“Man, they said we better, accentuate the positive / Eliminate the negative / Latch on to the affirmative / Don’t mess with Mister In-Between…” Words by Johnny Mercer
The psychiatric conception sees the desire for HRT/GCS as pathological, as a medical condition to be fixed, cured, or managed. While it is true that many trans people do in fact see their transness as a medical condition and many trans people experience gender dysphoria to the point of it being incredibly psychosocially distressing, this is not necessarily the case for all people seeking access to HRT, GCS, or top surgery. Some trans people claim to experience no significant gender dysphoria at all. Rather, their desire for HRT/GCS is rooted in gender euphoria, the palpable sense of relief and joy that comes from having their desired body and/or being treated as their identified gender.
Transitions have a starting point and an end point. The end point I guess is when one feels complete, that there is nothing else to change/refine. But what was my starting point; when did what used to be called ‘real life experience (RLE)’ start. As of now, I am not out to everyone, but I don’t hide who I am. Since coming back from our Norway trip in February 2016 I have not dressed in anything other than clothes that come from the women’s section. I did decide that I would adopt the name Toni, which is phonetically identical to my previously known name of Tony – it just felt the obvious thing to do and I completed a Deed Poll in November. My drivers licence now bears the code indicating female. And I am the happy possessor of a UK Passport indicating my sex as Female (think they mean Gender). I am not in full time employment so don’t have that to provide evidence of the start of RLE, though I have volunteered with Oxfam since early July 2016 and am known as Toni to everyone there.
I truly am not really sure what gender dysphoria is and if I have it. My Gender Doctor is of the opinion that I do (and I guess with the experience gained from 3000+ patients she might be expected to know). I do know that I wish my face didn’t look so male so much of the time, that I wasn’t misgendered so often (though I understand why); I wish I passed as the woman I feel myself to be (but decades of being told how to be male and being poisoned by Testosterone takes so much undoing). However, I love the sense of freedom that comes from being dressed in my clothes from the women’s dept (but not in the way a cross-dresser might) and I totally love the feelings I get from the oestrogen coursing through my body. So I can identify with those transgender folk who experience euphoria from, at last, acknowledging and feeding my true gender.
Why does any of this matter? In many ways it doesn’t. I know my true gender and I am happy to be, at last, living it. But next week I have my first session with the gatekeepers of NHS funding of hormones and surgery. It would be nice to have their active support.
Wish me luck. With much love, (and a Happy New Year)