posted in: Gender | 0

A rather strange but very apt analogy

A transgender update… It’s been a while since I last posted about my little gender journey and I did make a conscious decision to document this whole thing as much as possible. I’ve also decided to move my mainly social media updates onto this blog. I’ll gradually start to cut & paste my Facebook & Instagram updates onto here. I’ll backdate them accordingly. It may take a bit of time to do this, but when done it will then keep all my gender updates in one nice online space, for people to read if they want to. So, where am I currently at? Well it’s been quite a week 🙄

As a bit of a very brief recap, so far the transition has been a painfully slow process. A lot slower than I ever imagined or dreamed it would be. Being told you need to wait over two years for an NHS appointment at one of its massively over subscribed Gender Clinics was quite a shock to the system 😯

January 2018 was when I finally accepted the need to be female. I’d spent most of my life battling or struggling to deal with my gender, so to finally accept what needed to be done felt so good. A huge weight off my shoulders, which I know is an over used cliché. Problem was, once accepting this, I needed a fix straight away. I’d waited years and years to do this. Yes there was nothing to stop me from changing from Steve to Steph. I could present as female as soon as possible and I did. But any physical changes to my gender relied on the painfully slow NHS system, so I impatiently waited and waited…

The months went by with my NHS appointment just getting further away instead of nearer. Summer 2019 turned into late 2019 and then finally I was told ‘sometime in 2020’ and even that sounded dubious. Eventually my patience wore thin and I sought some private treatment, to hopefully jump the NHS queue a little. I was desperate to start some hormone treatment and there are limits to my patience. So in June 2019 I managed to arrange a private appointment in London with GenderCare. It wasn’t cheap, but I needed things to medically start moving.

The London appointment didn’t get off to the best of starts, as my morning train down into London was cancelled and it seriously looked like I wouldn’t make my long overdue appointment 😯 In the end, after lots of jumping from train to train I did get to my London GenderCare appointment and all was good. My psychological assessment confirmed where I needed to be regarding my gender and I was given a second GenderCare appointment down in Brighton to discuss hormones. I left London feeling really positive as finally it looked like things might medically start to get moving.

My Brighton hormone appointment was booked for Wednesday 9th Oct. A bit of a wait, but it was the earliest slot they had. And in the grand scheme of things, waiting three more months was nothing to the time I’d already spent waiting for an initial NHS Gender Clinic appointment. Plus, having a little while inbetween appointments did give me some much needed time to save a few pennies to pay for the next one.

Which all brings me to last week. The week of my hormone day. I’d booked the day off work, rescheduled or cancelled all of my Wednesday art classes and I’d booked a nice swanky looking hotel just outside Brighton. The day couldn’t come round quick enough. Getting my hormone levels sorted out has always been a massive issue for me and I’m going to use a rather strange but very apt analogy to explain this…

For nearly two years now I’ve been presenting myself as female. I look quite different now (not massively) to what I did a few years ago. However internally I’m still exactly the same as the day I was born, male ? and this is and has been really tough. Most people have accepted me as female, which has been beautifully lovely, but inside I know I’m not and this makes it hard to function sometimes. Some days I just feel wrong, which leads to my rather strange but very apt analogy…

Let’s take a modern car (bear with me) Outwardly most cars today all look pretty similar. Yet inside you have unleaded, diesel, electric, hybrid, even gas powered vehicles. If you walked past a car, at a quick glance, most people would struggle to correctly identify exactly what type of car it was. Which is a lot like me walking through a supermarket. I get a lot of little glances and I’m sure people are trying to work out if I’m unleaded or diesel 🙂 The point I’m trying to make here is that outwardly things can look like one thing, but if their insides don’t match then things don’t really work properly.

On Saturday, three days before my drive down to Brighton, I stupidly put lots of unleaded fuel into my wife’s diesel car 😯 As it’s a lot more economical than my little car, we’d agreed to swap cars for a few days. Needless to say, after my brainless blunder at the Sainsburys garage my wife’s car stopped working!!! A diesel car will not function with unleaded fuel. In much the same way as a trans women struggles to function with male hormones. To all the people who passed us in the carpark, as we waited for the AA to arrive, our car looked just like any other car. Nobody had any clue as to how broken it was inside…

An hour later I gave a very nice AA man £200 to drain fuel from our car and to clean the engine. This was exactly the cost of my Brighton GenderCare appointment and exactly the amount of money I’d saved over the summer 🙄 When I got home I quickly cancelled my Brighton hotel and tried to work out if I could somehow still make my eagerly anticipated hormone appointment, as cancelling this really didn’t bear thinking about.

I did make it to Brighton, somehow. My rearranged hotel was somewhat basic and far from swanky, but frankly I really didn’t care. Just getting to Brighton had been a bonus after the weekend!!! My appointment couldn’t really have gone any better and I drove home with a letter advising my GP to start prescribing me with hormone patches 😀 Finally 🙂

Two days after my Brighton appointment I squeezed an appointment in with my very busy and very sought after GP, to finally get the hormone treatment started. After all the waiting and unforseen obstacles it seemed a little surreal sat there talking about HRT. Exciting yes, but a little surreal. Walking away from my GP appointment, carrying a prescription for the medication that I’d been wanting so long for. Medication that will eventually sort me out internally. Let’s just say I was rather happy 🙂 A lot less happy when the pharmacy told me they had no estrogen patches due to the current UK drug shortages 😯 Pharmacy number two told me exactly the same, as did the third pharmacy I tried!!! Never easy is it 🙄

So to bring this current update bang up to date… One of the pharmacies I tried did say they could get similar estrogen patches on next day delivery. I’ve managed to get my GP to alter my prescription, so hopefully I should be able to start my HRT journey this weekend… But in light of how rocky this journey has already been, I’m not counting any hormonal chickens just yet.