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All posts for the month February, 2015

Week 53 – Day 3 : Bigotted or simply misinformed?

Published February 25, 2015 by Katier Scott

I have never been someone who particularly campaigns about anything, I’ve always spent time trying to support people and indeed one of the reasons for going into Nursing has been due to my supportive nature and enjoyment from supporting people..

However I have suddenly realised I have something I am really passionate about and really would like to change. As readers of my blog know I’ve never particularly liked the tag ‘transexual’ and try to avoid using it, and the more I think about it the more I realise it needs to vanish.

You don’t see someone with cancer, or dyslexia or a cold say they are <insert label here> they are simply a man/woman/preferred gender identity with cancer, dyslexia or a cold. By dropping and removing the transexual label and sticking with <correct gender identity> with Gender Dysphoria IMO it makes things a lot easier to understand for those who are are lacking knowledge on the subject.

The realisation came on the back of two fantastic recent items I saw on facebook.

Firstly Zays Story which is a fantastic heart warming story about a 12 year old girl with gender dysphoria and then The Daily Mail published this story about a FTM guy who replicated an Adam Levine photograph aimed at raising awareness of FTM.

Reading some of the comments you had a lot of really positive feedback but naturally the negative comments came in. Then thinking about it and I thought, were they being bigotted or simply misinformed.

While I’m sure some were attention seeking, trolling or being bigotted I realised that many probably were simply mis-informed. If we start correcting the way that we refer to ourselves then hopefully people will start to learn and understand that we are very different from transvestites, cross dressers and those who wear elements of female clothing as a fetish. If we stop using the ‘transexual’ or ‘transgender’ labels and start using men and women (or whatever you prefer) with Gender Dysphoria then I firmly believe that it will make things a lot clearer and easier to explain to people.

It’s also worth remembering when educating people that there is no such thing as ‘only men and women’ because due to chromosomal issues people can be born with various physical gender anomalies. Similarly science has discovered that when the body starts to develop it’s final gender within the womb, remember all babies start as female, hormones actually trigger the changes. The body uses one hormone to sort it’s physical appearance, while other hormonal triggers get the brains gender sorted. If the hormonal triggers fail, or misfire then we end up with a gender dysphoric person, even if their chromosomes are ‘normal.

Bonus Post: Having fun with B&W

Published February 21, 2015 by Katier Scott

Something a bit different in this post, I love, as you know, sharing my photography – and of course this blog is centred on photography and a book – however I think this is the first time I’ve posted and shared my work so simply. But I think it’s good to do so, it shows me just doing day to day things and enjoying myself.

Personally I love black and white photography, although much prefer it’s use with film, especially larger formats of film. Today, inspired a bit by Leanne Cole’s  Monochrome Madness blog posts I decided to do a few of my own. Film was out for today so I was going to have to settle for quick post processing of Digital images using my Pentax K100D DSLR. The K100D is an ageing but highly capable DSLR and with modern RAW image processing can produce some excellent work – as you can see below. These photos I’m quite pleased with and while not stunningly good, do show off the capabilities of the camera very well.

Black and White Wolverhampton (1 of 4) Black and White Wolverhampton (2 of 4) Black and White Wolverhampton (3 of 4) Black and White Wolverhampton (4 of 4)

Week 52 – Day 3 : Year 2 – Day 2 : Onto the second year on hormones.

Published February 19, 2015 by Katier Scott

It’s a shame I was so busy yesterday to miss the anniversary of starting hormones but I simply didn’t have time yesterday. Time.. a theme of my life at the moment. I simply don’t appear to have any, and I should be starting my second job soon which is good. It’s been a slow process due to new recruitment procedures at the company but I spoke to them earlier this week and had emails off them today so it’s all making progress for which I am very happy.

University wise it looks likely I will only have on choice to go to after Staffordshire rejected me earlier in the week. It’s not really a problem, however, as having done plenty of research and attended an open day for the one that has given me an offer, I’m happy with my choice and even if the one remaining University do ultimately offer me a place, most likely, I will go to the offer I have in my hand as it’s most convenient.

Unfortunately the start of the second year doesn’t start with good news on the transition front. Spoke to the gender clinic today and they hadn’t yet discussed my case. So looks unlikely that I will hear anything until my appointment in the middle of the month. That’s more than a little frustrating although given the existing appointment would probably be needed regardless it’s something I can cope with. The critical thing is that we’re tight for time. My University course will, subject to DBS and health checks, which hopefully will be straight forward, start in the middle of January 2016. Ideally to get the full ‘book’ 3 months off I’d need surgery no later than first week in November, although reading peoples experiences as long as we give at least 8 weeks I should be fine, so can push into late November.

