I got on well with the occupational therapist involved in my autism diagnosis. He felt like someone I could approach, so I messaged him about my gender and told him that I was embarrassed to approach my GP. The occupational therapist was really supportive. His support was empowering – he recognised where I needed support and where he could step back.
In the end I started testosterone before I started University. Without the combined support of PALS, my psychiatrist and the GP I doubt this would have been the case.
When I needed assistance with transitioning, I decided to turn to my community again, as I no longer trust doctors. I received a binder through G(end)er Swap’s free binder program, which has been a massive weight off my shoulders (no pun intended) whilst I remain on the GIC’s waiting list for top surgery.
What I have learnt through my experiences as a disabled trans person is to work out what I need to say before going to medical appointments. I try to plan and write down things in advance, this helps my anxiety and means that I do not forget what I needed to say, and important things are not missed.
I ensured I always spoke to the same doctor and I asked for regular appointments so that she could keep track of my illness progression.
The first barrier I faced being trans was over my use of contraceptives to suppress my periods. I had been doing this for years, but during a regular check-up a nurse decided that, due to my health issues, I was too high risk to take the oestrogen-based pill. I was upset and tried to explain that I couldn’t deal with having periods and being on a less reliable birth control pill, but she did not seem to understand.