Later this week, I'll have my first GIC appointment. I'll go along as my everyday scruffy bloke and I'll tell the truth, answer all questions as best I can. My agenda is to seek help, not to pursue any particular treatment at all costs.
It's interesting, being an observer within our community and being someone who is doing their best to avoid a hormone prescription rather than doing everything possible to secure one. When you announce you are going to the GIC, you are bombarded with advice. A lot of it is exactly as I've outlined in the paragraph above, just tell it like it is. But there's another thread of advice: that the only way to secure treatment is to tell them what they supposedly want to hear. Enter the Narrative, the Set List Of Things You Are Supposed To Say And Do To Get Your Hands On Hormones.
We are a community of desperate people. It's part of our condition. In some, that desperation manifests itself in an obsession with accessing particular medical treatments whether they are appropriate or not. This is why we see people self-medding with internet hormones, or even flying off early to Thailand for backstreet GRS from one of their less reputable surgeons.
It is this desperation that has evolved the Narrative. If you are worried that you won't sound trans enough to get the hormones, so the story goes, here's what you have to say and do.
It seems you are supposed to appear (as an MtF) in girl mode. How else can they know you're serious? In fact, as I understand it how you present only matters to them if you are undergoing your Real Life Experience and they are at pains to point this out. I have heard tales of people turning up as bloke and changing in the GIC loo, how crazy is that! In my case I believe confidence is the best thing to present, and since I'm telling the doctor I want to stay as a bloke for my wife it makes sense to turn up as the bloke. I can do girl to good effect, simply in this case it doesn't make sense.
And then there is the life story. You're supposed to spin the stereotypical yarn of the girl trapped in the boy's body, you've known since birth, you hate this and that part of yourself, you're supposed to gloss over the fact you've made it through five decades, marriage and a family successfully as a bloke, because you were Never Really a Bloke and You Knew It All Along. I've heard this story as it evolves in the minds of others, and even I can tell the people who are laying it on thick. I'm sure the doctors at the GIC will have heard it often enough to distinguish those whose narrative really did happen that way.
It's easy to become frustrated with the hurdles imposed by the Standards of Care. Especially the somewhat stricter version adopted by the NHS. I'm sure we could all pick holes in some of the the things they require, or treatments they won't provide. But when faced with people giving them the Narrative, you start to understand why they have such rules, and why they sometimes seem unfairly biased against us. Don't get me wrong, if I wasn't doing everything I can to avoid it I'd be waving a deed poll and wanting to start my RLE as soon as possible too so I could be ready for GRS in two years time, but I hope I'd still be telling it like it is.
I can't help thinking that it's the Narrative and its effect on the medical profession that's responsible for some of those extra hurdles we face at what is a rather difficult time. And that really isn't helping anyone.