MtF

All posts tagged MtF

Week 93 – Day 2 : On the home run!

Published November 24, 2015 by Katier Scott

Sorry I have been quiet, I have been going through a period of ill health and as a result I have found it difficult to motivate and find things to write about.

I am definitely on the mend, although definitely not fixed, however I had probably the most important appointment yet, today, so absolutely had to write a blog post to update you.

This afternoon I visited the Northamptonshire Gender Clinic in Daventry for the second opinion consultation for Gender Re-assignment Surgery. This appointment has been a long time coming so I was definitely a little nervous, as such my mum came with me just in case it went wrong. It was a new Gender Clinic (my third), and a one-off appointment, so I was feeling the pressure.

In the event, I need not worry, the consultant was brilliant and, unlike some previous consultants had done a lot of reading up of my notes. As such I sailed through the assessment, and he even dictated a referral letter while I was there.

So that’s it, I have my two referrals for Gender Re-Assignment surgery and hopefully at some point, if I’m lucky in the summer, I will be down in Brighton having the most significant moment of my life.

It’s been an incredibly long journey, well over 5 years altogether and I really can’t thank many people for their help and support enough.

My Parents and Siblings have been incredibly supportive throughout, attending appointments, giving me tips and buying me clothes.

My Children are all fantastic, they are brilliant kids and accept me for who I really am. It’s been incredibly tough for them and I love them so much!

My Ex has done a fantastic job looking after my kids and coping with everything, the fact we’re still amicable is something I am very grateful for!

Lastly but not least my friends, I am so incredibly lucky to have some amazing friends, I appreciate every one of them. They’ve been there for me through tough times, given me advice, helped me be a better person and made a long journey so much easier.

A huge thank you to you all, you all mean so much to me.

Week 88 – Day 2 : Making progress..

Published October 20, 2015 by Katier Scott

I do intend to get this blog back up to weekly but over the last few weeks I’ve been struggling with my health, combined with starting a second job and other things I simply didn’t have the motivation to post.

This week things have been happening, however, and I am pleased to say I finally have my next GIC appointment. But the first thing that happened, late last week, was sorting my DBS for my Mental Health Nursing course. Unlike the 6 months that my DBS took for my Care Worker job, my DBS on this occasion took just a day to process. I can highly recommend anyone who needs to get a DBS check, takes advantage of the online service that is offered. It has two benefits, firstly saves ever having to re-apply, but also means future employers simply make a check against the online service and bingo – your DBS cleared.

With that done, and needing to give at least a months notice, and an unconditional offer in my pocket, I handed in my notice at the University. This was a big and anxious moment, making a commitment like that, even with future plans sorted, is still a nervy experience.

Then today I phoned up Northampton Gender Clinic, to be told I couldn’t be put through. They have a strange policy now that you must leave a message and ask them to call you back. Not sure of the reasoning behind this but does mean you may get calls at times that are inconvenient to you. In my case I was at work when the call arrive but was able to disappear into a room to speak in private.

It turned out, due to a messup with Porterbrook, who hadn’t sent my record properly, they hadn’t got me in the right place in the queue, but as soon as she corrected the error she realised I was actually at the front of the queue, having just been doing appointments at around the time I was referred.

Looking through the calender she was then able to offer me an appointment far sooner than expected, as they’d had a cancellation, so I ended up with an appointment on 24th November. This date is more or less where I’d hoped to get as a best case scenario when I last spoke to them, so takes a step closer to finally getting surgery.

You’d think after all this good news, I’d actually be pretty happy, but I’m currently struggling with tiredness, lethargy, low energy and as a result, I haven’t felt like celebrating. It’s sad that I can’t even motivate a proper smile, but I guess on the other side it really does show how even when things are going well a good situation can still not be enough to lift us.

Brains, hormones, illness and mental health problems are all fickle beasts, I’m going to see the GP tomorrow to see if we can figure why I’m struggling with tiredness and really not looking forward to it. I guess ultimately I’m scared of conversations that might turn into mental health discussions, this despite my future career!!

Anyway there’s a catchup, it’s nice to have things falling into place, just wish I wasn’t tired and low on energy to enjoy it more!!

Week 82 – Day 4 : What’s expected of me?

