I’ve had lots of new followers recently so I wanted to take this chance to say hello and introduce myself before I get into the post. I’m Liam and I created this blog 3 years ago to talk about mental illness and being transgender. Over the years I’ve focused more on ‘life’ things like books, thoughts and adventures. However, occasionally I reflect back on my experiences with mental illness or track my transition, and today is one of those days! I’ve added the definitions to some of the common terms I use at the bottom of this post for anyone unsure (they’re in bold).
I’m transgender (FTM) and amongst many other topics and adventures, I’ve been posting about my journey transitioning under the NHS since 2016. Some general background information is I started to socially transition in May 2015, and got my hair cut in February 2016. In December 2016 my journey of referrals started, my last post about this being in May 2017. Since then I heard back from Tavistock in August and had 4 appointments from September until December (when I turned 18).
In summary, we managed to cover a lot of subjects in the short space of time I had. Some things we discussed were:
- General health forms and questionnaires
- My identity and how I relate to it
- How and when I realised I was trans
- My childhood in relation to sexuality and gender
- My hopes for the future
- Medical interventions I want to have and the pros and cons
- My family’s and friend’s attitudes to me being trans
- How I experience dysphoria
- Mental health/mental illness background
- Significant life events
A summary letter was written which I received in February, when supposedly a referral was made to the adults GIC. Within 2 months there was no response or evidence that I had actually been referred so I went to the GP in April with a self referral form. Luckily before it was completed I received the confirmation letter from the adults GIC. There’s a 14 month waiting list which I’m dreading the wait for but I’m on my way and the time should fly quickly.
This is some insight to the process many trans people go through. Medical intervention isn’t easily accessible. The waiting lists, age restrictions and referrals take a long time. I am incredibly lucky to have the NHS support this, as many people all over the world have to pay large amounts of money or travel countries to get the support and treatments they need.
Until next time,
FTM – Female to male. This refers to people who were assigned female at birth but identify as/are male. Every trans person uses different labels, this is just one I use. Alternatively MTF is male to female.
Socially transition – This can be anything such as coming out, asking people to call you by certain pronouns/name, changing gender expression, talking within different social groups about this eg. Friends, colleagues, family etc.
Tavistock – An NHS gender identity clinic (GIC) in London for children under 18.
Medical intervention – This can range from hormone blockers and HRT to various surgeries. A common misconception is that there is one surgery, often referred to as ‘the surgery’ however there are actually many.
Dysphoria – “Used to describe when a person experiences discomfort or distress because there is a mismatch between their sex assigned at birth and their gender identity. This is also the clinical diagnosis for someone who doesn’t feel comfortable with the gender they were assigned at birth.” (Reference)
GIC – Gender identity clinic