Sunday, 16 October 2011

The way ahead

I'm planning on starting my Real Life Experience on the 9th January.

Here's the rough plan timetable for my transition. I know its going to sound really clinical but its the easiest way for me to work out everything I need to be doing.

24th October
Meet with personnel to start firming up the plans for dealing with things at work.
Meet with some friends at my vicar's house in order to talk about the way ahead for us as a family.

25th October
Going to Bristol, going to see friends at burlesque class and then going to see my oldest friend and his wife  before coming home. Time to explain to them what is happening. Dreading this conversation.

Early November
Meet with the SENCO and Nurse at my son's school to let them know what is happening so that they can make arrangements to provide my son with any support that he needs.

15th November
Complete Deed Poll changing name in preparation for going full time.

21st November
Next appointment at The Laurels with the counselor. Go over what I've done to date, what I think I've still got to do and when I'm planning on doing them.

End November, beginning December
Start informing everyone who needs to know of the change of name. For instance change driving license, bank, doctors etc.

December 16th
Project Christmas meal and last day at work as Bill.

December 20th
Go back into work for an hour in order to announce what is happening to my immediate colleagues. Email will then go out to the rest of the company informing them of my change.

January 9th
Return to work as Jenna.

Diagnosis Transsexual


Tuesday 11th October, 11am. One of the most important dates and times in my entire life.

This was the date and time of my appointment with the doctor at The Laurels where he would confirm the diagnosis that the counsellor had put on the report she'd written after my three assessment sessions with her.

The report had said that I was male to female transsexual. There was a slim chance that the doctor could disagree with that.

After seeing my son off on his French trip, I went home, finished getting ready and then at 8 o'clock left the house, filled the car up with petrol and the popped around to my friend's house where I was going to finish getting ready to go to Exeter.

By get ready I mean put on my make-up and get changed into the outfit I was going to wear for my appointment.

I'd thought long and hard about what I was going to wear and had picked out a top and corduroy slacks, a smart, professional looking dress and a top and skirt. We reviewed my choices and I went with the dress. I really should have gone with the top and slacks instead but I wasn't to know at the time.

Commandeering the bathroom I got ready and a little while later emerged. By just after 9:15 we were in the car and heading to Exeter.

The drive itself was pleasant, a splattering of rain but nothing too heavy. Unlike my last trip to Exeter this time the roads on the outskirts were very quiet with no long traffic jam.

We parked the car in the nearby car park just before 10:30. With time to spare before my appointment we headed towards Exeter High Street and a quick visit to Boots and Lloyds bank.
On the way there I caught people glancing at me out of the corners of their eyes and also openly looking. This was totally unlike the last time I'd gone into Exeter with my friend. Admittedly last time I was wearing jeans and a top, this time I was wearing a dress with a hem that ended well above the knee. I was beginning to regret the choice of outfit. As Homer Simpson would says “Doh!”
My friend tried to get me to relax, including at one point giving a push that caused me to stagger. I laughed at that point and began to relax, not caring what anyone thought.

We made our way to The Laurels arriving with 15 minutes to spare before my appointment.
Apart from the staff there was one other person there when we arrived and she offered to make us a drink. Coffee in hand I sat down and we chatted for a couple of minutes before my counselor came out of her room and saw me, she asked me in for a quick chat before my appointment.
We sat down and went over some recent events. After about 10 minutes the receptionist knocked on the door to let us know that the doctor was ready to see me.

The doctor greeted me in the reception area and we went through to the consulting room.

My report was on the desk

The doctor wanted to go over the report to clarify some things. For the next half an hour I talked about my childhood, the first few years after leaving home and moving to Portsmouth and also my journey from when I first saw a doctor to talk about being transsexual to being sat there waiting to hear his decision. We talked about my son's illness and how it had delayed things.

At one point the doctor looked at me and said that he didn't see Bill sitting in front of him.

He talked about how gender dysphoria is a continuum with really mild cases at the one end and more severe cases at the other.

