GIC – First Assessment

Apologies for the delay, but things haven’t stopped moving since I returned from London last Friday. As for the reason I was there at all… well, it certainly took a long time (albeit 11 months rather than the dreaded 13) and there were plenty of times I dreaded it wouldn’t happen at all, or would be cancelled and rescheduled time and time again, but in the end it all went to plan.

The Gender Identity Clinic was well hidden away in an unassuming part of west London, and I shall respect their secrecy and be no more specific. Suffice it to say it was over a shop, the purpose of the building was unstated, and that one had to be rung in via a door intercom. It may well be that they fear the potential of harassment to their patients, although as I had lunch nearby and saw various transpeople exit and enter the building, it occurred to me that some locals had surely noticed over the years. Nevertheless, I had no trouble in the area. I never tend to experience transphobia in London, would that it was not so expensive to live there.

I made sure to travel very early, just in case there were any transport delays and also in case I had not correctly estimated the time to reach the clinic, but in the end had about a two-hour wait. I had a meal, a quick walk, and pestered the hubby on the phone, which whiled the time away and kept my morale up until I actually pressed that door buzzer. Then, I had another 45-minute wait within the clinic itself, along with various other nervous-looking transwomen, as they were running late. I began to have a paranoid fear that someone would only come at me with an apology that the clinician was for some reason unavailable and I would need to reschedule, when thankfully the gentleman himself emerged from an office and invited me in. I smiled, took a deep breath, and followed.

The meeting lasted a further 45 minutes and covered all expected bases, repeating much of what I had been asked during the community mental health assessment in Cardiff last year: how long had I known, was I inclined to suicide or self-harm, how was puberty for me, medical history, work and social circumstances, etc. The clinician acknowledged that much of this would be repetition, owing to that extra hurdle one is expected to pass within the Welsh NHS. I was rather pleased he did not seem to consider this fair.

His final assessment, at any rate, was the most morale-building experience I have had in ages: I seemed, evidently, to be a totally straightforward case, and he had no issues in referring me onwards to discuss surgery, and also in writing to my GP to, at last, authorise HRT and get me off my self-medication. This latter habit of mine, which I had been warned could stand in my way, thankfully did not become an issue. He acknowledged it was not the best thing one could do, but also one that many people and especially those in the Welsh NHS turned to for lack of GP support, and I had at least attempted to do so in an informed way (A general hint I might give, to anyone considering that option, is always to seek as much information within one’s community and support groups as possible).

He also said, to my immense gratitude, that in his opinion I had successfully completed my social transition. While I can imagine a few gender-critical feminists balking at the notion of a male clinician supplying that seal of approval, at all events hearing it from him was reassuring, as it always is when I meet someone who only sees me as Eleanor. There are days when feel I could happily enact my transition 1970s-style, tear up all roots, move among strangers, and start life afresh… only the hubby still loves Cardiff. Well, I could probably do most of that that here. It’s a big city, though a new job will still be essential, hopefully sooner rather than later.

So, my next step is to visit my GP today bearing the clinician’s written authorisation, which will hopefully soon have me started on the first true stage of my medical transition (Anti-androgen injections, and continuation of my regular estradiol doses, but medically supervised). As for surgery… my second assessment will be in February. Another test of patience, but at least now I know I am on track, I no longer have anything to prove, and I can, in a way I did not quite feel free to before, finally embrace the fact of being a woman, being myself, instead of being cursed with that nagging sense of anxiety, that fear of being disbelieved, deemed as delusional or perverted, and told for my own sake I should backtrack and reconsider my options.

There is no going back now, and I could not be more delighted.


P.S. Thank you to all my followers here who have supported me through this. Your encouragement has done a great deal to keep me on track, and I only hope I have managed to be a little entertaining for my part. xxx

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14 thoughts on “GIC – First Assessment

  1. Oh Eleanor, what a wonderful outcome. So interested to read your account of the visit. I am hoping mine may be in February or March (having been told of a 13 month wait – maybe it will be sooner). I fully understand the fear that one may not be believed and may be rejected, this really worries me. (Nearer the time my I contact you and have a conversation about questions and answers?)

    Hope your progress towards surgery goes smoothly. And certainly hope Cal fares equally well.

    Much love Michele xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • You will be very welcome to contact me. πŸ™‚ I think you may be pleasantly surprised, though. There was certainly no hostility or scepticism, which I had dreaded so much. The worst of it does indeed seem to be the waiting. I do hope something happens to advance your appointment. xxx

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m so happy for you! Sorry I didn’t get to this post sooner, I got a bit behind in my blog reading. Anyway, it is certainly a much better outcome then your rather pessimistic feelings of a month or more ago. Here the issue is not so much with finding supportive medical personnel it’s in getting health insurers to cover transgender health. At least President Obama moved a step in the right direction by ordering that people insured through the Affordable Care Act, “Obamacare”), must be covered along with Medicaid and Medicare our government health insurance for the poor, disabled and seniors. Hopefully there will be a law or legal ruling that establishes transgender health care as a right no matter what insurance you have. I’m feeling pretty good about our New Mexican Trans Community though. We have a great organization working statewide on trans issues. Yesterday I participated in a very empowering Trans March in Albuquerque which I just blogged about. There is nothing like being surrounded by people with whom you share a common experience and vision. We are stronger together!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you. πŸ™‚ Unfortunately we have had some issues with our GP, who is claiming the GIC’s authorisation is insufficient. It never seems to get easier… Good to know London is definitely on our side, though, even if moving to England becomes our best option. xxx

      Liked by 1 person

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