en English

During Dr Helen Webberley’s hearing we’re bringing you Transitions, a new mini-series from the GenderGP podcast. GenderGP team member, Cleo Madeleine, will be joined by members of the community to talk about the journeys they have been on, the transitions they have been through and the moments that changed everything.

We have loads of links for healthcare professionals in our Medical Hub. If you’d like to know more about our services you can contact us, or read more on our website. If you’ve got a story of your own you’d like to share, why not reach out on social media where you can find us at @GenderGP on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

 

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The GenderGP Podcast

Transitions: Oliver

 

Cleo:
Hi there. My name’s Cleo Madeline from Gender GP, and I’m stepping in for Dr. Helen Webberley for a special new mini series of the Gender GP podcast. Over the next few weeks, we’ll hear firsthand accounts from members of the community about earnings. They’ve been on the transitions they’ve been through and the moments that changed everything. Hi everybody, and welcome to this new episode of the Gender GP podcast. And here in the studio with me today is Oliver. Oliver, Thank you so much for joining us today. Thank you for having me. Could you take a minute to tell us a little bit about who you are and, uh, what it is that you do?

Oliver:
Yeah, so my name’s Oliver and I’m a pathway advisor for Gender GP. I work within the queries team. Um, so I basically spend my days answering patient queries. Um, anything that they may want to ask us things like their medication or what they need to do in terms of, uh, their treatment myself and my team provide answers to those on a daily basis.

Cleo:
So you’re like the, like the bread and butter of Gender GP, keeping the, keeping the machine working so that everyone’s mind can stay happy and easy.

Oliver:
You Could say. So in a way. Yeah, <laugh>

Cleo:
<laugh> No, that that’s really cool. Uh, in our most recent episode, I talked to Marianna a little bit about what it’s like in the comms team. You know, we keep abreast of what’s going on over in patient services, but there is a lot of the day to day work that we don’t see. Yeah. You must have hundreds of patients come through in a day. Right. We

Oliver:
Do get hundreds of queries every day. Um, obviously we have, I think we’re up to about five and a half thousand patients worldwide, I Think

Cleo:
five and a half thousand. Wow.

Oliver:
Um, so yeah, there’s, there’s always quite a lot of queries. There’s always a lot to do, but it’s good because it keeps us really busy. And I really love the work that we do. I’ve only been there for like two months now, but, you know, I think being able to be a part of Gender GP has so far been absolutely amazing. So yeah,

Cleo:
Certainly that’s a common theme that’s come up, which is that regardless of like what job role you do or where you’re coming from, people have come here because they wanted to make a difference. I mean, that’s really important. Yeah.

Oliver:
There’s A lot of pride, I think, from our team, which is incredible yeah. In the work that we do.

Cleo:
And That’s great to be able to say about your workplace wherever you work. Right. Like, like to able to say, wake up in the morning and say, oh, I’m proud of what I do.

Oliver:
Yeah. As Opposed to like, you know, having something that you are perhaps not so proud of, it’s genuinely a blessing to be able to wake up and be proud of the work that you do and know that you can, you can make a difference. It’s really it’s fulfilling.

Cleo:
It Means that if anyone ever says to you, how do you sleep at night? You can say, well, actually,

Oliver:
Actually I sleep very well. Thank you. <laugh>

Cleo:
Yeah. <laugh> So you’ve joined us quite recently. I’m also relatively recent. I joined the company back in may, may something like that. Tell us a bit about how it is that you came to Gender GP. Like what brought you Here?

Oliver:
It’s quite a long story actually. Um, <laugh> about, I would say this time last year, the Gender GP account on Instagram followed my personal Instagram and going into trans healthcare was something that I considered for a very long time. Um, being trans myself, you know, it’s very near and dear to my heart and I wanted to sort of, um, make a difference. So I sent a message in seeing if there were any kind of job opportunities. Um, I explained a little bit about my experience at another work that I’d done. And I think it was Helen got back to me initially saying that they just opened a Quora account, you know, the, the Q and A social media site. Um, and would I like to sort of answer some questions regarding transitioning that are on the Quora site, under the name of, of Gender GP? So I did that, um, for a bit, and then later on, so earlier this year, Katie got in contact with me saying that they were looking for some pathway advisors. Um, and would I be interested in applying? So yeah, so I applied for one of the roles of the pathway advisors. Yeah. Basically. That’s how I’ve now ended up here full time. <laugh>

Cleo:
Fabulous. You said that you talked to Helen and Abby at the time about the work that you’d done before. Yeah. Was this something, I mean, obviously like as trans people, I think we often feel an obligation to the community no matter what, but was this something you’d done before or, or was it a complete change in direction?