Eventually he told me that he agreed with the counselor conclusion and that I was male-to-female transsexual. He thought that I sit somewhere in the middle of the dysphoria spectrum. He did say that mine wasn't a typical case because I've managed to hold out for so long. My dysphoria is getting worse though and he understood that become a woman is the only way that I can deal with it.

After going over my past and his confirm the diagnosis he explained what the way ahead is.

To start with I'll be continuing to have therapy/counselling. My next appointment is already planned for the middle of November. For the remainder of my time at the clinic I'll be meeting with the counsellor every 6 weeks to discuss how things are going and for her to help me as I develop as a woman.

Every 3 months I'll meet with doctor to go over my treatment. After 3 to 6 months of me being with The Laurels I should be able to start on hormones. I've an appointment to see doctor a week after I start my Real Life Experience. My next appointment will then be at the end of March or more likely the beginning of April. At that appointment we'll be discussing me starting on hormones.

My Real Life Experience will take 2 years, at the end of that I'll be able to look at getting the final surgeries to complete everything.
In the meantime I can get back in contact with the Speech Therapist that I saw last year to arrange sessions with her to work on my voice. I can also look at getting some more laser hair removal sessions to clear the hair on my face.

Everyone is really friendly at the clinic, both staff and other patients. The clinic was really busy as apart from other patients with appointments there were a few others there as it gets used as a drop in for patients and ex-patients when they are in the area.

After we'd finished at the clinic we wandered into the city centre in order to get something to eat. We'd planned on going to Prezzo and had an idea where it was, right at the opposite end of the high street to where the clinic was. We started walking down the high street, I noticed people glancing at me from time to time, darn short dress was drawing more attention to me than a pair of trousers would have done.

We reached where the restaurant should have been but couldn't find it so we walked all the way back up the other way in case we'd gone in the wrong direction, passing the turning for the clinic we carried on. Still no sign of Prezzo.

At this point I suggested we make our way to Hotel Chocolat which we knew how to find and ask there. The assistant was really helpful and sent us back down the high street in the direction we'd originally gone. I'd even asked her a few questions to clarify exactly where the restaurant was, my voice is nowhere feminine enough but she responded in a friendly manner and with a smile.

Running the lunchtime gauntlet I again noticed people looking at me but nobody uttered a word, certainly not that I could hear. This time we carried on a bit further and found the restaurant.

A waiter sat us at a table off the side of the main restaurant as I wanted to be away from most of the diners. The only other people eating there were a group of women and an older couple. The couple finished their meal shortly after we arrived and left.

The waitress came and took our food and drink order and kept popping back to check on us over the course of our meal. Again she behaved in a friendly manner.

Finally we finished our meal and made our way to the till to pay.

This was the first time I've been in a restaurant to eat as a female. It was a another major step for me and ticked off yet another thing that I take for granted but have to do for the first time as a female.

A quick visit to Debenhams to have a browse around the clothes, nothing really caught Kate or my I and we left empty handed. Another visit to Hotel Chocolat, again leaving empty handed, then it was back to the car and the drive back.

Even though my son was away I couldn't go back to the house without changing and removing my make-up as it was still early and there was the chance of bumping into one of the neighbors who don't know about my plans. In fact I did bump into one of them as I was making my way from the car to the house.

So I've bored you with what happened in Exeter, you'll be wanting to know what is going to be happening in the months ahead.

My other half still hasn't told her family. We're going to arrange to go up to where they live at some point after half term so that my sister-in-law can be told, as she's likely to take the news more calmly, and then with her help tell my mother-in-law. I don't know how or when she's going to tell father-in-law but he's going to take the news the worst I suspect. Do I care? Not really. We all know he's got a low opinion of me since I kicked him out of the house. My other half said that it might be easier for me to tell her family. A bit late to suggest that to me. I told her I'd have done it ages ago if it had been up to me. Not leave it until the last minute.

My other half has thought a bit about what she wants going forward from now, she's got half term week to think about things properly as we'll be talking about it when I get back. As of last Friday she wanted us to stay together as a family but I might have to move into the small bedroom when I go full time.

Looks like I'll be doing a bit of decorating over the coming weeks.