I first went to see my doctor about being Trans over a year ago, November 2011. Before that I’d been on a number of websites and forums and talked to other Trans people, found out what I could about the process of transitioning. One of the things that stuck out that people seemed to always tell me was that it was going to take a long while. I just didn’t expect how long it would actually be.
It seems like my whole process of getting from my first time talking with my GP to the Gender Clinic has been one long struggle. I’ve had to fight every step of the way. Every time I’ve been referred from one person to the next I’ve had to fight for my appointments, has to phone and email and visit people again and again to get any kind of answers. I’ve never just been given an appointment.
After struggling for months to get, and finally pass, my psychologist appointments I’ve been waiting on my actual referal with the Gender Clinic for over nine months. Every time I call them to find out when my appointment is I get told another story, another reason why it’s taking so long. I’ve been pushed around from person to person and given excuses time and time again.
Last week I was told that if, IF, my doctors send out a certain piece of documentation to the Gender Clinic immediately then the earliest I will get my appointment will be November. That will mean that if for the first time in this whole process things actually go my way, that if I’m not given any more excuses or ignored or forgotten then I can get an appointment almost a year from now. Great! Right? I mean, who wouldn’t want to spend two years getting an appointment?
Then again, that’s if things move along quickly and things happen for me with some kind of speed. Based on my past experience with the process so far I very much doubt that this is going to be the case. Which means that it probably won’t be November when I get my appointment but quite a while after.
I’m not ashamed to admit that being told this broke me a little, that I’ve spent most of the time since something of a wreck. I’ve spent half of the time around people, pretending I’m fine, half on my own crying my eyes out. It feels like my whole future is up in the air at the minute, I don’t know what’s going on, other than the fact that I’m going to be stuck in this limbo for at least another year.
I know things will be moving forward eventually and that I’ll get where I need to be in order to be happy, but I don’t know when. Each day is a struggle, a constant pain because I just can’t be me. I feel like my life is slipping away from me a day at a time and no matter what I do I’m never going to get that time back because I’m relying on other people to move the process along.
People have advised me to go private, but at the minute I can’t afford that short of getting a loan and/or selling everything I own. I’ve also been told that it’s possible to buy the hormones I need off the Internet, though this option can be very dangerous. To be honest though, at the moment both of these options aren’t completely off the table, just because waiting on the NHS is hurting me so much.
I know that the NHS is a good service, that I’m lucky to have it, but I don’t understand why it has to take this long. Do they want to weed out those people that aren’t serious about transitioning by making the process so long and hard? If so the only thing that achieves is hurting those people that really need it, that have to keep on living in a hellish existence.
Transitioning is hard enough, the challenges and prejudices hard enough without the people who are supposed to be helping making the process even harder than it already is. Right now my confidence in the whole system has been shaken, and I feel like my life is going nowhere right now. I don’t now what’s going to happen to me, how I’m going to be able to stay sane whilst I wait for this appointment.
I knew that this was going to be long and hard, but I didn’t expect it to hurt me as much as it has.