A few weeks ago on our return from the Lake district, we found a letter in amongst all the other post that was from the Gender Recognition Panel. It stated that the panel were meeting on the 6th July (Monday) and my application would be one of those looked at that day. It also mentioned that I would only be contacted by post concerning the outcome and to wait up to ten working days for this.
I tried not to think about it too much and didn't really expect anything until the end of this week or even half way through next. It was with surprise that I received an email from Mandy on Wednesday, whilst out, saying a big envelope had arrived that had "do not bend" written on it. She felt it was my GRC (Gender Recognition Certificate) and I must admit to thinking the same. I had to finish what I was doing though, I was at a carer's forum discussion the county councils commitment to carer's launch. But as soon as I had finished, I drove home and excitedly opened the envelope. Sure enough there it was, a piece of paper that now enshrines my gender in law. No one can argue now, I am legally a woman and no longer have to use the gender reassignment portion of the Equalities Act (EQ). I also have more rights with regards my privacy and some of this is covered by criminal laws.
There has been a great deal of debate about the necessity for a GRC with the EQ Act covering most aspects that a GRC used to grant. It is interesting that most who insist you do not need one are those who do not have one, possibly not wanting to go through the rigmarole of the form. There are also some who state they do not want their lives reduced to a piece of paper. Regardless of what anyone says, this piece of paper was a very welcome sight on Wednesday and it means a great deal to me.
Also inside the envelope were details of what would happen with my birth certificate.The registrar would write to me with a draft new birth certificate. This arrived the next day, with instructions on what to do and a first class return address label to fix to my envelope. This is now in the post and soon I can expect my new birth certificate, although I had to pay for a full copy. On that certificate it will state my new name and my birth sex as female. This means that I do not have to out myself when showing this certificate, as I had to do very recently when having to prove I can work in this country (for an unpaid voluntary post bizarrely!). I will also be recognised as being female all my life, which is something I truly believe. The mistake will have been truly corrected, physically and emotionally with myself and also in a legal sense.
Most importantly, Mandy and myself can now marry with me in the correct gender. We can think about setting a date now and get on with organising the event itself.
One thing I am struck with is how quick and streamlined this has all been since Monday. It almost seems like now I have been accepted in womanhood formally, they can't do enough for me. I have had so many years of waiting for this and that and this process does not need to be to speedy. But it has been rush, rush, rush!
This is also the very last part of my transitioning. I do still have to remove my facial hair, and that is still a long way of completion. But all the major stuff is over and one of the most annoying aspects of transitioning, the scrutiny of my life, is finished. There is no more having to answer questions about my past, how I felt and suchlike. My box of paperwork I saved for doing my GRC can be shredded along with reams of paperwork from the Laurel's. It's all over now and I can truly move forwards with everything now, living that life as the woman I have always been.