Being trans in 2023 means knowing deep in your bones that looking out to the world to confirm that you’re safe and that your needs will be met is simply not an option.
I heard stories of other trans people’s gender diagnosis appointments, and how a diagnosis of autism can work against the trans person as they may not be deemed to have sufficient mental capacity to understand themselves, or lack sufficient life experience to ‘know for sure’. I panicked.
The first time I approached a doctor about a medical transition, I was eighteen years old, and instead of listening to what I was saying, this cis, White, male GP instead questioned the validity of my gender dysphoria, prodding into whether I was ‘really sure’, as I was ‘still a young woman’
Throughout my twelve weeks as an inpatient, I found myself scared to be open about who I was or ask to be named and gendered correctly. The irony of this is that I work in a transgender empowerment programme. The reason I did not disclose my gender identity was that I was scared of backlash, prejudice and that I would not get the care that I needed
Seeking medical care has never been straight forward. I have found myself lying about my identity. Ticking ‘woman’ or ‘female’ on forms. Ticking ‘white British’, ticking ‘straight’, and not revealing aspects about myself that should in theory help to inform the medical care and support I receive, but in reality have hindered that care.
On a good day I catch a glimpse of myself, a reason to grin. My smile feels like a blessing, permission to enjoy my existence and embrace the coming day. On a bad day I trace the scars of indecision on my face with my fingertips.