Published September 11, 2015 by Katier Scott

I’ve seen several posts of this ilk from people who are about to go through treatment for Gender Identity Disorder GID. They are naturally nervous about the whole process and unsure what to expect. Also, while things have improved, myth and rumour still exist. On top of there there’s the confusion of terms and what they mean, why do I use GID and not ‘trans’ related terms?

Gender Identity Disorder

So I’ll start at the ‘top’, what is Gender Identity Disorder and it’s closely related cousin, Gender Dysphoria (GD)?

GID is simply a medical condition where the brain’s gender doesn’t match that of the body. Generally this is simply the brain is gendered male, and the body female, or the other way round. But some people feel more androgynous about their gender and thus may consider themselves ‘no gender’ or maybe they switch genders depending on the situation. All this people can be considered to have GID, as their ‘Mental’ Gender Identity is in Disorder with their physical one. Current medical research points to GID occurring in the womb, during any babies development they all start as a female, regardless of the DNA, the body initial develops in a female shape. At some point in the development, hormones and other chemicals trigger the body and brain to ‘gender’. It is two separate sets of chemical signals that cause this and thus if one signal fails for some reason, then you get GID.

GID has different feelings for different people and this is one reason why gender is considered to be fluid, these days, and not simply male/female. People with severe GID may also develop GD, which is a mental condition where they are massively uncomfortable with their bodies and thus GD can trigger other conditions such as anxiety and depression. Hence while GID is absolutely NOT a mental condition, the fact it’s generally treated by Mental Health is a good thing because while the condition itself isn’t mental, it can definitely cause people to have mental health issues.

GID is treated by changing the persons physical body to match that of the gender of their brain, using hormones and surgery. For MtF it’s oestrogen and testosterone blockers, for FtM the reverse. Hormones have the effect of causing fat to be redistributed to gender appropriate parts, e.g. onto the hips on a female, body hair to become gender appropriate, I believe it changes your body odour, can help reverse Male Pattern Baldness (or cause for FtM) and causes breast growth for MtF and Beards for FtM. Surgery is considered optional but if done consists of the following :-

For Male to Female patients :

  • Vagioplasty, or the non vagina variant – i.e. the groin area is given surgery to make it physically look female, and a working vagina may be created – this is optional depending on the wishes of the patient.
  • Breast enhancement – I believe this is treated exactly as for any other female.
  • Feminine Facial reconstruction – Feminising of the face.
  • Laser/electrolysis hair removal – while not technically ‘surgery’ it is a medical procedure needed to remove beards.

For Female to Male patients

  • Penal construction – this is improving, but something that I believe is less common than Vagioplasty’s.
  • Mastectomy – this is the ‘big operation’ for men, as it makes their chest area appear for more masculine and removes the need for binders.
  • There may be other FtM medical procedures I’m not aware of, but these are the main two.

Transgender/Transexual

So that’s the medical side covered, I don’t use the terms ‘Transgender’ or ‘Transexual’ because I feel they are heavily mis-used, a bit antiquated, and harder to understand. It’s easy to explain it as a medical condition, but Transgender and Transexual can easily appear to be a fetish or similar, and that results in misunderstanding and confusion. Transgender is meant to be an overall term for all people who have some form of preference that sits outside of the ‘gender norm’, so that includes cross-dressers, transvestites, drag queens, anyone who while they consider themselves their birth gender, enjoy elements of the other gender – plus those who have GID.. confusing much? Transsexual is underused and is the term that SHOULD be used when referring to anyone with GID, but because I don’t see it used, but instead the confusing transgender term is used, I think both terms need to be assigned to history. A new term can be used for those who are ‘gender variant’ and simply use GID for those with GID. Simplez!!

Gender Clinics

OK so what are Gender Clinics looking for?

Well being a condition that, while not a ‘mental illness’ is still a ‘mental’ condition, it’s not something you can simply take a blood test and diagnose, so Gender Clinics expect to see you taking on ‘norms’ for your gender. It can feel like a box-ticking exercise, but truth be known all they are expecting you to do is live life the same as anyone else of your gender.

