I talked to my doctor the other day, about me wanting to have a recommendation from him so that I can see a psychiatrist. That psychiatrist can hopefully help me to get in touch with the team who (after a long and thorough investigation) can set the diagnose Transsexual. If I ever want a male social security number or hormones or any kind of trans-related surgery, that is the only legal and economically realistic way to do it.
My doctor had no idea what I was talking about. He had never heard of transsexuality as a diagnosis and had no idea about how to proceed with my demand. He seemed embarrassed about the subject in matter or perhaps about being caught unknowing on it. I had to repeat my story very slowly three times over and carefully stick in explanations of all the tricky words in it, hoping that he wouldn’t notice or be insulted by this.
There is a massive amount of scientific research on how to make yourself “doctorable”, how to get the right medical care as soon as possible. Since I study medicine, I’ve taken part of a great deal of it and I know how it works. You are very likely to get help instantly if you seem passive and helpless. Preferably you should just answer the doctors questions, describe your symptoms with minimal input and no implications what so ever about what might be wrong with you, even if you think you already know. This of course presumes that your doctor has the basic knowledge to set your diagnosis. (It helps if you are a seemingly ethnic Swede, otherwise healthy, and a straight white male. Preferably with some kind of academical background.)
It is devastating for your opportunities to get the medical care you need fast, if you instead tell your doctor exactly what’s wrong with you, learn him/her new words for an unknown problem and then tell him or her exactly what kind of treatment you want. None the less, trans*people are often left with no other choice.
I had to explain the general process regarding medical treatment, since he didn’t know. And then I had to answer his clumsy questions going like “So, you want to change your sex? And have surgery?” Sadly, I was well prepared for this. I’m starting to get used to being a trans* educator now. I have to as to get around in the everyday bureaucracy. I bit my tongue when answering his questions, careful not to insult him as that would slow things down even further.
Now, as for his first mistake – you preferably shouldn’t say “change sex” since that is a very unspecific, invalidating and misleading way to put it. Some trans*-people feel that it is their body that is wrong and mismatched with their gender identity. In that case “correcting” the body with surgery and/or hormones may help – but there is no changing involved. Neither your hormone production, your chromosomes or your genitals are possible to “change”. The later can be altered with varying result, but it is very invalidating to talk about a change of sex with someone who just stated that they identify as male or female, or neither. Just accept it – what is there to change?
Other trans*-people, like me, feel that genders are not binary opposites. From this point of view, the “change of sex” others tend to talk about is simply not making any sense at all.
My doctors second mistake was to immediately ask me about surgery. It is not the want of surgery that defines a person as transsexual. Not all transsexuals want surgery and in my case that is a question for future deliberation. I honestly think my body is totally awesome and I can’t see how cutting in it will help anyone see me as more masculine at this point. There are other things I’m aiming for and working with right now to achieve that.
Anyhow, the first step when it comes to medical care is to get in contact with a psychiatrist and get a recommendation for the special team responsible for trans care where I live. I e-mailed a psychiatrist directly more than a month ago but I haven’t got an answer yet. That was also, sadly, expected. This is the way it is. Everything goes S.L.O.W.L.Y when it comes to trans care. I’m happy not to be depressed or suicidal or something, as that would make no difference in the waiting. But the fact that I know how slow this process is, that makes me want to start queueing for help while I’m still considering what kind of help it is that I want.
In the end I had no idea about what my doctor got out from our conversation. He said that he had never heard of a case such as mine. He promised to go back and do his homework about how to proceed from here and then get back to me. I guess that was good news and the next best thing after getting what I want straight away. So, now I’m right back at waiting again.