I have a tale to tell about the mechanics of changing the name on accounts with UK utilities following a legal change of name. It's not in itself unpleasant, but it demonstrates perfectly the kind of petty jobsworth application of invented non-existent laws that blights the process for those of us who are going through it.
One of the first things I did on transition was to change my name with the first of my three phone companies, the UK's national near-monopoly, BT. Like most Brits I use them for my fixed line phone, and in my case they also provide my broadband. To change my name with them I simply logged in to my online account with them and updated my details. No need to provide any documents as there is no such thing as a legal name in UK law, they know exactly who I am through my address and bank account. Job done, not bad for a usually slow-moving former nationalised near-monopoly.
My second phone company was the next on my list for a name change update. EE are one of the UK's larger mobile phone networks, having been formed from the merger of T-Mobile and Orange. I've been with them for more years than I'd care to remember, and have always been pretty satisfied with them.
So I logged into the EE web site and worked through the section for updating my details. That's strange, no place to update your account name. I must have missed something. So I asked them where to look, via my social network of choice.
Their reply was this link. A page telling me I needed "A covering letter with a copy of the change of name deed poll document and also the documented proof of gender change." Oops, I don't have a deed poll, I have a statutory declaration. And also what exactly is "documented proof of gender change"? A picture of me dressed as a drag queen? A letter from my doctor? My BT phone bill?
I pointed out to them that (a)not everyone has a deed poll, and (b)was the requirement for documentation really necessary considering it is not a legal requirement and BT can happily do the change without it. The reply: "Just send us the documents we ask for". More than their jobsworth.
I am physically unable to send them a deed poll, I don't have one. A statutory declaration is functionally the same thing, I advised them to talk to their legal department. I am not spending money with a lawyer to get my "documented proof", just for a poxy phone company who are demanding something they have no legal requirement for. I refer them to the case of Arkell vs. Pressdram.
Which brings me neatly to the third phone company I mentioned. I don't know who they are yet, but I know they'll have no problem with my name change. You see, the UK mobile phone market is one of cut-throat competition. There are the network owners, EE, Vodafone, O2 and Three, and a host of secondary service providers such as Tesco Mobile, Talk Talk, Virgin Mobile, and GiffGaff who lease capacity from the network owners. Moving providers is a very simple process.
So I don't have to put up with EE's frankly ludicrous requirement. I'll simply wait for the end of my contract - not too long now - and move mobile provider to my as-yet-undecided third phone company. Start with them in my new name, and the transphobic EE jobsworths can go to hell.
Everything Everywhere - except in my pocket, that is.