So to make this easy to understand I’m going to create a fictional character, I’ll use a MtF lady called Mary. Any likenesses to anyone are 100% co-incidental and everything is based on my own knowledge gained, based on my own experiences and things I’ve read or been told.

Mary is somewhat of a recluse, she’s nervous about going at ‘as Mary’ in public, and when she does tends to have just had a shave roughly brush her slightly receding hair, and put on gender neutral clothes with no effort to try to ‘feminise’ her appearance through things like fake boobs. She is also unemployed and if she does go out as Mary to social settings it is with Transgender groups or to LGBT venues.

The Gender Clinic aren’t happy they are seeing Mary actually taking on a female gender role in a form that makes them happy she actually has GID. So they request she tries to get a job, or voluntary work, and works on her appearance through the use of fake breasts, more feminine clothing – they also suggest she sees someone for make-up tips – NOTE: Makeup doesn’t have to be much, I often go to appointments just with foundation on, but you need something to hide beard shadow. Mary hasn’t changed her name or documents either, so they also request she does so through a deed poll and presents them at the next appointment.

They talk and find out that Mary used to enjoy walking, but hasn’t done this for a while so they suggest she finds a walking group and joins them.

All the gender clinic are asking is for her to start actually living and socialising as a woman, contrast that to my first appointment. I arrived, dressed in jeans and a female cut top, wearing simple make-up and a wig (as I have male pattern baldness). I was socialising at the local open Mic and had both a job, and was doing voluntary work. At my second appointment, 6 months later, they put me on Hormones, and this blog was born.

I wasn’t doing anything ‘clever’ or special, I was simply getting on with life and doing things I enjoyed with people who fast became friends. That’s all a Gender Clinic wants to see, you living your life in a role typical for your gender. Gender Clinic’s have never asked me to do anything, because they’ve always been happy that I was doing that. I also transitioned before I got to the gender clinic. As soon as I moved out from my ex-wife, I immediately switched genders, changed my name as quickly as possible and all associated documents. My new bank account was in female gender and I presented as female immediately, and non-stop since. This meant when I got to the Gender Clinic in July 2013, I had already being living as myself for three years, so they really didn’t have any issues.

Contrast that to Mary, or even someone who turns up (for example) presenting Male, then Changes to Female when at the Gender Clinic, and you can see the contrast. Now don’t get me wrong, everyone’s situation is different, we have different levels of support (I’ve been super lucky in that my family has always been supportive and my best friend at Uni has stuck with me throughout) – friends may or may not stick with you, but ultimately everyone has control of what they do.

It is incredibly tough, my transition since moving out has been a long journey, but at least I’ve had support. But if your married, having kids, unsupportive family – it’s incredibly tough, and takes a strong person to make the switch.. but ultimately at some point you have to say ‘enough’s enough’ this is what I am, and I need to live that way. If you can do that before arriving at a Gender Clinic it’ll make things a lot smoother, but certainly isn’t essential.

Week 81 – Day 4 : On Holiday

Published September 3, 2015 by Katier Scott

IMAG0418 As regular readers of this blog know I started it for a number of reasons, but centre to them all was an appreciation that, despite the fact my journey has not been anything like straightforward, indeed some of my friends who started transitioning before me are post-op, I am incredibly lucky.

As such I wanted to share my journey when I started hormones in the hope that people in a similar situation might not feel quite so along, and also to educate and inform anyone and everyone about the simple fact that people with Gender Identity Disorder are people and we live life as best we can, but have challenges on the way.

Throughout this journey for me I’ve been ticking little boxes, things that women do ‘normally’, or just doing things for me, and in process hopefully giving other people with GID and similar inspiration and belief that they can get on and be themselves.

This week, and part of the reason for missing a blog entry last week, was very much centred on the fact I went on holiday for the first time in as long as I can remember. I have been to LARP events recently, but because I crew them they aren’t a relaxing ‘holiday’ more a weekend spent doing something I enjoy and get something out of. My last proper holiday took place prior to me being able to stand up in a tent is fantastic and bell tents are just brilliant tents.

The photo is taken on the first evening but summed up the weather for most of the holiday, we had overnight rain on the first night, early morning rain on the second morning and it was cloudy and a bit rainy on the final morning which prompted a quick departure as I’m a biker, didn’t fancy a lot of rain.

