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All posts for the month April, 2015

Week 61 – Day 5 : Nothing to say…

Published April 23, 2015 by Katier Scott

Literally as it happens as I lost my voice on Monday!!

But this has been a week where I simply haven’t picked up on anything to talk about. On the back of the emotions triggered by the news of Casper and the #doitfor57 campaign, I think a quiet week was needed – and that’s just what’s happened. I made that post on Sunday of course, and as this blog has always been intended to be informative so that almost worked as a post for this week.

I promised myself I’d do one post a week, however, and thus your getting one, even if it’s a shorty.

I did have a proud moment this week when I finally finished re-decorating a wall in my lounge that needed doing the day I walked into the flat.. 4 years ago!! It’s gone from a horrible mess of dark brown painted, peeling and curling wallpaper. It’s now a lovely purple wall with a contrasting abstract painting hanging on it.

As regular readers know I intended this blog to be helpful and informative, so I guess it’s natural for me to be supportive and informative in real life and I had a really enjoyable conversation with one of our Gender Dysphoric students who said she found it most useful and helped her allay some of her concerns and worries.

Overall it’s been just what I needed.. a quiet week.. so that’s it for now and catch up with you next week.

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So what is Gender Dysphoria and why does it cause mental health issues?

Published April 19, 2015 by Katier Scott

I really wish I could have come up with a better title for this post, but really when it boils down to it, that’s what this post comes down to.

In my opinion Suicide is probably the saddest event anyone may witness, hear of or read in the news, during your life, it ‘should’ be preventable as when the reasons behind a suicide are learnt, there are often things that simply shouldn’t have happened, or help that should have been available.

I think it’s fair to say that a large number of the Roller Derby Community were hit hard by the loss of a young 15 year old skater who was also gender dysphoric a couple of weeks ago. We don’t know exactly why Casper felt he couldn’t go on, but in all likely hood his Gender Dysphoria was at the root of the problem.

The sad thing is that this is true of the majority of teen and young adults who take their own lives, and often the reasons are a lot clearer and in the cases of all of these suicides I firmly believe we need to look and try to learn why they might have happened and raise awareness of the causes.

Over the past few days 100’s of people world wide have skated in bouts, scrims and practices wearing teal or torquoise – the colour of suicide awareness – and the fact there is such a consolidated level of support means, hopefully, there is a consolidated wish to learn about why people like Casper take their own lives.

As I said earlier Gender Dysphoria is a root cause of many of these suicides as a person comes to term with the fact their brains gender doesn’t match their physical gender they seek to live as their ‘mental’ gender, by wearing clothes of that gender ( in my case my mental gender being female means I present as one) and living as that gender, then undergoing treatment.

Unfortunately not all people are as fortunate with their support as I have been and found they feel they simply can’t transition, or cope with the pressures and stresses of it. As I said earlier, it’s not clear why Casper felt he couldn’t go on, however the important legacy is that he has raised awareness of suicide amongst Gender Dysphoric people, and hopefully the Derby Community (and anyone else reading this blog) can understand and learn about Gender Dysphoria and take that information and use it to educate when they see prejudice, misinformation or bullying (Casper wasn’t bullied, but it definitely happens), but also support anyone in their league, or circle of friends, who are Gender Dysphoric in a more understanding manner.

I’ll start this little bit of education (wow all those words and the learnings only just starting!!) with some terms.

You’ll notice I’ve mentioned Gender Dysphoria, but haven’t once, till now, mentioned Trans, Transgender etc. The reason for that is that the medical condition that we have is called Gender Dysphoria (or Gender Identity Disorder – both are the same) and it is the fact we are suffering from a distinct medical condition that seperates us from transvestites, crossdressers etc.

There are so many ‘trans’ terms it’s easy to get confused however I will mention them here so you know what they mean.

Transgender – this term is heavily overused, it’s the ‘umbrella’ term for all ‘trans’ and as such covers those suffering from Gender Dysphoria all the way through to cross dresses, transvestites etc.

Transexual – this term is effectively the original term to cover those who are Gender Dysphoric. Personally I feel it’s outdated and we should use Gender Dysphoria or GID, however to call someone like Casper ‘Transexual’ is 100% correct.

Transvestite – Basically cross dressers who dress in public, drag queens are the extreme example of this technically Tom Boys are also TV’s although they don’t generally see themselves under the Transgender umbrella.

Cross Dresser – Someone who wholey, or partially, dresses as the other gender, often just inside their own homes or in a fetish or sexual setting.

So as you can see it’s easy for those who are un-educated or mis-informed can get terms, conditions, and meanings confused. The fact is, however, that unlike most of the Transgender terms, those who are Gender Dysphoric do NOT do it by choice.

Some people, especially those like Casper, who realise they are Gender Dysphoric during, or before, pubity, have a very strong feeling they are in the wrong body. It’s clearly a confusing time for them and incredibly tough for the parents, most of them are un-informed and, especially in the younger people (under 10) it’s often pushed aside as a ‘fad’. For those who are pre-pubescent my advice would be to go with the flow, give your child the chance to find themselves. If they want to live as the other gender, let them, and if they do indeed (as may happen) grow out of it, then it’s all good. But if they are truly GD then pushing them into the the wrong gender can push them all the way into suicide.

Leelah Alcorn is a sadly good example of these, her parents were heavily religious and believed that God only made men and women. Without wishing to get heavily into the subject of Religion the fact that many mammals, including humans, can be born intersexed (which is automatically a form of GID/GD) shows how narrowminded that belief is. Leelah’s parents tried to ‘fix’ her through religion and ultimately, at the age of 17, she deliberately walked in front of a Lorry on 28th December 2014.

