A friend of mine who changed her name a few months ago received a phone call from Charing Cross yesterday to inform her that her deed poll (which had been seen and approved of in her presence by both receptionists and medical staff working at the clinic) was “inappropriate”. As such, they will revert to using her male name in correspondence.
She says that: I have found out that my deed poll is ‘inappropriate’ because it has not been signed by, and I quote, the “Government Deed Poll Issuing Authority”.
They didn’t like her deed poll because she printed it herself, using a free template (similar to this one). A lot of young trans people do this because we often cannot afford to “buy” a deed poll. Others on low income or benefits are likely to use these deed polls too.
These documents are widely accepted. My friend whose deed poll was not good enough for Charing Cross has successfully changed the name on her driving license with hers, for example.
Apparently this wasn’t a one-off case. My friend pointed out that she knew others with similar deed polls which had been accepted by the gender clinic. She was informed: “then they are most certainly in our pile of deed polls to return and names to revert to the original name on the deed poll.”
I honestly don’t know what the hell they think they’re playing at. My own DIY deed poll was used to change my name with a university, the NHS, a couple of banks and on my passport. I fail to understand what makes Charing Cross gender clinic so special that they get to not-accept someone’s (perfectly legal) change of name, just because it hasn’t been witnessed by a solicitor.
This policy seems to demonstrate once again that Charing Cross do not have their patients’ best interests at heart. Rejecting deed polls like this will be a blow to many trans people who already have low confidence or self-esteem, and could be dangerous for those who have already changed their name and are living “stealth” if the clinic sends them correspondence addressed to their old name.
Edit: Following complaints, this policy was reversed.