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Recently we published a blog titled “Conversion therapy is happening in everyday practice and must stop!”. The post explained how not all forms of conversion therapy are extreme, with many instances taking the form of low-level resistance by doctors to acknowledge a patient’s requests for help, or providing obstacles to affirmative support.

We were interested to know what experiences trans people had encountered with medical professionals, so Dr Helen Webberley asked for feedback: “Tell us what you have been told by your doctor to persuade you not to transition.”

 

The post received many replies, which we have collated below. It’s an inciteful, if damning, commentary on the medical profession today that these sorts of comments are being made by doctors treating trans patients who are seeking help.

 

“You have to be attracted to men if you are really trans.”

 

“At least one clinic refused to treat me because I was unwilling to change my name immediately due to issues with obtaining new documentation.”

 

Aged 11 speaking to a psychiatrist about depression:

Him: ‘what’s the real reason you feel sad’?

Me: ‘I’m a girl and I don’t understand why I look like this’

Him – clearly angry: ’pack it in, you’re too big for that sort of nonsense’

 

Cue 31 years of pain

 

“you’re probably just a lesbian” and

“have you ever actually had a relationship?”

 

I’m almost exclusively attracted to men and engaged to one but go off.

 

I had to go to a psychiatrist in 2012/2013-ish. He had an issue with how I dressed to the appointment. Hoody and jeans – as if cis women don’t wear that either.

 

Ended up with an appalling and very upsetting referral letter.

 

Me to my psychologist: “You know, I just feel like I… feel and react, more like women typically do”

Him: “You know, I really don’t think that’s particularly significant”

 

(I learned this year that it’s literally one of the DSM criteria for dysphoria almost to the word)

 

In 2006 an NHS gatekeeper to Leeds GIC told me “if you continued on this path you’ll lose your job, your family, your friends, you’ll be neither male nor female & no-one will ever love you” that one set me back 8 years!

 

I started again in 2015 on the NHS, went private at the same time to get onto hormones, 5 years on I’ve only just had my second surgical consult on the NHS, I’ve been with my partner for 7 years, we’ve been engaged for 3, were due to marry earlier this year before covid so I’m loved, Once I was able to embrace myself I started to thrive in my real hobby ballet & I’ve travelled the world performing & spreading trans awareness, my family all still love me, I own my own company that employs 16 people, in short she was very wrong! I’m thriving.

 

 

That my plan to transition in small steps was doomed to failure.

 

This was the same guy who told me I wouldn’t be allowed to have the name “Alexandra” because the abbreviation “Alex” is too androgynous.

 

1st time I tired to come out to a GP and seek a GIC referral (aged 15) he told me ‘confusion’ was common at that age and that he’d refer me to CAMHS for my general anxiety and distress – my request for GIC support completely ignored. and to top it off, he never referred anyway

 

I had a frustrating time when I first tried to transition in 2012, my GP at the time kept on telling me I had to go through local psychiatry services, I knew that was wrong but they wouldn’t listen. I didn’t really know what else to do then. Thankfully I have a supportive GP now.

 

I never asked for their opinion tbh,I just went and said I’d like to be referred to a GIC which they did. The follow up tho has been difficult, no chance of a shared care agreement. Took three complaints and three senior partner meetings before they agreed to do my initial bloods.

At the same time they’re saying to me they are very inclusive and surprised at my attitude. My feeling is that they’ve used subtle medical language to justify their position of not wanting to support me.

 

My parents basically said they didn’t want their insurance paying for it and shut down discussion entirely (while claiming to be supportive)

Luckily I’m now on Medicaid with a super cool doctor who talked to me about my dysphoria, ran over informed consent, and got me started

 

My first psychiatrist tried to push that I had to cure my depression before I could transition, despite the fact that not transitioning was no small part of the cause of said depression

 

“Do you want to try antidepressants instead?”

I have had no history of depression to this point before and after transition but as soon i turn up to my GP knowing I’m trans and ask for a referral to the GIC. its suddenly brought up that i may be depressed instead. I had to refuse the antidepressants to get my referral

 

“Why can’t you just live as a tomboy for now?”

 

Ten years and three suicide attempts before I finally accepted I was trans I had a psych doctor tell me “it’s just a perversion and you should be closer to god and your (abusive) parents”

 

Paraphrasing:

1. “a penis is the gift from God, you should enjoy being able to wee where you want!”

2. “Women got less pay, work more, not being respected in your job.”

3. “You woupd end up as an abomination, ugly and disgusting.”

 

Back when I transitioned it was standard practice for GPs to do everything they could to dissuade you from transitioning. They genuinely believed that it would destroy your life and that they should try to save you.

 

I was told, “The test was inconclusive” and, “There aren’t enough indications.

 

If you have been affected by any of the topics covered in this blog post and you would like to speak to a member of the team please visit our Help Centre.