Oliver:
Not really. It was, it was a complete change in direction. Like previously I’d worked in fast food and I’d done some administrative work. I’m also a student with the open university and I’m doing psychology. So yeah. So it kind of just fit in with that in a way. And I, yeah, I just, I saw need for an improvement in more trans lead healthcare. And when the Gender GP account followed my Instagram account, I sort of looked at the profile and I thought, oh, okay. This could be maybe an opportunity for me to, for me to get involved.

Cleo:
I like that you saw a need until you moved in on it. Yeah. I think that that’s simultaneously a big part of the kind of work that this company is doing and the other, you know, social justice initiatives around the world are doing. I also think it’s a big part of what, like groups of trans people are doing. You know, one of the things that’s come up on this podcast is that Gender GP employs a lot of transgender people for obvious reasons. You know, you know that you’re going to be hopefully free from discrimination. If you come and work at the company, that’s helping people who look like you. Yeah. But also, you know, if you’re a already marginalized person and you feel like the kind of things that you want to work towards, aren’t being heard, there is a power in saying, well, actually if I go here, then I’ll be able to raise my voice with other people. Yeah.

Oliver:
That is kind of what I wanted to do. Pretty much like, like I said, I saw that there is a need and there are things that, you know, need to be worked on in the UK. Um, and around the world, not just in the UK and, you know, being a trans person and, um, somebody that’s medically transitioning, I, I just wanted to be able to use my experiences for the benefit of others. Cause it can be in way kind of lonely medical transitioning if you don’t have the right support. Um, and I think that support is it’s invaluable and to have somebody who knows what you’re going through, that makes all the difference in my opinion, because there’s a level of empathy there, there’s a level of connection. And it’s why I’m really proud of Gender GP for employing so many trans individuals within the organization.

Cleo:
Yeah. There’s a sense in which it’s a really good thing that they’ve done. And also there’s a sense in which it would’ve been absolutely ridiculous for them to do anything else. <laugh>

Oliver:
Yeah. Like I quite agree. To be honest, I think trans led healthcare is really, really important.

Cleo:
So when we talk about this, like the future of transgender healthcare, is there one thing in particular that you want to see or that you think needs to change?

Oliver:
Yeah, that’s the accessibility, um, both in terms of, um, waiting times at the moment. Um, and I think it needs, there needs to be more education for general practitioners in terms of knowing their rights when it comes to prescribing medication for trans patients or supporting them in general. I think some clarity on that would be good because a lot of GPs find that they don’t know how to support their trans patient and then they therefore just kind of don’t <laugh> they, they just, they just don’t. Um, so I think definitely education on that. I mean, I’ve found through my trans and what I’ve kind of done has been the one that leads my GP <laugh> I’ve just sort of said like, this is what’s happening and this is what I’d like you to do about it. <laugh> yeah. Yeah.

Cleo:
And particularly in the short term, I think that emboldening trans people to be able to talk to their primary care providers, as well as educating primary care providers are both important

Oliver:
Goals. Yeah, definitely. Um, the comfort as well of, of talking to a primary care provider, like you said, I think that’s, it’s really important that trans people feel like they can talk to their GPs. Yes. And they can speak, you know, voice their concerns and, and things like that. Because a lot of the times, you know, sometimes GPs just kind of go, you know, I dunno how to deal with this. And then that kind of puts you off a bit.

