Yesterday I went to the BC Access Centre to apply for a new driver’s license. I was fortunate to get the same agent who assisted me just a few weeks ago with my application for a legal name change. She was extremely nice and helpful.

After I received my legal name change document in the mail, I contacted the BC Access Centre to find out what the procedure would be to change the name and gender marker on my driver’s license (mentioning that not only does my birth certificate list me as female, but that I also don’t currently have a birth certificate document—it was surrendered with my legal name change application.) I was very pleased to find out that the name change is relatively simple and costs just $17, and that I could also get the gender marker changed provided that I supplied a letter from my family doctor indicating that I am undergoing medical transition.

Medical Services Plan of BC does not pay for doctor’s letters, so obtaining my letter cost $25. (My other family doctor did not charge me anything for the carry letter she recently provided me with. But, she’s pretty much retired and I only request things from her when I feel her advocacy carries more weight.) I took this letter, my change of name document and the licensing fee to the BC Access Center, had my photo taken, and presto chango… I should have my new driver’s license in about a week, listing my new name and my gender as male.

Next, I went to one of my banks and talked to a teller about having my name and gender changed on my accounts (despite no longer having any photo ID on me, since my old driver’s license was surrendered at the BC Access Centre.) Her response was, “Oh sure, we know you.” Then she cocked an eyebrow and joked, “At least we thought we did!” 🙂

I tried to make the same change at my other bank, but the teller was not able to complete the task on her own and required me to see an agent about signing a new signature card. They had no one available that I could see, so I’ll deal with that bank on my next trip to town.

I’m surprised it was so straightforward to get the gender marker changed on my driver’s license! I’m looking forward to checking out my new mug shot when the new license arrives in the mail next week, and getting bank statements in the mail addressed to Mr. instead of Miss.

UPDATE, 07/24/09: It just occurred to me that I left a pretty important detail (for BC trans men) out of this blog post when I originally wrote it almost a year ago. When my DL was updated with my new name and the male gender marker, the woman at the BC Access Centre also updated my BC Medical Services Plan (MSP) account. My BC Care Card carries my new name, and the male gender marker is on file. I’ve heard from several other BC trans men about having this request turned down. Reasons cited were 1) subject needs to be “post-op”, and 2) subject needs a birth certificate with new name and gender first. All I had to provide to have my MSP account and BC Care Card updated with my new name and male gender marker was my BC Change of Name Certificate and the letter from my physician stating that I was undergoing medical transition. That letter did NOT specify what treatment I had received.