Automatic Trans Mission

I mentioned Jake Graf’s wedding a few weeks ago; now I’m sharing one of his films.

I was reminded of it this morning when I called to change my car insurance policy. After going through all the security questions I got stuck in a bit of a loop.

“Okay, and your name is?”

– Carrie.

“No, sorry, I need your name now.”

– It’s Carrie.

“No, I mean *your* name.”

– It’s Carrie. I’m the policy holder. Carrie Marshall.

“But it says here… it says Ms.”

– I know, your system doesn’t support Mx. I’m transgender.


Bear in mind that the very first question he’d asked me in the call was “can I take your name, please?”

Eventually we agreed that my name was indeed Carrie, but he wasn’t happy about it. I lost count of the number of times in our short conversation the agent asked, “are you sure there isn’t anything else you need to inform us about?”

It’s annoying, but thankfully it doesn’t happen very often: when I called my bank the other day to try and resolve a name issue (RBS has been trying and failing to change my name on two accounts since November), the chap on the phone used my old name. I hadn’t even noticed, but he spent so long apologising I was starting to worry that the call might end with him committing seppuku.

And as Jake’s video shows, sometimes people are not just okay, but actually brilliant.

I was calling my insurer because I’d bought a car (one with an auto box, hence the puntastic title of this blog post). The guy I’d bought it from wasn’t just okay with having a trans customer; he was delighted. In a previous life he’d ran nightclubs and as we waited for various computer things and branch things to happen he regaled me with frankly unrepeatable tales of some of his more outré trans friends’ tomfoolery and shenanigans. And he gave me a really good deal too.

There’s a cliché: people buy from people. And it’s a cliché because it’s true. I’ve recommended (both personally and on review sites, Google etc) businesses for no other reason than they made me feel like a valued customer and I wanted to tell other people about it. I won’t be doing the same for my current insurer.