The holiday was really enjoyable, chilled and just so relaxing. The campsite owners were fantastic, welcoming, friendly, eager to help and make youIMAG0423 feel welcome. I went to Caernafon which was lovely and definitely will see a repeat visit, Portmadog was disapointing, Beddgelert absolutely gorgeous. Did a lot of walking and finished up on the beach.

The beach was just gorgeous as you can see from the picture to the right and despite a stiff breeze the sun was just fighting a winning battle. Especially when I got amongst the dunes further along the beach where I ticked another of those little boxes. I wondered through the dunes for a bit with just a bikini top on my upper half. I was never really someone who walked around topless prior to transitioning, however it’s something I wanted to tick and was really nice to be able to walk along with the sun on my body.. sunbathing next!!

When I got back from my holiday I then contacted Northampton GIC and they confirmed my GP had sent the kind of information they needed, and had put me on the waiting list for an appointment. Apparently they send them out 6 weeks in advance and I was able to get confirmation that they may see me as soon as November, and should definitely see me this year. This should mean surgery sometime next summer which while a year later than I hoped at least is positive and a light at the end of the tunnel, which after my last blog post much needed!!

Week 79 – Day 6 : Lifes on hold..

Published August 22, 2015 by Katier Scott

Or at least it feels like it…

This week has been pretty tough for me as frustration finally got the better of me resulting in a week that really could have been a lot better. In some ways it’s been a good week, so it’s not all bad, I finally got to my first HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) session on Tuesday, going with one of my best friends and in doing so ticking off one of my little personal goals. It actually went really well but I think I’d want to go with people I know for a while before being completely comfortable going on my own. I’m doing HIIT because the big thing I feel I need to work on is overall fitness and improve my cardio and stamina – all things HIIT, especially sessions like Tuesday will definitely help with. The personal goal was to go to a public sports related activity, obviously Roller Derby has ticked part of that, but as part of a team, practicing in places where the hall is rented exclusively, it didn’t tick the ‘public’ box for me. I didn’t use the changing rooms, as it was simply easier for the two of us to go already changed.

Wednesdays Roller Derby session was also very good, and I got my first piece of merchandise with my name and number on it. They have both been registered for a while, but up till now hadn’t yet appeared anywhere visible. I love Wednesdays sessions, they push me hard and that’s what I really enjoy, however, at the end of the session I did around 4 minutes of almost constant skating and was exhausted. Ok it came at the end of a intense and very enjoyable session, but did feel I need to be in better shape!

Work however has start to really get me down, all week I have been moving books, which actually probably represents the best week of the year, but it’s been very hard work, and coupled with the physical side of HIIT and Roller Derby, I felt pretty down on Thursday – mixture of lots of aches and probably a come down from the high of two intense days.

Then what completely triggered my frustration was something absolutely stupid, but then there is a saying ‘the straw that broke the camels back’ and ultimately it’s a saying that proves itself right, time and again!

On Thursday I really fancied going out to a local open Mic, I’m in a socialising mood and enjoying going out, meeting people, enjoying friends company etc., but with my parents supporting me at the moment I decided to be ‘sensible’ and not go out. Unfortunately Facebook showed various friends out and about, and the fact I wanted to go but decided not to – even though I could have found some funds to go out – was the preverbial straw.

Currently a lot of my life feels on hold, nothing moving forward and unfortunately when everything happens it gets on top of you, sadly that’s what’s happened this week and resulted in ultimately a pretty crap week – but fortunately I think I have a plan.

The root of the problem is money, back in February when I ‘kicked out’ my flat mate, my plan – which my parents supported, and largely suggested – was for them to support me until my DBS came through and I could start a second job doing care at home. Unfortunately the DBS has hit delays including a spelling mistake and DBS simply loosing one application resulting in it taking nearly 6 months, and counting.

My other job, is a low level job in a University Library and was always intended to be a ‘get into’ job with the intention of developing a career within the Uni. It’s taught me a lot about myself and, more importantly, job applications – but ultimately the only ‘promotion’ I managed was a 4 month secondment in Admissions – from an experience point of view, excellent, from a career point of view, no help whatsoever! So it’s turned into a dead-end job, which in combination with the care job not starting yet has resulted in financial strain and massive frustration as I HATE being the age I am and relying on parents to get by. They can afford it, but it’s not fair on them.

