A gives their account of how staff at their GP practice responded when they attempted to change their name and title on their records.
Practicing =/= Improving
You’d think a doctor’s practice would always be a place of safety, security, and protection. Somewhere that everyone knows the law on basic issues. A space in which everyone makes you feel cared for - where you are always heard, and respected. Well, you’d be wrong if you thought that.
I asked for my practice to change my name on their records. Ok, no problem. Done. Then I asked for my title to be changed to “Miss”. And then the problems started. A receptionist did it for me, no questions asked. A few days later, it had been changed to “Mx”. Strange, I thought. I didn’t request or authorise that title. I had an appointment shortly after, and so the 2nd time I had it changed was by my GP… they also changed it for the 3rd time. A different receptionist changed it the 4th time. After it had been changed to “Mx” yet again, I went back to their reception. The same employee I spoke to the 1st time informed me, (incorrectly), that the law was I needed to legally change my gender marker before my title could be changed. They had been told that by “admin staff”. I showed them otherwise with 3 trans website links and 2 general medical links. I told them to tell their colleague of these links, since I couldn’t. (Want to guess whether that helped?) My GIC also confirmed I was correct about the law. A local organisation, with whom I volunteer for, contacted the practice on my behalf and had it changed for the 5th time. Meanwhile, my GP is in the process of communicating with the necessary departments to obtain a new NHS number for me, because I was also changing my gender marker on NHS records. At last, I was able to keep the correct title.
During the 3 months it took for my title to be changed, my name and title would be called for each appointment on a TV screen and by a sound system… effectively outing me as trans to anyone who knew what “Mx” means or cared to look it up. Against my will, without permission, medical professionals announced that I am trans to a room full of strangers. 3 months after my name was changed on their records, they decide to make my online account inactive, apparently per their protocol. But, worse than that, my general patient records name with them was reverted back to my deadname.
This unnecessary sequence of events caused me a great deal of upset. I go through life being misgendered each time I leave my house. There are a few places in the world I call my “safe spaces” where I won’t be misgendered, or if I am, it’s easier to correct someone. I wanted to include my practice amongst the others. But I couldn’t. If I cannot have the people in charge of my medical welfare address me correctly and make it official on their documents, how am I meant to trust them with my health? Or my safety? The whole saga heightened my dysphoria, made me feel unwelcome at the practice, caused me to be even more reluctant to attend my appointments, damaged my confidence, and as a result of those things, plus many more, added fuel to my ill mental health.
There are better ways to deal with a title change for a patient within medical centres. It should be a simple process where nobody gets hurt. Instead, it’s purposely difficult, stressful, and dehumanising. They are just some of the things a vulnerable person doesn’t need. NHS, I love you, but you’ve let me down, and have probably treated other trans patients the same way for the exact same issue. I demand better. We demand better. Do better.