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’
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.
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.
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.