Becoming Me

“I’m working on myself, for myself, by myself”

I came out 5 years and 3 months ago. It feels like yesterday – but it also feels like an eternity. I’ve had some huge battles along the way with my mental health, bullying, education and working – each has left me with a thicker skin and I wouldn’t change my past for anything but I sometimes wish it was different.

As we know, the NHS is pretty damn underfunded and under staffed to cope with the recent rise in transgender people coming out over the last three years. Wales has no gender clinic, most gender clinics in England / Scotland / Ireland have an 18+ month waiting list which is causing a huge knock on effect.

At the tender age of 17 – I was hugely fed up of being messed around by my GP. One week I’d go there and they’d referred me, the next they said they never and that went on for two years. I knew transitioning was something that needed to happen soon – otherwise my mental, physical and emotional well-being was going to be compromised. I was working part time in McDonald’s, whilst trying to complete college. I was on £4.43 an hour and I was somehow desperate for help – so I decided to go down the private route. I went to my first GenderCare appointment in September 2015 – where Dr Lorimer said he was confident with me transitioning.

Fast forward to August 2016, I was due to have my hormones appointment with Dr Seal but as I was moving to university a few weeks after I knew that I couldn’t start hormones because I knew I was putting myself in a risky position. I cannot cope with change – I struggle if my plans (or myself) changes unexpectedly, for example if me and my Mum were to go out for lunch tomorrow at 1pm and she cancelled it at lunch time I’d be in a huge state all day because my plans would be shambled around (I’m very weird like that). So I knew me moving to university, living with 16 other strangers, moving away from home and basically being by myself whilst also starting testosterone wasn’t in my best interest.

June last year I went to my GP’s to see if I could get a top surgery referral as I knew I was going to start testosterone very soon – and as you know the NHS waiting lists are months long so I wanted to get it sorted early – which wasn’t the case. My doctor told me that I’d have to wait for therapy through the NHS, get “diagnosed”, wait more, start hormones on the nhs and then get referred for top surgery – which is currently looking at 2+ years max. So I thought okay I’ll do this and I still haven’t heard anything back off the GIC – and my doctors have referred me after 4 years so I was extremely happy.

I then decided that I was going to go private for top surgery because it’s starting to effect my mental, physical and emotional health so much on a daily basis so I made the huge decision to go private. I’ve spent months saving, I’ve lost part of my social life due to Saving money, I’m working so many hours to save up all the money possible and I’ve been making stuff to help save up. To this day – I still have no idea on how much I’ve saved. It’s locked away on a bank card I have no control over and I find out in August (exciting).

I spent a few months deciding whether or not to create a fundraising page. But a close friend of mine said “Alex, you do so much for this community I’m sure people would love to help you out and you’re not forcing people so do it” and I decided too. I honestly never expected to raise as much as I have so far and I am forever grateful for every individual who has donated. If you are able to donate – donate as little, or as much as you can. I don’t want you to go short. If you can’t donate – I completely understand times are hard and sometimes we need to put ourselves first. Here’s the link for Just Giving Page.

Being able to have top surgery is going to allow me to live my life, it’s going to allow me to travel, it’ll allow me to go outside in clothes other than a jumper, I’m going to feel comfortable swimming and lots of other things. It’s going to also allow me to see myself, in my own body. I won’t have to wake up every morning and go to bed every night in agony because I won’t have to wear a binder. At this present moment in time – I want to be myself and live my life but without top surgery it’s stopping me from doing what I love the most!

I hope – that somewhere in the near future the NHS improves its system for trans patients. I hope the waiting times are less, I hope more specialists are found and I really pray more gender clinics are opened around the UK – especially in Wales as we desperately need one because the of travelling / accommodation is so expensive for us all 😦

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