Cleo:
Totally. Couldn’t agree more if you are a trans person and you want advice on how to talk to your GP or you’re a healthcare professional, and you’d like to know more about providing for transgender patients. Then we do have loads of resources on our website. That’s GenderGP.com. I’ll drop some links to them in the description, so thank you so much for being so candid about your journey, where you’re going, what you’d like to see on this podcast. We’ve been asking our guests about a moment that changed everything for them. And we’ve had this quite amazing diversity of responses, big things, small things, distant things, recent things. How about you, Oliver? What is your moment that changed things for

Oliver:
You? Yeah. Um, so I’ve had a long think about this <laugh> um, and I think the defining moment, and it’s a pretty huge moment that really mm-hmm <affirmative> changed everything for me was, um, when I got top surgery that day was like, it it’s when my life changed because my, my whole outlook on myself, on my future, that everything changed because I became more comfortable instantaneously. And it was like a weight had been lifted from me, literally. Um <laugh> and that’s really where my life started to changed because it’s where my medical transition really, really started to kick in. If you will. It started to everything started to progress. And that’s when I started to actually see my future as having something in it, if that makes sense, like my self confidence skyrocketed and I immediately felt free. And like the whole world was my oyster and that in turn just, um, it just improved my mental health so much more than I could have ever imagined. Like I knew it was gonna be a big thing. I knew that it was the right decision for me, but I don’t think I actually realized the impact that it had on my life until afterwards when, you know, when it was over. And when I went back to normal day to day life and everything just felt different. Even walking down the street and not wearing a binder and things like that, everything suddenly just felt free. Like I had no constraints really. Yeah. That’s been my big, big life changing moment.

Cleo:
Thank you so much for sharing that. You’re absolutely right. That is a huge moment, which we love to see here on the Gender GP podcast. But also I think I, you know what you mean. I remember a few years ago when I had gender affirming surgery, I text my friends when I was kind of coming out of it and still quite doped up and was like, I can’t believe you, people are just walking around like this all the time. Like, like, I can’t believe you fit you, you, you feel this. Yeah.

Oliver:
It’s like that, that feeling hits you. And you’re like, wow, <affirmative> this, this is what non trans people feel like, is this exactly? Is this it? Is this what I’ve been missing out on my whole life? Exactly. Its amazing. You’re like, wow, it really does change your whole entire outlook on everything.

Cleo:
Yeah. And obviously, you know, getting surgery doesn’t make you a, any less trans or any more cis for that matter. And also it’s not the right option for all trans people. Everyone’s journey is different, but when it is this important cog in your medical transition, then once that turn has happened. Yeah. It completely, it changes the whole game point

Oliver:
Absolutely and it just, it really does highlight the importance of trans healthcare being accessible. It really, really does because I don’t know where I’d be if I didn’t have that surgery to be quite honest, like, and that was three years ago for me now. I don’t think I’d even do the work that I do now, to be honest, I don’t think I’d be comfortable in self enough to actually do the job that I do. I dunno if that sounds a bit, a bit weird. It’s given me the power to live my life comfortably and happily and to inspire others to do the same.

Cleo:
That’s so beautiful. Thank you so much. And I don’t think it’s weird at all. I think it’s really important to be able to say to people, not just to talk about how great the outcomes are, but to talk about what you’re capable of when this day to day pressure is Alleviated.

Oliver:
Yeah, definitely. When that pressure’s there, you can’t, you almost can’t focus. Yes. Now that it’s gone, it still amazes me. I feel like the euphoria really hasn’t worn off <laugh> of it at all. Like it, it still amazes me that when I think back to sort of like myself this time three, four years ago, and I compare that person to the person that I am now, like I’m much more confident, much more outgoing, much more productive in general. And it just, it really makes such a huge, huge difference and it was worth it worth every penny <laugh>

Cleo:
Thank you so much for sharing that. That does actually take us more or less up to the end of our time. Thank you so much for joining us today. Thank thank you for having me. You have been a brilliant guest. Absolutely. Wonderful. Thank you. And thank you again for sharing your story. Um, I genuinely think that this is gonna be great for, I was, I was about to be like great audio. <laugh> I’m always a podcaster first and this kinda person second great audio. No. What I mean is I think that it’s so important for our listeners to be able to hear these experiences candidly, and if you are a listener and you’d like to know more, please do visit our website or send us a message. We are always super happy to provide all the information you might need. Thank you so much much for listening. If you’d like to find out more about Gender GP or the kinds of services that they can offer, then you can go to our website, which is www.gendergp.com. Or if you’ve got your own story to share or a suggestion for a future podcast, then you can find us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram @GenderGP. Please do get in touch.