Jo or Joe? Surge in trans children changing names Sunday Times 13.01.10

The original article is here.

by Rosamund Urwin

Children as young as 10 are having their gender switched by deed poll as record numbers of British youngsters identify as transgender.

The UK Deed Poll Service has seen a sharp rise in the number of parents paying £35 to alter their child’s title from “Miss to Master” or “Master to Miss” in the past five years, with about one under-16-year-old making the change every day.

These changes are commonly accompanied by the renouncing of the child’s birth name and the adoption of a new first name from the opposite sex.

“We used to issue a couple of these deed polls every couple of months — but now it’s seven to 10 a week,” said Louise Bowers, a senior deed poll officer. “The majority are teenagers — 14 or 15 — but they go down to the age of 10.”

Bowers said that while some children tweaked their first names — transitioning from “Joe to Jo”, for example — others took on an entirely new name, “such as going from Louise to David”. The first child under 16 to use the service to adopt the gender-neutral title “Mx” changed the prefix earlier this month.

Bowers said that while the majority of applications previously came from children born male and wishing to adopt a girl’s name and the “Miss” prefix, this had now reversed: “There are more Misses to Masters than Masters to Misses now.”

The change reflects a wider trend. In 2017-18, more than twice as many biologically female children as male children were referred to the Tavistock clinic’s specialist gender identity development service.

Parental approval is needed to change the name of a child aged under 16. Parents can also pay £8 to replace words such as “son”, “daughter”, “he” and “she” so that the deed poll will not reveal the child’s sex at birth.

Bowers said that “a couple” of children had also requested “reversals”, asking to return to their original name and original gendered title after they passed their 16th birthday.