Today, I think it would be nice to live in Malta.
Yep, I am looking at the process for legally changing my gender so, at this time, living in Malta would be a good thing. It might be a bit warm for me in Summer but I could get used to it and would be happy not to need central heating. Now, now Clare, stop thinking about it!
So here's why living in Malta today would be a pleasing thing.
How to legally change my gender in Malta:
Fill out a simple declaration that I am, in my own opinion, female.
Provide said declaration plus birth certificate to notary.
Wait up to 30 days for it to be processed.
Done. Just like that.
How to legally change my gender here:
Live "full time in gender role" for a minimum of two years - or six years in some circumstances. Fortunately I've done that.
Fill out a t466 declaration form stating that I am married and wish to remain so.
Get B to fill out a t469 declaration form stating that she is married to me and consents that the marriage can continue. Fortunately we don't live in Northern Ireland where we could not remain married if I applied to be legally female.
Take B, myself, and the t466 and t469 forms to a solicitor to witness that we declare what we've put in the forms to be the case.
Fill out another longer sixteen page form, t450, in line with the guidelines given in the twenty-four page document t451.
Get a gender dysphoria specialist to fill out another form, in the seven page document t452, about my diagnosis and medical history.
Get a GP to fill out another copy of form t452 including details of all medical treatment I've had including an explanation of why I have still got a penis. Seriously, the report from the GP MUST include explain why I haven't had surgery. As if sexual characteristics have anything to do with my gender. (They don't.) It's annoying that the GP will have to talk about this because surgery should not have a bearing on the opinion a panel could have on whether a person is who they say they are.
I might not have surgery at all, but the main reason why I haven't had it is because the wheels of treatment turn so slowly. In two days it will be thirty months since my first appointment at the gender identity clinic, several months after beginning to live "full time". I may get referred for a second psychiatric opinion that I'm me in a few months, or I may not. It's a legal requirement before they could refer for any of the things that lead to surgery. It's a shame the consultant psychiatrist I saw the other day couldn't give a second opinion. She saw me as female and didn't question it at all - or understand how B and myself are both the biological parents of our child. I am still amused by that.
Provide birth certificate.
Provide original marriage certificate.
Provide original deed poll certificate.
Provide lots and lots of evidence that I have "lived in my gender role" for a minimum of two years. All the official documents I can get. Fortunately we have quite a lot including quite a few dating from more than two years ago.
Provide £140, yes it costs £140, for the whole lot to be examined by a panel of legal and medical members on the Gender Recognition Panel. They can say yes or no to an application. They have said no - yes is not a certainty.
Wait for a time period not specified on the gov.uk website - although I have just emailed the gender recognition panel to ask. GIRES implies that it shouldn't take too long.
I think that's it. Unless I've missed anything.
After that, all being well, I would get a certificate. Yay!
Yes. At this point it would be very pleasant indeed to live in Malta. Fill out a form. Not have to provide details of hormones or justifications as to why I am Clare yet have a penis.
And then I could move to Denmark which is becoming the first country in the world to not define being transgender as a mental illness. Hooray for Denmark. It's not that long since countries and the UN stopped defining being gay as a mental illness. The World Health Organisation didn't redefine homosexuality until 1990. Denmark is leading the world in doing the same for transgender people.
I know I'm moaning about the gender recognition process. But I know that I'll get it all done. And things are improving. Thirteen years ago there was no process here and the UK was one of the first countries to allow it at all. They may improve more. The government has promised changes to make things easier, by the end of this parliamentary term. You never know, they might keep a promise. For the sake of all transgender people, it's needed.
And we can hope, BIG hope, that there may be recognition for people with non-binary genders too, of whatever kind. God, I hope so, because as things stand they have no legal recognition whatsoever of their genders and in this way are excluded from many things. In comparison to them, plain simple transgender woman Clare has things very, very easy.
I am the lucky one.
And I will be female legally. Paying so that at least one part of the law can catch up with reality.