Wednesday, 15 February 2017

What a difference a few years makes

    So yesterday morning, there I was in my doctor's waiting room. I've gone back seven years, asking to be referred to a gender clinic again. Only of course it's rather a different situation, I'm asking to be referred back to the clinic. Not the same clinic, in the intervening years another one has opened up a lot closer to home.
    Into the doctor's office, and explain why I was there. Discuss where I am in the process and where I want to be, and that I need to be referred with my referral stating very clearly that I'm there only to get surgical referrals, I have served my time.
    The difference between now and seven years ago was this. Back then my GP, a different one from today, had that rabbit-in-the-headlights look. Transgender people were something of an unknown to him. Yesterday, completely different. I went in expecting to have to explain the whole process, and was pleasantly surprised to find this GP fully clued-up. We're coming out of the woodwork in huge numbers, and of course the professionals have had to learn about us. It would be difficult to explain to a cis person how positive this is, but it's evidence of an inexorable process. A decade or so ago you would never have met a transgender person in an average small British market town, now we're part of things. The dinosaurs in the media who still have a go at us on a regular basis can't fight that, when their readers all know people like us it becomes ever more difficult to demonise us.
    It'll be quite a few months before I get an appointment, and thereafter there will be more delay as I traverse the final few hurdles. But I'll get there.
    One thing's for certain though, I'll heed the advice a friend gave me quite a few years ago. Transition, she said, doesn't end with any particular medical procedure. It never ends, and there is always more to learn.
 

10 comments:

  1. It is very good to know that enlightenment is on the increase and that the dinosaurs are a dying breed.
    I recall the sense of freedom that flowed throughout Ireland on the morning that we heard that the vote to legalise same-sex marriage had been accepted and so I can understand how you felt on meeting that doctor.

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    1. I think most of us here wish we had the Irish gender definition laws too. :)

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  2. My own experience with my medical practice was a good one but they seemed to be completely in the dark to start with. I had missed several chances to kick start my own project when confronted with students sitting in with my doctor but once the process started my attitude flipped to complete openness with any students or staff. Once out in the wild I did not hide away so that many people knew that they had interacted with one of us and survived! Many of us have done the same so ignorance cannot easily be pushed back in the bottle, the genie is well and truly out.

    Not only does transition never really end, we all take our own time to get through it in a way which suits us.

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    1. I wonder sometimes whether being too open sometimes leads me to tell professionals Stuff They Already Know. But you're right, it's worth being open. Sometimes they need to know that stuff.

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  3. Glad that you got such a positive and knowledgeable reception, Jenny!

    Thank goodness attitudes and knowledge do change. I got into deep trouble when I made a comment only seven years back (on someone else's blog, I think) that 'transition is surely a never-ending process, because there is so much to learn if you want to seem naturally female, and it may take the rest of your life'. I was utterly pilloried by a coterie of other bloggers (who were pre-op trans, mark you, all self-styled experts of course) who reviled me for suggesting that womanhood depended on learning an awful lot of social stuff, as well as 'having the surgery'. They put me down with sneers, as 'not knowing what it was all about' - basically treating me as a troll.

    I must try to discover how they turned out themselves. I imagine they would never say what they did now.



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    1. I was glad of that advice from my friend Claire - incidentally she's my height - and though it's been a PITA I think the wait has given me a saner perspective. I know *exactly* the type of people you mean!

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  4. I think there are a lot of things to be said for taking it slowly, but I hadn't thought that the medical profession catching up with us was going to be one of them. This sounds like very good advice, I suspect that the later we start the more we have to transition.

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    1. In one sense I am glad to have had time to come to terms with it all, something I firmly believe a lot of people on the fast track don't, and then sometimes suffer somewhat as a result. But on the other hand it's frustrating to be back on a waiting list after all this time.

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  5. There are still some pretty clueless or hostile GPs of course, but I was blooming lucky with mine and looks like you are too! Congrats anyway. ...had an annual medical review with one of the practice's senior partners a few months ago and we agreed how very much things have changed; she says there's lots of young folk coming forward now. Different times indeed.

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    1. Lucky kids :)
      I have to say both my GPs have been fine, for which I too feel very grateful. But yes, still dinosaurs out there.

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