Lisa Bond is on a very important mission…
BY LISA BOND
I reached the front of the security line and put my bag in the plastic tray, along with my house keys, watch and phone. The guards looked on sternly as I walked forward, arms raised as in pre-emptive surrender.
A peaked cap passed a scanner scrupulously close to my body, like those old toys where you had to guide a metal ring across a twisty metal wire and, if you touched it, you got a buzzer and a shock. I envisioned myself lighting up and the building going dark if that happened. I held my breath.
Satisfied at last, he grunted and nodded me on towards the body scanner. I stepped carefully through, taking pains not to make eye contact with the cluster of guards beyond – all of whom were staring at me as though trying to decide whether I matched the profile of the tip-off they’d received earlier that day. I swallowed and felt my forehead dampen. One slowly drew out his baton and began to inspect it leisurely.
Nervously I collected my belongings from the conveyor and made my way to the reception desk. Reception bunker it should have been called.
“Yes?” barked a pair of spectacles behind the Perspex.
I pulled out the document I had come to have endorsed – obtained after persuading a person of good standing, who’d known me for at least 10 years, but was not a relative, friend or had even heard of me, to swear a mighty oath in front of a Commissioner of Oaths in the Ceremony of Oaths.
The spectacles glinted.
“North Wing. Level 3. Corridor E, Room 497. Stairs over there.”
The stairs began under a wide gothic arch and were themselves straight out of a 1920s German Expressionist movie. My footsteps echoed around the great stone columns and arches and were lost in the gloom. Not a soul was to be seen or heard.
Eventually, I stood at the threshold to Room 497, Corridor E, Level 3, North Wing. A sign in gothic script sternly ordered: “Press bell and wait.”
I looked around, half expecting to see a bench of skeletons clutching papers in their bony claws, but it wasn’t long before a shape appeared behind the frosted glass of the service window, paused, and then slipped up the hatch six inches.
“Document.” I slid it through.
The shape disappeared and low voices were heard, engaged in some sort of argument. The shape returned.
“This is wrong,” said the shape, thrusting the document back through the hatch.
“You’ve put section 11, paragraph D, schedule ii here when it should have been section ii, paragraph D, schedule 11. You’ll have to get it done again and come back.”
I felt faint. “Please,” I whimpered. “It took me months to get that done. I don’t know if I’ll even be able to find another guarantor.”
There was a silence. Then another silence. Then a third silence that ended at last in a heavy sigh.
“Oh all right. Cross it out, write it in correctly and initial the change. And I’m only doing this because I like your handwriting.”
I did the necessary and once more the paper disappeared. Then the sound I’d been waiting for years to hear: a heavy thump.
Twenty seconds later, I held the stamped and endorsed deed poll: I was now officially Lisa Niamh Bond, as official as official could be, and my new life as a transgender woman had finally begun.
Lisa Bond is a writer and person living in 21st century London. Identifying mainly as a carbon-based, bipedal life form, her hobbies include being a lesbian and transgender woman. To keep her off the streets and usefully distracted, she recently became a student nurse and hopes eventually to meet Alex Kingston. In 2018, she took part in her band Brunk’s legendary world tour of Dunkirk, where her punk and ska trumpeting skills were much admired in French.