‘I think it’s my adventure, my trip, my journey, and I guess my attitude is, let the chips fall where they may.‘
This post marks the end of an important phase in my transition. My family and friends are now aware, for the most part anyway, and I have had overwhelming support from everyone. I have a name, first and last, which is a relief. My wardrobe and makeup are growing and my confidence knows no bounds. I had the wheel and made the decisions when, where and how my transition should evolve. However, one aspect I have little, if any, control about is the medical side. The doctors are the gatekeepers for an important part of transitioning, hormones!
Being referred to the gender identity clinic (GIC) at Charing Cross, London, was a milestone that my local doctor and mental health team had been very good to sort out rather quickly. I was fully aware, however, of the long waiting list associated to this. I had read others stories about waiting for 18 months or longer just for an initial assessment and although I am very patient with most things, a wait of that magnitude is simply ridiculous.
Knowing that the queue was long and my time is ticking, I was not prepared to wait. I am over 30 now and it is important that I have as much time as possible as the woman I need to be. Patience would wear very thin if I sat in the queue and made the decision to contact a private specialist who ironically works at the GIC in London for the NHS as well. Even taking this step had a waiting list and my assessment appointment has now taken place. To say I was nervous was a huge understatement and I felt fear for the first time in a very long time. On the train travelling towards the doctor I was numb, my head was spinning and my thoughts were all over the place. I kept worrying that my brain would freeze when faced with questions about childhood, family, sex and my lifestyle. It was just as well that these questions had already been discussed, in varying degrees, with my local mental health team. The lovely doctor who had made the referral was really happy to see me transition from confused man to confident woman by the end of our last session, so I reflected on those moments and told myself I can do this! Anyone that has started the medical side of transitioning will be able to tell you that honesty is the most important part when speaking with the specialists. We spend such a long time not being truthful with ourselves and to get this far after a life of pain and suffering is a tall order, so why spoil it with more lies. I clung to this the entire way. ‘Be truthful, Faith. No sugar coating, be you!’
Sitting in the waiting room presented me with a rather strange moment. There was a huge mirror directly in front of me and it reached from the floor to the ceiling. It was spotless and really opened up the small space and I could see my entire self sitting, waiting, pondering and breathing heavily. For all my nerves and uncertainty one thing became clear and as a small relief to my situation. I liked what I saw. Now of course I have seen myself in mirrors in public before, but mostly the safety of the ladies toilet applying slap or a quick glimpse walking passed windows or similar. It dawned on me that this was the first time in public where I could see it for myself, happy, strong and alive. The look of despair strewn across my face had turned to the cheeky smile that I have come to love. I was dressed quite conservatively (read: boring) but I did not want the doc to think I was some sort of tarty cross-dresser who did not know what she was doing.
The appointment itself was actually a breeze! The doctor was amazing and made me feel so welcome it was like all the worry throughout the week fell away to reveal tranquil warm waters. He was impressed with my journey so far, complimented me on how I had thought about how not only myself, but others, will be affected by my transition. He explained my plan was solid and again well thought out, the fact I started with the social aspects and not the medical side was a bonus and that I was confident and not crazy! I am now back in control in the respect that the gatekeeper has thrown open the doors to hormones and it is up to me to get my blood test results back from my GP and come back for a medical assessment based on those. I was genuinely surprised that he felt I was ready for such a big step.
Some serious decisions need to be made on the back of my assessment, though. Decisions, which if being honest, I have not put any thought to. Sperm freezing. Freezing some of my sperm on the off chance I may meet a woman, who I want to spend the rest of my life with AND we want children. This is a much bigger decision than it sounds and my head is swimming with future fantasies and nightmares.
There are two distinct aspects to this subject. Firstly, purely biological, my sperm could be used to make little versions of me, it is simply biological matter used to make babies. Fine, I get that, it seems a good idea from this viewpoint. It would cement the ability to carry on my genes and allow a future partner and me to have our own children. Great.
However, I do not feel it is not as simple as this. Taking a step back several other raw emotions boil in me when I think about having sperm frozen. Why am I transitioning into a woman? Why do I go out of my way to express the woman inside? Why am I struggling and fighting to find freedom? The answer is simple. It is because I AM NOT A MAN! The idea that my sperm, my man juice, can be stored and used in the future to make children is confusing to say the least. I am aspiring to become a woman of the world, not a dad in a dress. Many will say its just the stuff that is added to your partners egg so you can create life. I do understand this, but my part in that beautiful moment will be as a MAN. I would be the man, not the woman. Would I feel fake? Would I feel I made the wrong decision and become depressed because I now want to be a father for that child?
These are big questions that every transperson should think about (obviously with eggs for the boys). It is easy to dismiss it as simply ‘baby batter’, it is the emotion around it and what it stands for that frightens me. I would be heartbroken to go through my transition, maybe get married, than be expected to be a dad, a man, the very thing I was trying to escape from all that time. This is hard to decide.
On brighter note, my family has now met Faith and it was fine. My mother said it was like seeing the real me for the first time, which was wonderful. I am breaking down the barriers that I have battled with all my life and the air I breath is clean. I am taking strides but with big decisions ahead.