I’m getting really excited about the change in career, so 2015 is definitely looking to be a year where I do a lot of preparation, and of course have a book to write. So far, including the introduction I’m over 3000 words which is a good solid start, but I’m sure I’ll need at least 15 times that by the end!

Anyway that’s it for this week, quite short for me – which makes a change!

Book Writing – Teaser 1 – Introduction

Published February 14, 2015 by Katier Scott

I’m sure all of you who come here interested about the book as much as the blog itself will appreciate progress reports so I thought I’d put regular posts in explaining how things were getting on, maybe snippets of text or photographs etc. In this case this is the current draft of the Introduction text for the book, it’s not fully proof read – and the book most definitely will need proof reading – so errors in these posts are expected, and, of course, aren’t the final copy.

As well as giving you ideas of how the books going, such snippets are useful for me too as they allow you to give me ideas of what your liking about the books progress, and hopefully suggestions about angles you think might be good to take. So comments and feedback will be most appreciated.

BORN A WOMAN

INTRODUCTION

I was born with Gender Dysphoria in 1971 but it didn’t manifest itself properly until this century when I realised the reason I didn’t enjoy living as a man was simply because I wasn’t one. This book will document the changes and processes I went through to get my body to match my birth sex.

Gender Dysphoria is a condition where recent research suggests the condition may be in effect a birth defect. While developing in the womb something, possibly genetic or hormonally related, caused the brain to develop abnormally. This causes the brain to take on a gender which is different to the physical sex of the baby. As such while Gender Dysphoria is traditionally treated by Mental Health services, the condition itself is not a mental health condition, I am completely in agreement with Mental Health Services treating the condition because often patients require significant mental health support. This is because Gender Dysphoria can fairly often trigger side effects such as depression are most definitely Mental Health issues and due to the time scales it takes to correct the problems, having mental health support is, in my opinion, absolutely vital.

Now many people will use the term Transsexual or Transgender but personally I have developed to dislike those terms for a couple of reasons. Firstly they are ‘labels’ and I have a dislike of labels, secondly I actually see them as inaccurate. I am a Woman with Gender Dysphoria, it’s as simple as that, it doesn’t need to be ‘pigeon holed’ into a ‘label’.

I first realised I was Gender Dysphoric around 12 years ago while playing an online role-play game called Starwars Galaxies. In 2004 I joined Second Life, and quickly found myself enjoying the female role and that snowballed. By 2007 I was cross dressing occasionally at home, went to Sparkle – a ‘pride’ aimed at both Gender Dysphoric people and the wider transgender community, and spent some of a conference in the USA as my real me.

I went to University in 2007 and by 2009 was still having to live in male role at home, but spent all the time at Uni as a girl. In 2009 I spent the last year at University in the female role then when our marriage finally broke up, after being in a bad way for several years, in 2010 I immediately went full-time and started my transition.

Many of the problems I have faced will be familiar to other people who are transitioning and part of the reason for this book is to help inspire those who might be struggling or help them feel that they are not alone. It’s also aimed at everyone else, Gender Dysphoria is something that is increasingly in the public consciousness and with that comes a bunch of questions.

We are, as is human nature, a curious bunch but asking personal questions can leave people uncomfortable and put-out. So this book will hopefully answer many of the more common questions and indeed will give a visual indicator of how the treatment changes the body.

I decided to write this book as I am a freelance journalist and photographer who is always looking for project to link those skills to something interesting. So when I finally got prescribed hormones I realised I had a once in a life-time opportunity to document something useful and interesting. The project started on 17th February 2014 and this first part ended on 17th February 2015. A Second book is planned covering the run up to surgery and probably into my early life as a woman fully in body as well as soul.

Week 51 : Day 5 – You’d think I’d get it on time by now..

Published February 13, 2015 by Katier Scott

With one week left for the first birthday of this blog and the start of the second part of this project, you’d think I’d actually post things on time but nope.. I’ve been WAY too busy!

In some ways it’s been a quiet week, not much on the Gender Dysphoric front to pick up on but I’ve had 4 days, most of which have involved multiple things and a rush into work. Tuesday was all about music, with my guitar lesson and singing practice in the evening. Highlight of that was a very successful Vegetarian Lasagne. I’ve never made one before but it was the challenge set by my friend and one that had me complimenting myself I enjoyed it so much!!

Thursday was another Nursing interview, this time at Staffordshire University, again for Mental Health Nursing. This time it was a full days assessment and I think it went fairly well although I’m worried I might not get offered a place due to ‘lack of clinical experience’. That would be a shame as I’d definitely be tempted as the staff seemed very helpful and friendly so I’d definitely seriously consider it. Birmingham City University are now the only University who haven’t made a decision on whether they want to invite me for interview, but of course at the end of the day I have an offer at an excellent University so more choices just make things interesting for me, rather than needing to be a necessity.