I knew there was a chance of my degree course starting in September, something I could ‘cling’ to and even though I didn’t ‘try’ to ultimately I did, so when it was clear I would be starting in January that was something else to pile on this weeks increasing stress. Five more months of ‘nothing’ just wasn’t a nice prospect.

On top of that my second appointment for referral for surgery still is hasn’t arrived, putting more ‘on hold’ to my life and adding to uncertainty.

So add that little lot together and suddenly it all got on top of me this week, there’s nothing to look forward to in the near future, no new challenges and it just resulted in a lot of tears and thinking.

I managed a little step forward yesterday, I contacted Northampton Gender Clinic who are going to do my second surgery assessment, turned out while they had my referral letter, it actually missed out a lot of critical information – for example assessments and even general ‘hand over’ patient information. We had a chat and my GP should have/be sending the information as Porterbrook were slow responding to a request for information. I was quite impressed with Northampton, but until they get the information, it was only a tiny step as no date.

I also think I need to move away from sitting doing nothing job wise. I really want to be financially more secure, and while ultimately that can happen, it’s not something that will happen tomorrow and thus I think I need to look for a new, full time (or part time but much better paid/hr) job at a level that reflects my skills. This treading water is not doing me any good whatsover so I’m hoping some help from a very good friend will at least give me something positive to do career wise and hopefully get me out of the financial mire.

Ultimately I really do want to become a nurse, I think I’d be good at it, and it’s a career that while tough, is pretty stable and has prospects. However I need to balance that with my current situation and the face is being financially struggling, combined with entry level jobs, are not helping my mental state. Whether anything comes of it, is anyones guess, but I can but try! I stopped applying for jobs, having gone for around 30 at the Uni over the course of a couple of years, and failed to get any apart from the admissions role, back in January time when I got the degree place and the Home Care role. I really am beginning to think that was a mistake and I need to re-evaluate, for my own mental health.

Week 78 – Day 7 : Oh dear.. oh dear..

Published August 16, 2015 by Katier Scott

This weeks blog was triggered by this photo that one of my friends shared on facebook. The photo can be found here and on the face of it looks innocent.. until you read the text. The photo was posted by a proud father who’s son, Beau, was born with a condition called Fibular Hemimelia which resulted in him having to have both his feet amputated.

Obviously that has caused Beau’s life to be not as straightforward as for anyone with feet, and he seems to face adversity strongly and with a brave face. But when you read a bit deeper you realise that Beau is facing many problems, all be it caused by a different problem, that anyone with Gender Identity Disorder (GID) faces.. so it was very unfortunate that Jason chose to blight what could have been a wonderful ‘I’m proud about my son’ post by roundly being critical about Caitlyn Jenner getting a reward for Courage.

Not only did Jason question the award, but he refused to refer to Jenner as anything other than Male and using her former name. In doing so he instantly showed by Jenner’s award was so deserved,  by choosing to be so public with her transition Jenner immediately opened herself to criticism, transphobia (as displayed by Jason) and bullying.

All people who are born with disorders, or who develop them in life, which cause them to be different from the ‘crowd’ face very similar adversity, including acceptance, discrimination, bullying, harassment, fear and just the general struggle to try to broadly fit into the crowd. In that respect Beau is no different to Caitlyn, or as Beau is a child, any of the many children and young people struggling with conditions, be it GID,  Fibular Hemimelia, Deafness or any other condition.

Both this blog, and the work Caitlyn is doing through being so public in her transition is simply trying to educate, and sadly it’s not an easy job. As Jason proves, you’d think someone who’s son is facing so much adversity might actually empathise with someone who has GID, but I guess because it’s not a physical ‘disorder’ then he doesn’t belive it exists.. so I’ll leave a few thoughts.

ADHD? Epilepsy? ASD?

Yep all exist, but are ‘invisible’ conditions and so does GID.. but there’s a way of flipping round GID and realising it ‘can’ exist and that is the fact there is a ‘physical’ problem that can easily result in Gender Dysphoria (which is when GID is actually causing mental problems as the person really isn’t comfortable with their body), that condition is ‘Intersexed’.

