Inspiring words from one of my patients:
When I was young (birth to 10-11) I had no issues with my appearance and I was comfortable. I had plenty of friends and I was a happy child. But from a young age I wanted long hair and I liked the dresses that girls got to wear as their school uniform. I was friends with everyone in my class in primary school but I had more close female friends than male friends, I sat next to them and talked to them more than my male friends.
As I started puberty (10-11) I was really uncomfortable and confused with the changes I was going through: facial hair especially, body hair, deeper voice, adams apple. I started becoming withdrawn and very uncomfortable with my appearance. I thought EVERYONE hated it. I didn’t realise it was just me. I tried to ignore the changes but I couldn’t, it felt horrible. It became a lot harder for me to make friends.
As I went through school (11-15) (single sex school) it became harder to focus and enjoy anything, like the joy had been sapped out of my life. I had highs and lows (I could still be happy sometimes) but it was mainly just a slog doing anything. I didn’t really speak to any of my old friends anymore and I only had a few people I talked to in school.
Outside of school I couldn’t keep friends because I was too uncomfortable. I was bullied often in the earlier year because I guess I appeared weak. Everyone around me (classmates etc) started noticing girls, but I wasn’t really interested – all I got when looking at them was a feeling of envy. I tried to block out the world around me by reading a lot and playing games. I really couldn’t take it, I *thought* about killing myself multiple times.
When I was little older (15-16) I knew that I wanted to be a girl and took steps to make my body more like them. (I still didn’t understand what transgenderism was at this point so I’m still quite confused) I started shaving legs and arms, and carried on growing my hair out. I dressed up in girls clothes sometimes while at home and it felt right, it made me feel happy. I didn’t do any of this for a sexual reason. It was around this time I started feeling really bad when referred to by male pronouns.
I got my own PC (17) and eventually learned what transgender was and that it was a thing that actually existed. I immediately knew that it was the cause of everything I’ve been feeling. I was too scared to tell anyone at this point but I’m hopeful now.
I had a quite a few internet friends now (19/20) and one of them convinced me to do something about everything I felt after we had been talking for a while. I gathered the courage to tell my family and friends. Every single person is 100% supportive. I went GP and asked for hormones, they refused but referred me to a psychiatrist who then asked my GP to refer me to a GIC.