Older people may have felt the same but not realised that they were GD, so they just coped, often try to live a ‘normal’ life, but learn about Gender Dysphoria and realise what they truly are. In my case I made a terrible bloke, never really felt comfortable as a man, but when I got the chance to take the female role it felt totally natural – and I’ve not looked back.

So hopefully that’s given you a basic understanding of the kinds of problems we face, and what the different terms mean.

Further reading about what causes GID and the treatment we undergo can be found from a number of sources (including this blog) however the UK’s National Health Service have a great starting point.

NHS Gender Dysphoria Pages

That information can be found at http://www.nhs.uk/Cond…/Gender-dysphoria/Pages/Causes.aspx

Week 60 – Day 4 : #doitfor57 – Skating against bullying and raising awareness.

Published April 15, 2015 by Katier Scott

This next post takes the form of a VLOG.

Support organisations for suicide support, Trans support and bullying support.

United Kingdom

The Samaritans
http://www.samaritans.org/
08457 90 90 90

ChildLine
http://www.childline.org.uk/
Help and support for children and young people.
Tel: 0800 1111

Beaumont Society

Week 59 – Day 5 : Patience a Virtue.. but frustrating..

Published April 10, 2015 by Katier Scott

So the the complaint has gone off the Sheffield, but how long do I give for a response?

I’ve decided to wait till the end of next week, which will effectively be the Monday after for an initial chase. My plan if they don’t respond is to send the same letter both to the PALS and the complaints line for Sheffield Mental Health Trust as they’ll have had their chance to resolve it internally, so can’t complain if I go above their heads. I’m really hoping that it won’t come to that, and the ultimate hope is both to resolve my issues and to improve procedures for future patients.

Really the only issue with Porterbrook is their procedures, the admin staff are significantly better than CHX and the consultants generally very good, so I don’t want to rock the boat too much as it doesn’t need rocking – just improve procedures and remove my non-clinical delays.

I’m also having to judge patience with my CRB, when do I begin to chase that up as I really want to start my second job soon.

I’m also learning a lot about myself and how I need to manage myself, my whole lifestyle is changing in a very good way but with it comes and understand of what I need to change about myself.

I’ve always been a helpful person, way back when I played cricket I’d always volunteer for helping with maintenance, putting out boundary markers, behind the bar etc. Now, however, it’s putting my health at risk as I push myself too hard because I’m also conciousness so don’t like taking the piss with my work level.

Unfortunately that caused me to completely wear myself out at the LARP event. By Crewing I get the ability to play the event, get free food the entire event (plus snacks/coffee etc.) and a free drink in the bar. So the entire weekend just costs me the petrol to get on site, nothing else.

The payment is, of course, me (and 200-300 other volunteers) putting in a lot of time and effort to get the event running, and keep it running over the course of a weekend.

Unfortunately, admittedly partially down to the mud which made things ¬†tough and prevented me using a vehicle where I normally would, and the larger site, I simply wore myself out. I now realise I don’t need to work that hard to earn my keep, I need to look after myself and balance work with rest to a much better degree. Just for reference my work load last weekend was :-

Weds – about 6 hours, finish at 10:30-11pm, bed straight away.
Thurs – 09:30-11pm – 50 minutes of break, walking on a hill in mud most of the day.
Friday – 10:15-11pmish – 50 minutes of break. Was exhausted at the end, although managed to avoid mud which helped!
Saturday – couple of hours helping shift stock, and bit of first aid bits and bobs – exhausted by 9pm!!
Sunday – 2 hours First aid then came home.

That run on Weds/Thurs/Friday simply broke me, and I realise¬†I need to work with the other crew to ensure that if I am to work 12+ hour shifts, I need a 2-3 hour break somewhere just to stop burning myself out. I’m no good burnt out and it also means I don’t get to get much IC time.

So I’m beginning to understand how I need to balance my volunteer stuff, not over-extend my duties, still be helpful and diligent but not burn myself out in the process.

Week 58 – day 4 : Another busy week.

Published April 2, 2015 by Katier Scott

This week has been yet another hugely busy week. So much so that I am writing this post on my phone while sitting in a field while crewing for the LARP event regular readers may remember from last year.

On Monday I had another appointment at voice therapy which, ironically for ‘voice therapy’ concentration on appearances rather than voice. Something I am not really bothered about, it’s my voice I want to improve.

I can understand a bit of the thinking behind it and certainly there is no harm in improving posture, but as I don’t typically get misread by others when walking it’s not a high priority for me.

I will take on board what she said but most of the exersizes will not get done, I have enough trouble doing stuff done as it is!

I am more than willing to work on my voice, that’s the point of the exercise, however I simply don’t have the time to work on exercises that will give minimal improvement for a lot of effort.

Things I can do day to day is fine, of course, so I will try to walk straighter (i am sure my back will appreciate it) and other little things that form simple habit changes while walking makes sense.

I know it sounds kinda negative, and it is, but I currently have to balance priorities. Didn’t help that the therapist wasn’t happy when I said I wouldn’t do anything for a week.. so far I have not stopped for 4 days this week, and in the last 36 hours worked 20+ – I would love to know, alongside sleep, eating, living in a tent and battling mud where I would find time to sit in front of a full length (non existent) mirror….

Camping is not conducive to excersizes requiring solid walls (which don’t exist) or mirrors which also don’t exist!