Advice for transgender people

If you’re transgender and you want to change your name, you’ll need to change your name by deed poll.

If your change of name is stated on your Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC) or a new birth certificate (for which a GRC is a prerequisite), then this will also prove your change of name, but you’ll generally need to change your name by deed poll first.

If you’re non-binary and you want to change your name, you’ll also need to change your name by deed poll.  However, bear in mind that U.K. law only recognises two legal genders (male and female).

About your privacy

We wouldn’t always be aware from the details we collect that we’re preparing documents for someone who is changing their gender, because we don’t need to know this information, and in fact we don’t even collect or store gender data.  However, it’s usually evident from the old and new names on the deed poll whether someone is in fact changing their gender, and so we handle these applications especially carefully and sensitively when we realise this is the case.  All customer information is protected under the GDPR and it’s an offence under the Gender Recognition Act to disclose information about a person’s previous gender, and all our staff maintain strict confidentiality.

If you haven’t been issued a Gender Recognition Certificate

If you haven’t been issued with a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC) then you’ll need to change your name by deed pollIn fact, changing your name should be an important step in proving that you’re living in your new gender, before applying for a GRC.

A deed poll will be enough to change your name in your passport.  However, if you want your passport to be in your new gender as well, HM Passport Office will need to see:

  • your deed poll, showing that you’ve changed your name to one that’s associated with your new gender
  • medical evidence showing that your change of gender is “likely to be permanent”.  This can be a report from a medical practitioner (such as your consultant or GP), or a chartered psychologist practicing in the field of gender dysphoria.

You don’t need a GRC to have your passport updated to show your new gender, and you don’t necessarily need to have had sex reassignment surgery.

Note that changing your passport (or other records) to be in your new name and gender doesn’t give any legal recognition to your change of gender.  It’s merely a recognition by those record holders that you’ve adopted a new identity.  However it does provide supporting evidence to the Gender Recognition Panel (and other record holders) that you’re living in your new gender.

If you want to change your title to one of the opposite gender, for example from Mr to Mrs or vice versa, you wouldn’t normally need a deed poll.  In general, you’re free to use any social title, and — assuming the new title is part of a change of gender — you simply need to inform record holders of the new title.  The important matter for most organisations is your change of genderHM Passport Office for example doesn’t list social titles in passports at all — it isn’t considered to be a legal part of your name.

If you have changed your name (by deed poll), and an organisation won’t accept your change of name without a GRC, get in touch with us.  This is discriminatory — an organisation cannot treat you differently from anybody else, just because you’re transgender.

If you’ve been issued a Gender Recognition Certificate

If you’ve been issued a full GRC, then this will be sufficient evidence of your change of name (and gender, for passport purposes), and you won’t need a deed poll.

If you’ve been issued an interim GRC, then it’ll likewise still be sufficient evidence of your change of name (and gender, for passport purposes) — you won’t need a deed poll.

If your interim GRC has expired (i.e. after 6 months) and you haven’t been issued a full GRC because your marriage hasn’t been dissolved, HM Passport Office may still accept this as sufficient evidence of your changed name and new gender, because the important point is that you should be living in your new identity for all purposes, not that you’ve been issued a GRC.  However, you should check this first with HM Passport Office.

Even if you’ve got a GRC, an organisation still has to accept your deed poll as proof of your change of name (they cannot insist on seeing a GRC).  If they don’t accept your deed poll, get in touch with us.  This is discriminatory — an organisation cannot treat you differently from anybody else, just because you’re transgender.  Nevertheless, you can show your GRC if you want to.

If you’ve been issued a new birth certificate

If you’ve been issued with a new birth certificate, then this is proof of your name change and new gender, for all purposes — you don’t need a deed poll.

Gender discrimination

It is illegal for anyone to discriminate against you (treat you unfairly) because —

  • of your gender
  • of your sexual orientation
  • you’re changing gender
  • you’ve already changed gender (whether or not you’ve got a GRC)
  • you’re married or in a civil partnership

This applies to —

  • when you’re seeking employment
  • how you’re treated at work
  • how much you earn
  • how you’re treated at school / college / university (or any other educational body)
  • anyone providing goods or services to you (including shops, websites, places of leisure, and financial services)
  • any public authorities you have something to do with

If you’re transgender, it’s not normally OK if a company or organisation asks you about your former gender (or the fact that you’re changing gender) — given that discrimination is illegal.  If it happens to you, you should question if there is any legitimate reason why the organisation needs to know this information.