I've had my appointment with the psychiatrist in Taunton so I thought I'd just share a little bit of what happened.
Having eventually found the place, SatNavs aren't all their cracked up to be sometimes. Suppose its the "garbage in garbage out" principal but after ending up at the train station with about half an hour to spare, because that's where the one road took me, I eventually managed to get the correct place 5 minutes drive away.
A tour of almost every building on the site finally got me, via 3 receptionists, to the right place.
Doctor Brook is very nice. She asked me questions and took notes for the best part of an hour. It went into a lot more detail than my assessment and some of the questions were a lot more personal. For instance was I heterosexual, did I like women or men, did I think that my sexual orientation might change after treatment.
The upshot of it is that she isn't going to refer me on to the gender identity clinic in Newton Abbot just yet. In order for her to do so I have to complete "Step 1" and then make an appointment to see her when I've done that.
"Step 1" is basically that I have to tell my family about what I am doing. By family that means wife, son, sister and my parents. Obviously that is not going to be something that I can do easily because it can only be done face to face. My parents are actually down next week and so it would be a good time to tell them but I need to be able to do this in a nice calm way, doing it with the wife around isn't going to be anything like that. Same with my sister, she's got a fair bit on her plate at the moment with one of her twins not being well so I have to wait until they are home from hospital and she's a bit more with it then manage to meet up with her.
Really I'm going to have to find time and space over the next couple of weeks, because I don't want to leave it hanging for too long, to work out the best way to talk to them all and then to find the opportunities to actually have the conversations.
I'd be lying if I said I didn't feel a little bit down after the experience.
However, there was one interesting thing that came up which I wasn't prepared for. Dr Brook asked about whether I wanted surgical procedures. I thought it was a trick question as caught myself thinking that if I said no then it was end of the road and she'd show me the door, so to speak. In fact what she explained to me was that not all of the women that are referred to the GIC actually have some of the surgical procedures. From what I've heard from elsewhere some don't because they find it too risky. I don't know if that is true. I certainly didn't realise that you could go so far with gender reassignment and then stop short of the final operation. In answer to the question I was posed I said that I think I'd have all the procedures. That might not be the case, only time and the effects of hormones and the rest of the treatment will be able to determine that. I'd like to be as fully functional a woman as I possible though.