I have officially changed my name by deed poll to Katie Grace Neeves! I chose the name Katie as it is the name my parents would have called me if I had been born a girl. I have always know that and I like the name anyway. I did think about having Georgia as my middle name as George was my dad’s name and he passed away 27 years ago, so I thought it would be a tribute to him. However, I didn’t think that Katie Georgia had a good ring to it, so I decided to go with Grace as Katie Grace sounds much better. Also, Grace is a middle name that has been passed down the female side of our family for many generations.
Many people think you have to go to a solicitor or pay lots of money to change your name by deed poll, but you don’t have to pay a penny. My gender psychiatrist recommended using www.freedeedpoll.org.uk as many of his patients have used it in the past, so that’s what I used too. All I had to do was put in my old name, my new name, my address and the names and addresses of two witnesses. I then printed out six copies onto think paper/thin card ready to be signed. I thought it would be useful to have several copies
I did my name change at BBC Radio Coventry and Warwickshire as my first witness was their presenter Vic Minett. After she interviewed me last month, Vic’s producer Jenna asked me what the next step was and I told it would be changing my name so she asked if they could be involved in some way. I suggested that Vic could be a witness, so that’s how it came about. My second witness was my friend Sasha Owen. Sasha is also a trans-woman at roughly the same stage in her transition as me and we both knew each other before our transitions as we were members of the same business group so I thought it would make a good story to talk about in the subsequent radio interview.
The day went well, although it was all quite involved. Vic phoned me to do a live radio interview before driving to the studio – my last one as Martin. After that interview we drove to the studio in Coventry for the signing. After that, Vic interviewed us both for a recorded piece which was broadcast today. You can listen to it by CLICKING HERE and fast-forwarding the show to 1 hour 18 minutes. The link will be live for the next 29 days only.
I do feel a tinge of sadness and a sense of bereavement at not being Martin any more, but then I have been Martin for 49 years, so I suppose that is understandable. Overall though, I feel happy and excited about the start of this new chapter of my life.
I took my deed poll to the GP surgery straight away and saw the practice manager. She photocopied it and she will now create a new record for me as a woman so I am now officially recognised by the NHS as female!
I have the mammoth task of letting everyone else know about my name change now, from the banks, to the HMRC, Land Registry, DVLA, Passport Office utility providers and many, many more.