feelings (Photo credit: Dreaming in the deep south)
Following my year and a half of CBT with Dr S, he said he (and my gp) would be more than happy to refer me to leeds gender clinic, however he strongly recommended that he refer me to a colleague of his who “specialises in gender identity disorder“. I’d grown to trust this guy a lot of the past 18 months so i said if he really thought it would be beneficial then i would be happy to see this person. After all, speaking to someone once, maybe twice, before being refered to leeds shouldnt delay things too much, and, he told me, might actually speed up the process once I’m there as I will have already seen 2 psychiatrists before going.
A couple of months went by and just as i was beginning to wonder if I’d been forgotten, through came appointment with L.B – the ‘gender specialist’ colleague i had been referred to. I was really happy, thinking i would see her on this day and a few days later my referral would be sent to leeds and I’d soon be on my way!
This was not to be the case (looking back, why would it be?! nothing is ever so easy, and if it is, it’s not to be trusted!)
The day arrived, i sat in the ever familiar reception area, where i had spent a significant part of the last year, for 10/15 minutes (always early!) then she came in and introduced herself. I stood to follow her through to her office but she asked me to sit back down and fill out a form, which turned out to be the standard multiple choice questionnaire designed to determine whether you are currently suffering from depression or anxiety. A very simplistic method which anyone can easily manipulate to show what they want to portray no matter how they are feeling, by simply ticking the appropriate box. But that’s besides the point…. i answered honestly… yes, i was feeling great, no I didn’t want to kill myself, no I hadn’t self harmed in the past week etc etc. For the first time in years i had been feeling optimistic about life, finally knowing, with 100% certainty, what the answer to being happy was.
Had I filled out the same questionnaire at the end of this first session, the results would have been very different!!
She returned, took my form with a smile and asked me to follow her into her office. First challenge, where to sit?! she stood in the doorway, watching to see where i sat, all the seats spaced out strangely and at awkward angles… there didn’t seem to be a right answer. i spotted a box of tissues by one chair and figured that’s where I was supposed to sit, but who knows :S
i sat down, she sat down, then came relief when her first question was “what would you like me to call you?”… in the days leading up to this one i had played over in my head the conversation in which i asked her not to call me my previous name and instead to call me my chosen name, which i had recently made official by deed poll. so that got that out-of-the-way, I felt like we were off to a good start.
Her next question however was, “how do you feel about the legal ramifications” (great word!), i asked what specific “legal ramification” she was referring to. Her answer – “well the fact you and your partner wont be legally married anymore”. This was the first kick in the stomach, i really had no idea that this was the case, but it turns out that because marriage is legally between a man and a woman and a civil partnership is between 2 people of the same-sex, once a person changes their sex they no longer fulfil the legal definition of their partnership and it is automatically “dissolved” (i HATE this word!).
Following that little bombshell which left me feeling more than deflated, she went on to comment on my clothes, stating that although may be wearing mens clothes, i dont look like a man in them (even went onto say that my shirt was so nice she could wear it herself! wt actual f?!) then despite my obvious anger went on to say that i might want to consider roughing my hair up a bit because it was too nice to be a mans hairstyle. I told her that there was no way i was going to change my taste in clothes and my hairstyle to suit what someone elses idea of a man was. She didnt responded, simply sat and jotted something down on her notepad.
the other topics we spoke about were –
* me paying to see a voice coach (just give me testosterone!!)
* Sex (specifically, “do you use a strap on?”)
*the order of importance for things such as hormones, surgeries etc
*packing and binding
*whether i use the mens toilets and if i piss standing up
basically, anything really personal you would cringe at asking a person, especially a total stranger, she asked me! A lot to take in in a 50 minute session!
As i stood to leave she mention making an appointment for the following week. Clearly disappointed i asked her how many sessions we would actually be having together. her infuriating response was “for as long as it takes until you’re ready”. READY?! READY?! HOW MORE FUCKING READY DO YOU NEED ME TO BE?!
I left feeling like absolute shite.. the total opposite to how i had felt beforehand. For the rest of the week my whole (newfound) confidence was knocked, feeling like whatever i wore, whatever i did with my appearance i would still appear as a woman to the outside world. I hadn’t felt this bad in a long time.
I decided that in the next session i would tell her how i had felt following her comments.