When you are ready to live in your new gender you will probably want to change your name and your title.
If you change your name by deed poll, you can do both confidentially. Unlike a statutory declaration (one of the other ways of changing your name), you can complete a deed poll privately and use witnesses you trust to maintain your confidentiality. If you use a statutory declaration, you will need to visit a firm of solicitors to have the document sworn.
Changing your name or title does not change your gender. A man could be called 'Ms Louise Smith'.
If you haven't completed a change in gender, then you can still change your name to reflect the gender that you will be. In fact, changing your name demonstrates to the Gender Recognition Panel that you are permanently living in your preferred gender: one of the requirements to obtain a Gender Recognition Certificate.
Unless you have a Gender Recognition Certificate (allowing you to declare your sex at birth as your new gender), you will still have to declare your sex as your original sex on application forms. Banks, loan companies and insurance companies use gender to assess risk and therefore your premium and if you do not disclose your gender correctly, your insurance might be invalid, or your loan recalled.
You may also be committing a criminal offence if you gain advantage from deception as a result of incorrectly recording your gender. Women tend to be given cheaper rates as they are perceived as less likely to default on a payment or have an accident.
Gender neutral titles
Titles are used as much to indicate gender as marital status. However, not all people want to disclose either or both. If you don't want to be a 'Mr' or a 'Ms' there are options.
If you want to use another title, such as 'Dr', you may do so, but there are restrictions if it might mislead. You can read more about restrictions on what you can call yourself.
Not using a title
You don't have to use a title. A title isn't part of your name. So when you change your name by deed poll, you could choose to ignore title completely.
Alternatively, if you want to change your title, but not your name (perhaps you have a name that is gender unspecific like Shirley or Vivian), you don't need to do so by deed poll. You can just start using your new title.
Using Mx or Misc
There is increased recognition of Mx and Misc pronounced 'Mix' and 'Misk' respectively.
Mx is more widely used than 'Misc'. The idea is that the wildcard 'x' replaces both the 'r' of 'Mr' and the 's' of 'Ms' so that gender cannot be identified. Mx is commonly used when a person wishes to make a statement that gender is not important.
Misc is a newer concept. It is an abbreviation of the word miscellaneous, which in Latin means mixed. Because for many people, gender is not one thing at all times, using Misc conveys that having a gender is important to the identity of the person but that the person is not constrained by a 'black and white' label. Using it suggests that the gender of the person changes in different situations.
You can use either of these titles (although not both together) in the same way that anyone might use 'Mr' or 'Ms'. There are no qualifications for use.
Further information and useful documents
We offer a free deed poll template for download that allows you to change your name without involving any third party solicitors or companies.