After realising in part 2 that I could no longer travel on my old passport, I now needed to have another go at getting an updated travel document.
I had been waiting for my face to recover as much as possibleafter surgery before getting my photos taken. By the time I got my new pictures, it was less than a month before my next trip to our New York office, so I was going to have to have another face to face appointment.
I picked up the phone and called the booking line. I was immediately gendered male with a “Thank you Mr Collis” after I gave my surname. I quickly said “Actually it’s Ms Collis, not Mr” and, unlike my experience in part 1, the advisor instantly apologised profusely.
On the day, I was well prepared for more ill treatment by the G4S personnel, but I got gendered correctly by them as I moved through the building. Maybe it’s another few months of physical changes HRT, more confidence or just that the surgery has really helped people identify me correctly.
After a short wait, my ticket number was called and I went to the counter. The man quietly looked through my documents. After a few minutes, he said that he was going to have to refer it to a manager for additional authorization.
I returned to the waiting area and sat down. About 30 minutes passed and my anxiety increased. Eventually a man came to take me for an interview. He showed me to a small, quite intimidating room.
He said that the form was fine and that the photos were fine, but the only issue he could see was that the psychiatrists letters confirming my diagnosis were dated more than a month ago & they usually don’t like this. I pointed out that the reason for the delay was because I had facial reconstruction surgery booked after the letter was written and it seemed foolish to get a passport that would be invalidated a few weeks later. I also pointed out that I’m going to be transgender till the day I die, so the diagnosis being a few months old is neither here nor there. My final objection was that another appointment at a gender clinic can take almost two years on the NHS or would cost me around £200 privately, so if they won’t accept the letters that I have, then they may be effectively preventing me from travelling for up to a couple of years based upon my gender status. He said that he would write that in the notes, but they may need to query my application.
I left the passport office without certainty that I would get my application granted.
Continued in part 4