The electoral registration officer at your local authority (you don't need to wait for an election to do this)
14.Utility companies (water, gas, electricity, phone and mobile phone)
15.Banks, building societies, insurance companies, and companies you might have shares in
16.Credit card, store card and charge card companies, other organisations you have a loan with, and mail-order companies
17.The TV Licensing Agency (if you have a television license)
18.The school, college or university you or your child attends
19.The local library service
20.Insurance companies which you have policies with

Some transgender people argue that the RLE is a gateway/blocking mechanism for transgender people and that if a person wants GCS (Gender Confirmation Surgery – previously referred to as SRS or Sex Reassignment Surgery) then they should be allowed to proceed as soon as they feel that they are ready. Personally, I believe the RLE is a good thing as it allows you to have that breathing space so that you can slip back into society and be accepted and valued as a person. The number of people who report a very high satisfaction rate with their new lives after surgery is far higher for those who went through the RLE than those who didn’t. The present NHS England protocol and Royal College of Psychiatrists recommendations are for a minimum of 1 year, but for most people, unless they have exceptional circumstances, this will turn out to be anything between 18 months to 4 or 5 years before your surgery will take place, depending on both personal circumstances and the GIC which you are attending.
Don’t forget, these surgeries are irreversible, there is no way that they can be reversed after they have been done, so you need to be absolutely sure that they are what you really want – and again, the RLE will give you this breathing space to decide if it is going to be the right course of action to take for you.

Some people decide that they don’t want to undergo these surgeries (or for some people, due to existing medical conditions, they cannot be done) – and the Gender Recognition Act allows for this. You can still apply for, and obtain, your Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC), which allows you to change your Birth Certificate, even if you do not have any surgeries. .

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