Yesterday I proceeded with the plan I wrote about after my meeting with the gatekeeper psychiatrist. The plan was simple: Call the transgender teams receptionist and gently ask when I can come and see the team. Just to say that I’ve met the gatekeeper and that he told me that I was ready to proceed with my investigation. I had expected to be turned down or to be told to be patient, just wait and see. Another nine months or so of nothing but waiting would not be out of the ordinary for this sort of thing. I had expected almost anything for an answer, anything else than “Well, how about tomorrow morning, 9 am?”
I was stunned, so, so happy!! Off course I agreed to come. So now I’ve been there again, at the hospital. I’ve met another psychiatrist. This one asked almost the same questions as the last one, but were different in every other way. Firstly, she is not a gatekeeper, she is the welcome committee. She clearly had plenty of experience working with transgenderd people. She was not overly conservative. And best of all, she’s a part of the team that’ll follow me for the next 2-4 years during my medical transition. That means that I’m finally in! 😀
The last post about my medical transition was represented with a selfie of a very nervous and lonely-looking Emil, taken outside the hospital. Today everything was different. My flatmate and best friend was with me. I was not a bit nervous and I was finally in, under the wings and care of the transgender investigation team.
This time the questions about my background went deeper into my experiences and thoughts on gender identity during my childhood and teens. I told the story of me as a lonely tomboy growing up at the countryside. I was playing with my brothers and their friends, to rough for most of the girls I knew then. Me and my brothers built tree houses and defended them from the other kids in the neighbourhood, fighting each other with wooden swords, bow and arrow. I still do that, only wearing better armour. (Yes, stereotypes come easy for me.)
I still like to play rough. Here I’m the little one to the left, covering up for my fallen comrade and fighting the enemy of with my stick/spear.
Then she asked me about my marriage. I got married when I was twenty-four years old and my husband-to-be was thirty. I was young, madly in love and struggling to find a way to deal with womanhood. It was a good and mostly sound relationship that lasted for nine years, all in all. We got divorced halfway through 2011 and are still good friends today.
During our time together I adapted into the norms of heterosexuality, but I did not feel like a grown up woman. Even thou the relationship was sound, every time I had to say that I was someone’s wife, something felt slightly wrong. I never felt like a woman, not at all comfortable with my assigned gender role. Only women become wife’s. Since I never felt like one, it was weird being someone’s wife. I felt like I a fraud. I often explained it in a humours manner: “I’m not really a woman”, not understanding the seriousness of it myself.
I tried so hard. But failing to feel comfortable as a woman, I tried to be as girly as I could ever manage instead. I was better at that, but I guess I was overcompensating. The psychiatrist got curious about this and asked if I had any pictures. I have plenty. My friend quickly found one on Facebook and showed it. To see this picture again made me smile – I’ve sure gone a long way since this was taken in the summer of 2007…
Compare this to the pictures of me from my last post, about claiming masculinity.
Then we talked about what sort of help or medical care I’m looking for, what it was like for me to come out to my parents and about my social situation today. She was impressed to hear about the genuine support I’ve got from people around me. Especially about the fact that I’ve got so many transgenderd friends and experienced transgender allied covering my back, thoroughly supporting me every step on the way.
I think I made a good impression. After all, I mostly feel good about myself and transitioning is improving my life. Only, now when I’ve come so far, I need some help to get further.
She gave me a pile of papers to fill in, a questionnaire with tricky questions about gender identity. I’m to hand it in to the psychologist I’ll see in a month or so. That is the next step, lots of tests and paperwork. I was informed that I’ll have meetings with different specialists in the transgender team every 3 – 4 months from now on. There will be a social investigation about how my life is working, what my relationships are like, how I feel about different aspects of my life. I’ll meet psychologists and psychiatrists on a regular basis to sort out if they can offer me what I want; medical treatment, surgery and in the end recommend me to send in an application for change of legal gender.
I’ll also see a doctor and a gynaecologist to do basic medical examinations, only to see that everything is alright. And in about a year, I’ll see a endocrinologist, a doctor specialised on hormones. I was told promptly that we will not discuss hormones until then. That made me sulk a bit, but there is not much to do other than to cooperate and comply. If I’m lucky things will move on faster, but it is just as well to accept that it mostly will be out of my control.
Finally she asked me how sure I was, about going through with my transitioning, taking it further. I replied honestly that it is impossible to be entirely sure on anything, especially when it comes to committing to permanent changes in your life and body. But I’m at the least 98% sure that this is the right thing for me. At that she smiled and the meeting was over.