Mobile Phone name change… an update

Its quite strange. After all the fuss of the last twelve months, I look thru my purse, my files and…I’m Jane.

The story so far

No. Of course I’m Jane. What I mean, though, is that at some point in the last two or three months, my documents and stuff stopped being mostly the old me and the odd bit of Jane…or even fifty-fifty… and suddenly, when I wasn’t even noticing, it just swung round.

I have voting, council tax, income tax, NI, VAT, utility bills, full credit history as Jane. I have a bank account and – so long as Barclays don’t muck me about, I will very shortly have a credit card as Jane. I have my own library card, discount cards, Tesco Card, Boots Card…

Basically, if I am knocked down by a truck tomorrow, police going thru my purse would have to conclude that I am, as I should be, Jane Fae – and I just happen to have nicked a solitary bank card from some guy who used to live at my address. Oh, the shame!

I have now reached the point where proving who I used to be is going to be increasingly difficult.

So, what remains? Hmm. Driving license. I am chatting to the DVLA about their documentary requirements and will report back if I get any movement. Passport, which I might put off until I am clearer about whether I want a grc. Er: and mobile phone.

Phone number fees (in every sense)

How silly. I visited the Vodafone shop today and was flabbergasted.

Yep. The woman behind the counter looked me up on screen and tutted a bit about my contract. “Not seen one of these in all the time I’ve been working here”. Oh. Just because I took the contract out in 2001 or thereabouts and, stick in the mud that I am, I never bothered changing…doesn’t mean I’m a Luddite. Or even Luddette.

So, would it pay me to change to a newer contract? Er, yes. I could have more minutes and unlimited texts for a third of what my current contract is costing me. And for LESS than my present phone only contract costs, I could have internet too. My gast is utterly flabbered.

Woman looks shamefacedly at screen: “I’d like to say you were getting some other benefit…but you weren’t”. Oh. So I’m paying approximately £250 per year more than I need to pay for a less good service? Yes.

We chat. I then mention the $64,000 question. Would she change my name on the existing contract. Nope. Not without one of those pesky deed polls. Oh, wonderful. Compared to some places, like the inland revenue, a mobile contract is utterly inconsequential. Nonetheless, mobile companies seem determined to lay claim to a higher standard of documentation than many far more serious organizations.

I feel another court case coming on.

Changing names on your mobile: practical advice

Still, we chatted and worked out that all this security was quite pointless anyway and there were two ways (apart from court challenge) that a trans person can effect a name change without the vile deed poll.

First, I could switch to pay as you go (thereby maintaining my current number). Then I could switch back to contract. It is likely – though not guaranteed – that the old name would be lost in the switch-over.

Second, and even more ludicrous, I could set up a new contract in my name. I need bank account, electoral roll, etc. (see above): and there would be no probs if Jane Fae applied for a new contract.

Then, I would request a transfer of my old number to me. Er. I would go online or on the phone and “prove” one last time I’m my old me. Then they’d ring up Jane and ask her/me if she/I consent to the number being ported to me. Er, right.

I asked if I could do this in the shop: like, if I stand on THIS side I’d be the old me…then I’d move round the desk and be the new me. Or i could wear different hats!

Luckily, they thought it funny. The mad fools! Don’t they know I’m serious? 🙂

So there it is. Two routes to switch mobile number and…I’ll let you know how I get on with Vodafone’s legal department.



9 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Jack Holroyde said,

    Surely, a deed poll is only horrible because it has birth names on it? If they’ve already got birth name, then surely a deed poll isn’t a terrible thing?
    We found it really empowering, being able to print a legal document at home and then compel companies to change their documentation based on it.
    What issues do you have with it?

    • 2

      janefae said,

      Nah. It may be the pedant in me. Also the fact that i have written extensively elsewhere (and consulted on) the issue of bank security. Bear in mind that i may be trans, but not everything i think or do is determined by that.

      My objection to the whole gallimaufray (look it up!) of deed polls, marriage certs and the like is built on two related issues. First, they are crap for evidentiary purposes. If you’ve used a deed poll, you know that anyone can write one up, anyone can witness one, it isn’t (necessarily) logged anywhere, is, in fact an appallingly useless security check for all practical purposes. As such, it is demanded either because organisations haven’t thought it thru (and probably no-one has actually LOOKED AT what a deed poll contains), because they are protecting their own backs as opposed to putting in place genuine customer security, and they haven’t implemented some basic changes to their IT systems which would make the need for such documentation obsolete.

      It is also thoroughly sexist and almost certainly in breach of the law. Check out:

      So, apart from that….

      What about the other docs? We-ell, marriage certificates nowadays contain words to the effect that “this document should not be used for purposes of identity”: so really clever that organisations accept it as such. Divorce certs are even more useless (containing no real identifying evidence whatsoever).

