Monday saw my second assessment at the GIC. The same train journey with my wife, walk across the park and through West London. Past the fancy shops, the Bristol Cars showroom, the Olympia exhibition hall. Nice day for it. I bought my wife a scarf.
Most Londoners are aghast if you tell them you walked across their city. For a whole hour! But it provides an entertaining interlude, a chance to de-stress, and some welcome exercise.
The GIC was much busier than last time. A healthy cross-section of our community, men and women attired from the conventional to the slightly bizarre. I was the only scruffy bloke among the MtF contingent, in fact at all, the transmen present could hardly be described as scruffy.
My appointment was with one of the doctors with a more fearsome reputation. One who by all accounts doesn't suffer fools gladly and who sees his job as to challenge his patients. It's his technique to pull no punches, if you go forward on his say-so you have to be really committed to your path. Some people are upset by this, but I see why he does it and if you are prepared for it then it is a welcome exercise in self-challenging.
I had a fixed objective, to receive their specialist counseling services. Their first question at these appointments is always "Why are you here?", so I gave him my objective and explained why. We then discussed my situation and history, before having an entertaining chat about what I do for a living.
As an interesting aside, he revealed that my blood test showed I have a benign inherited liver anomaly with a very long name that I'll need to remember should I ever suffer jaundice. Nothing else was mentioned, so I'm guessing my baseline hormone levels must be exactly where they are supposed to be. Healthy is good.
So I came away with a referral to further counseling. Exactly what I wanted. I'm pleased with this result, it shows that help is available at the GIC for those of us taking non-standard paths. I haven't needed to present as female and I haven't been given a hard time. Sometimes I feel that few people relate their good news GIC stories.
Out of the GIC, into the Tube. Through the maze of deep tubes, onto the Victoria Line to Walthamstow. A slightly run-down high street like any other, home of Doreen Fashions. A long established ladies clothing shop that specialises in supplies for cross-dressers. Staffed by a wonderful pair of Cockney ladies who were very friendly and helpful. I was looking for an item of shapewear to help tease a feminine silhouette from my angular frame - is that what they mean by "squeezed middle"? - , and while I was there it was always worth seeing whether I could fit any of their size 14 shoes.
Surprisingly they're quite comfortable to wear, too. I haven't quite got the walking technique right though. There will be some comedy wobbling moments ahead of me wearing these shoes, but I shall persevere.
So, Monday was a good day.