Intersexed is when the physical genitals of a person are of BOTH genders, the chances are the brain, however, is of one or the other gender, and worse, often surgery is performed early on to make the baby a single gender.. get it wrong and that child instantly has in effect Gender Identity Disorder and almost certainly will be Dysphoric..

So if things can go wrong obviously with the physical make-up of a body, and we know the brain must be gendered in some way, otherwise you wouldn’t have female and male characteristics in the way people act, and we know Mental Health conditions exist – there is absolutely no reason what-so-ever why Gender Identity Disorder can’t exist!

The fact of the matter is, of course, that is does exist – but because it’s totally invisible it’s easy to dismiss it at something it isn’t – however it’s a proven medical condition and researchers even are pretty sure how it happens.

For those who are still with me, when you are developing in the womb everyone starts off female. It’s actually chemical/hormonal triggers that cause a female body to change gender to male, at the same time, other chemicals will trigger the gender change in the brain to whatever it should be. So for a female, the only chemical trigger is to ‘set’ the brain, in a male two triggers go off, one for the body, one of the brain. If any of those triggers, for whatever reason, don’t go off properly, that’s how Gender Identity Disorder happens.

Now I should add, that I have absolutely no issue with the concept that some people have that gender is just a fluid, natural, flexible entity. The point I’m making above, however, is the strict medical definition, however if you see gender variance as natural that’s absolutely fine. But when educating, or informing, working on something tangible such as above, should make it a whole lot easier to understand.

Week 77 – Day 3 : Ooops I did it again…

Published August 5, 2015 by Katier Scott

Missed a week that is!!

My excuse is I was very busy and I’m sticking to it!!

I’ve actually got on and done things, it’s amazing really how much better I feel. Stress crept up on me without me knowing, but the fact a lot of the time I’d just mess on the computer and wouldn’t really feel inspired to do anything was a symptom I didn’t notice until the last week or two.

Whereas the only ‘going out’ thing I was really wanting to do was Roller Derby (and even then I sometimes only went because I ‘had to’) now I am enjoying going out again. I’ve got Roller Derby practice tonight and can’t wait, I went out to the local pub last night just because I wanted to and have actually, to use the fun phrase some people use on social media. ‘Adulted’ – Got on and done so much recently from cooking, to tidying, going out and meeting friends and just generally being very busy. Even most of my clothes have been put away!!

I really do feel like I’m a lot more back to normal than I probably have been all year.. but what’s really bizarre is I actually see 2015 as a pretty damned good year! January and February were tough because of issues with my former flat mate but I carried on making friends and once he left and I started Roller Derby things looked up.

Despite the stress I have still managed to do two Empires, done better than I expected in Roller Derby, taken part in my first OCR and really the only thing that dropped off a bit was my Music. I think that’s the biggest symptom I completely missed, while I would go out occasionally to open mics I’m not sure I was entirely myself – I sang occasionally but stopped listening to music so much and completely stopped playing guitar for about 3 months!

Suddenly I’m listening to music again and practising guitar again. Heck I feel I’m even starting to make a bit of progress with G-C chord transitions.. as one of my best friends would say ‘Whoop’ – essentially August seems to be the month where goals I set 2 months ago might actually start to materialise.

Surgery is also making progress, I had an appointment 2 weeks ago which confirmed Sheffield have ok’d their referral and last week received a letter confirming they’d sent a letter to Northampton GIC for my second referal. The two GIC’s have talked and apparently 4 months is approximately when I can expect an appointment, so should have all the Referrals done this year. Surgery will be tricky as I’ll have started Uni, but not insurmountable, but nice to be making progress.

Another thing I hope to do in August is start at a Gym, while I’m pretty fit and have decent Cardio, I love Roller Derby and would like to be in the best shape possible for when I start actually playing the game. It’s also a bit of a ‘box tick’ for me as even 5 years down the line I have boxes that women do ‘normally’ I’d like to tick – Sunbathing in a bikini and swimming are two others! I’ll be looking at doing classes such as HIIT as I think they’ll benefit me most and I’ve done Circuit Training before and enjoyed it – so something I feel I’ll enjoy, especially as I’ll go with friends :).