      Stat decs go a little better, as breach of a stat dec would possibly be a criminal offence. But they cost a lot more and why should i pay out that sort of money if i don’t need to?

      As it is, i have now changed every single piece of personal id, with some few exceptions, without deed poll.

      Exceptions are: driving license, which is under review. Passport, which i won’t do until after grc. Mortgage, because i can’t be arsed with the hassle (and will probably be changed in the next few months anyway). And mobile phone.

      End of.


      • 3

        Jack Holroyde said,

        See, I think that while common law is simple – and maybe technically unfit for modern life due to that – it’s immensely powerful, and to have that sort of power, regardless of how easy it is to forge/lie/whatever, in the hands of the people is only a good thing.
        I find it interesting that you dislike deed polls and yet are happy to sit in front of a panel of shrinks and be told whether you are female enough to be a woman – which is essentially what a GRC panel is.
        The thought of getting a GRC makes me wretch a bit – who the hell are they to rule on a persons gender?
        It may be the liberal streak (actually, a tad more than a streak) in me, but common law trumps legislation anyday – power is for the people, not for a psych who has no idea about my life.

  2. 4

    Lucy Melford said,

    Well, I for one take a simple practical view. If I want something, and want it right now, then I’ll fill in whatever forms are needed, and produce whatever certificates that are asked for.

    The online Deed Poll service I used gave me exactly what I wanted, and there was never a quibble or glitch in my ‘new name’ changeover programme. It seemed that the financial people – banks, insurance companies, but also Saga – were most likely to want Deed Poll evidence, especially if I was closing down accounts and seeking refunds. At the time, I was winding-up my deceased father’s estate, so add in his solicitors – and my own – to those wanting to see my Deed Poll.

    Besides, I liked my name change being evidenced in this way. It was an impressive document.

    And I shall seek a Gender Recognition Certificate. I don’t care two hoots about why it’s there. If life could be simpler in the future to have a Birth Certificate showing ‘Lucy Melford’, then I want one. And it’s the way to get my State Pension paid from age 62 instead of 65 (or is it now 66?) – which in effect gives me a State kickback. I haven’t so far asked them to fund a penny of my transition, and so I’ll have no qualms about getting extra cash that will nicely cover my hair-removal and voice training costs.


  3. 5

    katrina said,

    I had the same problem with 3, however they will except deed plus my old birth cert’ to prove who I was and now am, make sense? Now the RBS are refuseing to add the title Ms to cards and letters, even tho’ they have changed the name!

    • 6

      Jess said,

      And yet, NatWest, part of RBS, will change your bank account based on a doctors letter only, nothing else at all….

  4. 7

    Jess said,

    I rung Vodafone, their advise was to go instore. I did so, and all the details were changed on the strength of my say so and bank statement in new name. I had other docs with me, but they didn’t ask to see them.

    At first attempt it didn’t work, some details were updated, not all, and the next months bill came though in old name. I went back in and they had a second try, all done successfully.

    So, it seems to me, it depends who you see in Vodafone, luck of draw.

  5. 8

    Megan said,

    I simply used and got 5 certified copies and a letter from my doctor stating that I’m undergoing GR and living ‘Permanently’ (this is required) as Megan.

    I have now finally after 6 months changed every document, drivers license, passport, deed, phone, pension mortgage, land registry, NHS etc. Also Equifax has broken the link to my old name on all my credit history to Mrs Megan C, still happily married so I decided to use Mrs rather than Ms, plus it looks really weird on joint bills :).

    Every one apart from my pensions, tax have changed my gender marker if they kept it at all. So all I have to do now is get my GRC and new BC, finish off and change the other few remaining gender markers and that’s me all done….

    In fairness 6 months wasn’t that long really to change all my details and most of it was waiting for companies to get their bum in gear and actually do the change, not one company rejected my request, and most were very helpful. Admittedly O2 were a bit rubbish and took several attempts to learn how to read my letter and stop putting Ms on my account.

    • 9

      janefae said,


      I totally get this. Therer are two parts to the name change. One is just sheer patience and slog. I have tended to change stuff as it came up for renewal and, as i posted recently, looking in my purse i suddenly realised that there was virtually nothing left in my old name. Only that just sort of crept up on me.

      On the other hand, there is this issue of documentation, which as far as i am concerned is far bigger than just being a trans issue.

      Specifically, its a gender issue (for those married or divorced). And – i write this as someone with some background in IT security procedures – its an efficiency issue. Deed polls and marriage certificates are absolutely useless security devices…so it is insulting when banks demand you produce such “for security”.

      Where i’m at right now is i have changed over everything, bar mobile, without the dread deed poll. I’ve even found a fairly straightforward way to do that.

      Still to come are driving license and passport. And that’s it. DVLA might be prepared to back off, because …well, because i suspect they have just written policy that puts them the wrong side of the law on this, which then reduces to one document the need for a deed poll…and i am talking to senior people at the Home Office.

      We’ll see.


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