Sandyford 2: This time it’s personal

Okay, so maybe not that dramatic! but personal is fair in the sense that we talked all about me for 50 minutes…

I had my 2nd online meeting with the psychologist at Sandyford today… . Going into it with the mental mind set that this was just someone else to share my thought processes and progress with rather than someone to persuade I am trans was a great choice.

The whole tone of the appointment was much lighter and friendlier. She asked how I was feeling and I said, great. Thanks to restrictions easing I’ve been able to do a few of the things I have been desperate to do for ages. She asked what? and I said I had finally been able to tell my mum and talked her through the process of that discussion and just how supportive my mum has been, even coming up and covering the school run so I could attend an appointment and go out for coffee as Dee with my sister in town. She was delighted for me, and asked how I felt having told her, and I said that it was like having a huge weight lifted, knowing that I won’t have to fight or struggle for her support makes me feel great. I then said that I had also started the process of transitioning at work, I said my first points of contact were to ask about policies for LGBTQ+ and discover that there weren’t any specifically but that the “protected characteristics” gave me cover under their anti discrimination and bullying policies, so I have also created a CV for myself as Dee and have applied for a post that I think would suit me perfectly. I have to wait until July for the closing date and to see if any of my colleagues go for it but in my cover note I explained that I was trans and will be socially transitioning so if nothing else I am putting myself out there.

She was pretty stunned and very pleased for me, that I had done so much, and so I pointed out that at our last session I had said I was just waiting to be able to see people in person and covid had messed all that up.

(I did feel a tiny bit smug, but honestly I am just pleased to finally be moving forwards and to be able to share it with someone who, at least on the surface, appreciates the little victories too.)

The psychologist said that she had a few things she wanted to talk about a bit more and so she asked about my dysphoria as a child and as a teen. I explained that as a child I was perfectly content, I had 4 sisters and so it seemed normal for me that I wore dresses and hand me downs, and leotards and put on tights and costumes and ran around in high heels, but I never once thought about being different until I was separated due to puberty and my body started changing (up until then we’d shared rooms due to sheer numbers). Although I still didn’t know it was dysphoria that’s when I started worrying about my voice and being incredibly self conscious and when I started becoming more introverted, and taking clothes from the laundry basket and tucking and looking at myself in the mirror, but again I just assumed these were specific to going through puberty and hid them for worry that someone might find out.

She also wanted to talk about my marriage and ask if it had any impact on my dysphoria, recognising that we had spent a long period of time talking about this last session, so I said it obviously did have an impact subconsiously, I spent the whole time trying to be whaterever my ex wanted, and a lot of her negative feelings towards me were because I was naturally doing the typically female role of feeding, changing and looking after the kids when they were smaller. I said it was the marriage ending that made me realise that over time she had stripped away all of the things that made me who I was and that I was totally lost, if it wasn’t for that crisis I may not have realised I was transgender and still be hiding myself in shame.

The psychologist aslso asked in more depth aboput my sexuality and libido, and so I talked about how although I probably think about sex a few times every couple of weeks I have not been genuinely intimate with anyone for over a decade and so for me coming to terms with my gender identity was a far bigger issue than who I felt attracted to. I said Label-wise I was probably gay because I have always been attracted to women, so lesbian makes logical sense at the moment, but I could be bi given that I have fantasised about men finding me sexually attractive.

She said she was asking because when people start hormone treatment their libido and sense of self can go up or down, and I admitted that really I was so out of practice that the thought of dating was genuinely scary, but that for me I needed to know and love myself before I could expect anyone else to love me regardless of their gender.

She asked me how I found my body now and so I talked of how I feel an emotional disconnect with the range of emotions that I can express, like I can’t access everything, I talked about loathing my body hair and how genuinely uncomfortable it makes me to look down and see stubble. I talked about not caring about my male appearance, but how once I started accepting that I was trans that it means so much more to me. I know I am a size 16-18 and so I have been buying clothes for my size rather than the 12-14 that I would like to be.

She talked about hormones and the changes they can have and cited Wpath guidelines for living as a year prior to taking hormones, but that with some people that can be altered if it is obvious that they would benefit. So I mentioned that I had read the WPATH guidelines and knew that there is nothing at all mentioned about living for a year before starting hormones, merely for surgery. I get that it is an important step and understand it for irreversible medical procedures but to me it seems ridiculous that they expect people to be comfortable enough to live for an entire year with the wrong body parts in order to prove that they can’t live with the wrong body parts. To which she agreed with my sentiments and said that much of that obviously wont apply to me, she said that the current diagnosis is still officially cited as being transexualism and I said I understood. She also offered me as a resource website so I will be looking at that later.

Her general tone inferred that she was moving towards a diagnosis, without specifying it and she also asked me why I couldn’t simply live as a crossdresser, why I thought I needed to fully transition.

This was slightly harder, but I said that I understood the question, if I can go out and be Dee now why do anything about it?

I said when I am out and interacting as Dee it feels totally natural, the female social space I inhabit feels like the right fit, and it is when I change back into my male clothes that I start to feel like I am hiding myself and putting on a costume. I said that for me part of that feeling right is what will come with hormones, at the moment someone can point to me and call me a man in a dress and while it is hurtful I know that biologically and chemically speaking their statement is accurate, because it doesn’t matter how good I look I know that I have something between my legs that just shouldn’t be there.

However if I have started hormones then I become a woman who has been on the wrong medication for years. Yes, physically there will be changes that will help with that because the clothes will fit better and my mum tum will hopefully slide around the sides a little to my hips, but ultimately that is just vanity on my part, but for me it is the chemical and emotional change that I have read about, that I will feel calmer, complete and more balanced. That’s what I am looking for. I wasn’t sure if I had phrased it right, but she seemed content with my response.

She asked if I saw much changing socially, and I said not really. My friends are already wonderful people so I do not see them having major issues, if they were bigots they wouldn’t be my friends. Online I already inhabit some of the female spaces that the men are just not invited in to. I know I will lose about half of the people that know me due to their religious stance, but that while it will be hurtful that people will wilfilly turn their backs on me after years of being supportive I was okay with losing the ones that do because I knew I had the support of my family and friends.

We talked a little more about whether I would seek GRS (yes) and breast augmentation (unlikely but possibly) and she is going to see if there is anything that my local GIC can do at the moment for hair removal for me because she knows that places near her are still not open yet, she quickly asked me about fertility and I explained I had a vasectomy after my 2nd child was born and have no plans for any more children.

I asked what happens if I do move and have to change healthcare providers, and she pointed out that she would continue to meet with me until she had a formal diagnosis and then my local gender team would take over the provision of care from that point. (phew!)

So we will meet again in August, by which time I will have told my children and my friends and I will know if I am moving somewhere to be 100% authentic 100% of the time.

Even the thought of that makes me quite excited!

Take care