The Friday was more business related stuff and for the second day in a row getting into work after a long day – it gives me confidence I’ll cope fine when my second job starts, but I’ll definitely need to sort my sleep out!!!

On the Surgery front my GP, who I saw today, has spoken to Sheffield and they have agreed to discuss my case on Monday. They have 3 separate Clinical, and 1 Physiologist/counsellor report to go on from two Gender Clinic’s so I really hope they see sense and agree, at the very least, to just needing to see me once more. But we’ll see, the fact they’ve agreed to discuss it. is at least positive. I’ll find out that during next week, probably Wednesday, and  the second stage of the project (or is it the third?) will start with news on that front.

The next stages, of course, will run in parelell with a continuation of this blog paired with my actually writing the first book!

Week 50 : Day 6 – Bonus Edition!

Published February 7, 2015 by Katier Scott

Just a quick update following on from yesterday. The promised part 3 is still planned and will get posted later today but I wanted to give you all an update.

Firstly I spoke to my GP yesterday after posting and she is completely on board and is going to speak to the Gender Clinic. Interestingly she is going to, on top of probably the tack I was taking, bring in all the raw facts about my transition. The fact I’ve been transitioning for closing in on 5 years, been in the GIC waiting list/treatment pathway for nearly 4 of those, the fact I’ve been very patient. Plus the simple things like the fact that a GIC has never requested me do anything and always given me treatment at the earliest opportunity – thus delays now have no good reasoning behind them.

Secondly I think I’m going with plan B for the book. Everyone I’ve spoken to seemed drawn to it and I’d started to get quite tempted by it. There are a few reasons for this but the main one is the fact that transition starts when your born, so I think writing about myself throughout my life will be an interesting exersize and a lot more interesting to the readers. Indeed I think it’ll make the book a lot more personal and when I thought about it yesterday I realised that it was not unlike Richard Hammond’s book. Although the book was triggered by his accident, and a decent portion of the book was about his life up to getting onto top gear and I think that makes the book a lot more interesting.

Thirdly I’ve got an offer for University!! I have 3 irons in the fire still for alternative University but the fact I have a firm offer on the table is HUGE and something that had me bouncing off the walls yesterday! It was such a relief after two years of struggle to get promotion to work to have something so positive. My second job as a home care worker was a great relief but didn’t feel so big as a Mental Health Nursing application is not just taken on qualifications but also interview and personal specification. There are limited places and they need to be confident you’ll make a good nurse. The home care workers are in major short supply, so there is no competition for places, just a case of whether your appointable or not. It’s a great confidence boost to go to another company but the University offer is just massive for me. It’s hard to portray just how much it means to me, I can’t wait!!

Week 50 – Day 5 : Bumps in the Road (Part 2)

Published February 6, 2015 by Katier Scott

Part 1 of this weeks post can be found at  Week 50 : day 5 – bumps in the road (part 1) and as with Part 1 I’d really appreciate your feedback and thoughts.

With the uncertainty of time scales I am now faced with choices regarding the book part of this project. The original plan was to create a book documenting the first 12 months on hormones. The book would have a sequence of progression photos showing the growth of breast and other changes, matched to blocks of text about that week or a fact about Gender Dysphoria. This evolved as I felt, partially due to the delay in t-blockers, the changes were a little slow. That isn’t to say I’m disappointed with the changes, far from it – I love my boobs and the t-blockers are definitely having an effect – just they overall are a little less than I’d hoped for the book.

With that in mind I decided to take the book up to Surgery, hoping it would be 6-7 months into this year. Unfortunately the latest news is rapidly looking like at least next year, which means I’d be forced to either slot it into the middle of a course, assuming I get on the course of course, or delay till I graduate which sucks. But with the delays it means the project needs re-evaluating.

I see three choices :-

Plan A – The original plan, work on a book of the first 12 months as planned, then do a second book – as suggested by a very good friend – for the run into and out of surgery.

Plan B – As for plan A but make the first book a little more wordy, more of a biography, with the pictures interspersed a little more through the book and maybe even, if relevant, images of me fully clothed not topless.

Plan C – Wait till surgery to do one big book, which means the book has unknown timescales.

I plan on getting the book published both via online electronic sources such as Kindle – which I’ve investigated and am comfortable with, but also physically and if any of you have self published, any tips and hints would be most appreciated.

Also would you folks like to see the blog continue past the book being published? Are you finding it interesting enough to warrant continuing it. I’m quite enjoying writing it, and it’s easily the biggest project of this ilk I have done,

I’d also like to take this chance to offer everyone a HUGE thank you for reading my weekly ramblings and to my friends for their constant amazing support.