Its been a long time since I first started seeking out help to resolve my Gender Dysphoria.
The first time I actively discussed things with a doctor was back in about 1995, before I was married. My GP turned to me and asked me a question. "If I could give you a pill right now that would make you completely female, would you take it?" I didn't hesitate with my answer. "Yes."
It was another 5 years before I next went to a doctor to discuss my GD. In fact I didn't strictly discuss my GD with a doctor. My son had been taken seriously ill and I sat down with the hospital social worker and told her everything. She talked to the doctor and got me a referral for an initial assessment. It was an unmitigated disaster as the counsellor who assessed me basically sent me away with no support or no suggestion of where I go to get support.
Another couple of years went by and I went to my GP and asked for a referral. This time I saw someone different. He asked me questions and listened to what I had to say and agreed to refer me onwards. Within a few weeks I had an appointment at Charing Cross. Again things didn't go to plan and at the last minute I cancelled my appointment. I didn't know why at the time but 7 months later my son was taken ill again and the entire family pretty much uprooted to Bristol for 6 months, getting home literally just in time for Christmas Eve.
In 2009 I decided that I needed to resolve things again, this time I popped along to a private clinic for an initial assessment. Everything went find, I saw a counsellor, had various tests done and was told how much treatment would cost. I went home to wait 2 weeks for the test results to come back.
When they did come back I was shocked by what the nurse had to tell me. The doctor had written across the top of the results "White cell count a bit low but that's understandable because of the patients prior Leukaemia. Suggest has blood test redone by own GP."
What Leukaemia? I've never had it in my life. My son has had it but not me. My GP redid the tests and they all came out fine. Any confidence I'd had in the clinic went right out the window. If the doctor that would be in charge of my treatment couldn't even listened to me correctly then there was no way I'd put myself in his hands.
A couple of months went by and I changed my GP to one of the female doctors from a male doctor that I'd been allocated to when my GP retired. I decided that the time had come to try the NHS route once again. I received my appointment to have an initial assessment once more but this time I didn't make the appointment because my son was taken ill again, which had us seriously worried again and I cancelled the appointment just in case it was something serious. It wasn't.
In 2010 I went back to my GP, apologised for pulling out of my appointment at the last moment and asked if we could try again. She agreed and referred me for another assessment. This one I managed to make and instead of the hour grilling I was expecting, only had a half an hour chat with a psychiatric nurse. She asked me to come back two weeks later. When I did she told me that I was being referred to a psychiatrist for further assessment.
I had 3 assessments with the psychiatrist and on the third asked for a referral to the Gender Identity Clinic.
Four months after asking for the referral I have an appointment at The Laurels. Tomorrow, 4th July 2011, I will finally walk into a gender clinic and hopefully will be on the way to being a female full time. Its still a long road ahead but tomorrow I will finally do what I set out to do 13 years ago in Bristol.