January 10th …already a third of the way through this month and 1/36th of a year, where have the last 10 days gone?
This is a year in which I want to make some significant changes most notably to begin living more aligned to what I sense is my true gender.
My GP has completed a referral to the London GIC and I have a copy of both the referral and the detailed blood tests. All the bloods are normal, save for being a bit low on vitamin D. I now have to expect at least a 12 month delay before getting a first appointment. But whether my blood results will still be relevant in 12 months time is anybody’s guess; one wonders the logic of completing these now. So much of this referral process seems crazy and inefficient and for a health service under financial strain, highly wasteful. It seems from reading the GIC website, that two appointments are needed, with a likely gap of a few months, before hormone treatment will be authorised.
Reading widely I have come to understand that any changes to my body as a result of hormones will reverse if I stop taking them within 12 months; beyond that up to 2 years most changes will reverse but I might be left with some breast growth. So it would seem logical to allow ones GP to decide whether to prescribe hormones (on private prescription if needs be) without incurring the costs and delay of the bottleneck which is an underfunded and under staffed GIC, reserving the GIC resources for those who require surgery. With referral rates increasing by an estimated 28% per annum, this surely has to make economic sense.
The London GIC website states: Gender variance and gender dysphoria cannot be detected by laboratory testing or scanning, and determining the way forward in regard to managing gender problems is by clinical consensus: in the majority of cases, someone is seen by two (and sometimes more) clinicians before a broad treatment plan is agreed. The second assessment is usually with a separate clinician and forms the second half of the assessment process. Occasionally, more than two assessments might be needed to reach consensus.
Elsewhere on nhs.uk: The aim of hormone therapy is to make you more comfortable with yourself, both in terms of physical appearance and how you feel. Hormone therapy may be all the treatment you need to enable you to live with your gender dysphoria. The hormones may improve how you feel and mean that you do not need to start living in your preferred gender or have surgery.
Am I alone is feeling there is a mismatch between the NHS generally and the GIC? From the NHS.uk: It was traditionally thought to be a psychiatric condition, with its causes believed to originate in the mind. However, more recent research suggests the condition may actually be the result of the abnormal development of a baby while it is in the womb, possibly as a result of genetic or hormonal factors, which causes the brain to develop a gender identity that is different to the baby’s sexual organs.
So why do I need to see a psychiatrist?
It is clear that many of us fear the decision of the GIC, holding as they do the key to hormones and happiness. But I must do everything to ensure a successful outcome, so what are the actions I should be putting in place now.
Planning in 2016
Dress: Much of the time I wear ‘female’ clothes, mostly jeans and jumpers – it is winter. As Eddie Izzard is reputed to have said, “these are not women’s clothes, but my clothes”. I just feel more comfortable in these clothes, but a lot of that has to do with the style, cut and fit. When I ‘cross-dressed’ I’d wear a wig; now I’ve sold all my wigs and am letting my hair grow – I want to be as authentic as possible. Then I might have worn false boobs and a bra, now only if wearing something that is cut for a bust. I don’t (yet) have boobs, so I don’t need a bra.
Name change: In the UK one may simply go by any name one chooses so long as it isn’t done to defraud people. However to obtain/renew a passport involves the name change being recorded in a ‘deed poll’. Of course, that name change needs to be communicated to every organisation you deal with. Although you must change your drivers license immediately (and log book), you can continue to use a passport in your old names until renewal. Oh, and if you are married, you need your spouses permission.
My feeling is that I will plan to do this around September, which is my birth month.
So what else should I be including in this plan? What other evidence is the GIC likely to want to see? At 67, I want to progress as smoothly as I can.
Have a wonderful 2016 everyone