When I was christened, it would seem that the plan had not been in my parents mind for me to move to France. As if it wasn’t already enough that my surname is a girls first name in most of the world, it was decided that I be given a first name that to the French is a girls name.
Now that I have actually moved to France, the French bureaucracy is struggling to get its head around this particular conundrum.
It doesn’t appear to matter than when I sign up to things, such as the health service, that I tick the little box that marks me down as being the side of the species with two different chromosomes.
What matters is that the name I put in, Laurence, belongs to the homogametic sex in France.
The result of this is fairly interesting. I sign up to something online, and tick the little man box. My mail arrives, with my automatically printed out “M” carefully crossed out and replaced with a handwritten “Mme”. Because clearly I have no idea what I’m doing, bless.
The postman struggles with the correct way to address me. Mostly though, I dread my first visit to an actual real life doctor. Hopefully the dangly things between my legs will jog some part of his/her medical training.
I have pondered contacting the various organisations to set them straight, but navigating the challenging corridors of the French bureaucratic system is a challenge at best. I have been advised, by a number of people, that getting a sex change may actually be the easiest option. Or a change of name, to the French, “Laurent”.
I’m not yet sure which of these three options to go for. But fear not, I’ll keep you updated. In the meantime, why not listen to some Johnny Cash. He seems to have had the same sort of problem…