7

The magic S word …

It is testimony to how long the process of transition on the NHS is that I have posted nothing on trans matters for months now, even though that is ostensibly the whole purpose of this blog: certainly the reason I was encouraged to begin it, though I was afraid it would make a very stop-start narrative with massive gaps from the beginning.

While such has been the case, both the hubby and I have been lucky in not having faced much in the way of unexpected delays, with every appointment at the GIC entailing meaningful progress (Not all are so fortunate). Yesterday I had my third and final appointment at the GIC, after which I was discharged and referred to the surgical team at Charing Cross Hospital, from whom I shall hopefully be hearing in the near future.

Excited? Most definitely. Apprehensive? Somewhat. This will be my first major surgery, and the extended convalescence (about ten weeks) afterwards will present its own challenges, but finally knowing the end is in sight is tremendously fulfilling, and of course I can turn for support to the many people I now know who have taken this route successfully (and with the same surgical team). I also know I will not be impeded from getting the sick leave I need.

Here I am with two wonderful friends – Helena and Amanda – standing outside the hospital which I shall be visiting more formally in due course.

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And thank you to everyone here who has encouraged me through this surreal but ultimately positive story. Hopefully its closing chapters should come at a slightly faster rate from now on …

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3

Geek Girl

Things have been moving forward lately, there is no denying. Cal and I are both out at work, both of our families have accepted or in the few worst cases resigned themselves to the situation, HM Revenue and Customs and Cardiff Council have both changed my details, so all my tax reminders will at least have the right name on them (woohoo), and God willing I will hopefully have a new passport as well before long. I have, at last, been sent consent forms by the GIC, so I am officially a patient of theirs.

Still, it is still a long and grinding process, and each bit of progress seems painfully tiny, moving up the GIC waiting list being as lethargic a business as waiting for my hormones and my laser treatment to have some visible and lasting effects. Dwelling on it would be a mistake unless I want to drive myself mad from impatience and anxiety, so what is my coping strategy to be?

Well, as ever, it will be based on my time-honoured method of losing myself in time-consuming hobbies that demand all of my mental energy and thus save me from having to worry about transition (or building a career, taking care of the flat, having a social life… though I’m sure I’ll get round to those one of these years).

Here are some test screenshots from a possible adventure game I started programming last year and picked up again recently. Since my equipment is mediocre (an old ASUS laptop), my software is ancient (Visual Basic 5), and moreover I am not the whole of BioWare studios, I am keeping it all fairly small and simple, with early PS1 / Sega Saturn style low-poly graphics. Since these meshes are all just raw vectors typed directly into the program (which my mentor, Jack Hoxley, says is a very bad idea, only I was feeling rebellious… and too cheap to invest in a proper mesh-making package), I am still not displeased with them, even if it is all a bit Minecraft-y.

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(1940s style Citroen van driving on some crude but functional randomised terrain, inspired by the planet rover stages in the original “Mass Effect”)

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(Cessna doing some aerobatics in front of a rather blurry backcloth of Burgundy)

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(The game’s female character taking a stroll by a cottage)

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(The game’s male character in a church with a massive spider, because)

Currently, one “transitions” between the two characters with a press of the “G” (for gender) key, but I intend to find some way to make this gender-switching a gameplay feature. The theme will be supernatural / magical, and the two characters will have differing abilities that will become key in solving the various puzzles. When I design games, I nearly always end up making them as arcade object-puzzlers in the style of the old Dizzy games, partly because I find that genre more interesting than combat-heavy games, and also because they are far easier to program (good fighting games usually requiring a ton of animation and physics to both look decent and be playable).

Heaven alone knows how often I shall update on this topic, though. I was well into this hobby last year when a friend persuaded me to get back into writing instead, then after a few months stuck to my manuscript, I realised (through my main character) that my gender dysphoria had resurfaced, and the rest is self-explanatory…

Which is, of course, the problem with creativity: it always seems like a nice, innocent distraction from the cares and concerns of life, but you never quite know into what dark and weird places it will eventually lead you.

12

Return of the Living Dead Name (but bearing good tidings)

It may not seem much, and if you follow blogs such as this you may well have seen enough of the things for a lifetime, but…

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…my letter from the Gender Identity Clinic in London has finally arrived, telling me I can probably expect an appointment within thirteen months of the referral date (May 5). Whilst that is hard to get too excited about, at least things are definitely moving forwards again, and I can (hopefully) stop fretting so much. Though knowing me, I probably won’t.

They used my old name, rather irritatingly, but one takes the rough with the smooth.

In other news, I have finished writing the steampunky novel “Gloriana’s Masque” that I started last october, which did its bit in bringing my gender dysphoria to a head, after it became apparent to me how much my female protagonist was a shameless self-projection of my unrealised dreams (She is also a scientist, which is what I always wanted to be until I met my high school science teacher…). Not a clue how I shall go about publishing it yet, but a friend who generally detests fantasy fiction has dusted it off in one weekend, which I will take as a good sign. Just a shame he isn’t the CEO of Random House…

Unfortunately, having resumed my internet usage (which I successfully cut down on during the last phase of writing), I find my net addiction is as strong as ever, so in order to get a handle on it I intend to only allow myself use of the internet every other day. Intermittent fasts seem to be the only option, as when I get online – meaning to spend little time – it always ends up extending… This will mean I will be checking this blog and others less frequently, but I will do my best to keep abreast during the “on” days. I do feel, though, that being an online transwoman is starting to become my whole life, and awesome as that is, it is only one facet of me.

Finally, a few more screencaps from the “Imago” film I am doing with Jason Marsh. These are the parallel “female” scenes to the “male” scenes I posted on earlier, and will depict transformation through the use of reflections and dream-like imagery. Though with that letter finally in hand, one dares to hope that we are getting well beyond the stage of merely dreaming and fantastising in prose…

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