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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 I started becoming withdrawn and very uncomfortable with my appearance.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 researched more and saw peoples progress pictures and felt envious again. I didn’t know how to tell anyone but I started changing my gender marker and name on websites and chat programs that I used and it made me really happy when people referred to me as she/her.

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.

 

Author:

Dr Helen Webberley is the founder of GenderGP. A passionate advocate for the transgender community, she continues to campaign for real change in the way that trans people are treated in society and particularly in relation to the barriers they face when accessing healthcare. Dr Webberley believes in gender-affirmative care and that the individual is the expert in their own gender identity.