Gender Identity Clinic: 1st appointment

Gender Identity Clinic: 1st appointment

When the calendar rolled from December 31st to January 2013 I had a feeling that this would be a very special year.

There’s no reason why moving from 2012 to 2013 should be any different than moving from a Tuesday to a Wednesday at any other point of the year, but, as we all know, it’s seen as a chance to make changes. It’s also a reminder of time passing, never to be returned.

Perhaps the optimism I was feeling about the year ahead was a reflection of my own mindset rather than the events which I knew were waiting for me. There was a confidence about how I was feeling, a renewed, or even a discovered sense of optimism that things were heading in the right direction for the first time I could remember.

One month in to the new year and I found myself attending my appointment at the gender clinic after an eight-month wait since my first GP appointment. In the run-up, my friends asked if I was nervous, scared, apprehensive or any other of the wide range of emotions they believed I should be feeling. I wasn’t.

The morning of the appointment was a different story. I woke with nerves twisting my stomach but they didn’t last for long, more my apprehension about going somewhere new that I always have rather than taking the next step on a life-changing journey.

It all felt as if it was the most natural thing in the world and, there’s the rub – life isn’t hard when you’re doing what you are supposed to be. Sure, external events can cause hardship, but when you are working towards your own self-interests, the ones you are supposed to be moving towards, not the ones you try and force, it all comes so easily.

Ninety minutes of questions about everything from my family history to sexual appetites flew by and I answered honestly, frankly and found it all very straightforward. Another hour of waiting while the ‘team’ discussed what I had told them and then I was called back into the room where I heard the words I didn’t even realise I had been waiting on.

“We are convinced that you need to be here and are prepared to take you on as a client. There is no stronger opinion we can give about your situation than we are accepting you here.”

I’ve paraphrased that. I can’t remember the words exactly but it brought a smile to my face that has refused to shift since.

The validation. The opinion of experts with decades of experience in this field, agreeing with me, letting me know that it wasn’t all in my head, something I’d imagined. I hadn’t for a moment considered that it might have been but I also didn’t know how much that validation would mean to me. People talk about gatekeepers, but for me someone else agreeing with me helped immensely.

The next steps were set. A counseling session once every four weeks for a minimum of six months. At that point, if I’d shown ‘gender consistency’ (best pop all those dresses I have back in the closet eh?) then I could start hormones and there was a possibility I could be going for my first operation (double mastectomy) as early as one year from the date of my first appointment.

Of course, these were all minimum timescales and while the scope for disappointment increases if you take them as gospel, they are the timescales I’ll aimed for. I’ve wasted enough time already.

From the appointment and the cloud I was floating on I was brought down to earth a little bit as I went to see my mum and fill her in on everything that had happened. Incredibly supportive she is, like any decent mother, concerned about the surgeries. Not entirely clued up on what is going to be involved she thought that the testosterone would take care of my chest without the need of an op. My fault for not explaining it properly, I guess.

So this is it, the point where it all really started to get going…
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leehurley

Belfast-based trans guy. Have words, will travel. If in doubt, assume sarcasm

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