Tag: anxiety

The 53

I bumped into a friend on the bus home from work the other day. This person is someone who I’ve known for a while (I used to work in a school they were a student in, that we have both now left) but never known personally until recently, someone who has got to know me quite well through reading my blog. They said to me on the bus that ‘all of my posts on social media are amazing and really helpful’ so I thought I would write another one that was aimed at what else we spoke about on the bus and touches on something I wrote about in my previous post: Confidence.

So, part of my (and everyone else’s) coming out process is building up the confidence to start dressing as yourgender in public. I feel like I managed to get this right for myself so I’m going to attempt to pass a few tips on to anyone ‘still in the closet.’

When I eventually knew that I was going to be coming out publicly as transgender, I started to buy clothes that I hoped I would feel comfortable wearing outside the house. I had a load of stuff I would wear in the privacy of my own home but none of it was stuff I would wear out, I guess you could say I started out as a ‘cross dresser’ (I fucking hate that term, by the way, literally makes it sound like guys can ONLY wear guys clothes or vice-versa and to dress like a girl/guy is a sexual fetish which is absolute BULLSHIT for 99% of transgender people).

I started to replace my mens jeans with girly skinny jeans (took me a little while to actually start working out my size but I soon learned that no two clothes shops size things the same and I can be anything from an 8 to a 14) and began wearing them out straight away. No one really noticed except for my partner at the time (who knew I wanted to come out anyway) and my friend Lily who told me she liked my new jeans. I started wearing girls underwear at the same time simply as no one would ever know I wasn’t wearing boxers. This was the most liberating thing EVER and I would encourage anyone who’s considering coming out to try this because you are literally the only person who would know and it is a huge confidence booster and anxiety killer after doing it for the first time.

After a couple of months of this I started swapping the skinny jeans for plain black leggings. I’d team this up with a long t-shirt so at a quick glance they would just look like black jeans. No one really noticed again but if anyone did, they didn’t say anything to me. After that it was tights under jeans or leggings to get used to them, then a pair of boots with small heels on, then I started replacing my jackets with girly ones. I stopped cutting my hair and shaved my beard clean off, later wearing foundation and concealer to cover up the shadow. I started adding a pencil skirt or bodycon dress under the t-shirts when wearing leggings and it was around this time that I came out as gender fluid and announced I’d changed my name. Ditching the leggings for tights in the latter outfit by this point was easy, as I’d taken super small steps with my outfits each time I left the house.

The clue is in the title when transitioning between genders. It’s normal for a transition to take time and trans people – for all our battles – have the luxury of choosing this time frame. Making minor changes to your wardrobe will also make it less obvious for outsiders if/when you do come out, as you’ve kind of already started to transition long before announcing it. I was dressing ‘differently’ for almost a year before I publicly came out and my dress sense is now more or less unchanged unless I’m going out for drinks and want to look and feel extra femme.

Which brings me on to the next point – actually going out dressed differently. This for me was simple. I had a small group of friends who I’d told that I was going to come out as trans sometime in the future. They were supportive (obviously, all your friends will be even if they don’t fully understand at first – be patient with them as they will be with you but be prepared to answer some questions) and decided that these friends would be a good group of people to start dressing differently around, knowing they would ‘have my back’ if we were at the pub and a stranger wanted to try and have a pop at me. This has never actually happened (and I live in a small market town full of narrow-minded people) but it was infinitely helpful knowing I had a small group of friends around me that would stick up for me if things went sour. Safety in numbers and all that.

As my hair grew out I started to wear it in space buns or tied back under a bandana. This was immeasurably liberating being able to do, as well as something you can easily cover with a hood or take down altogether if you step out and decide you’re not ready for a femme hair style in public. To be honest, hair tied back under a bandana is really practical for anyone with long hair and after a while I ended up doing this to work all the time long before I came out publicly. I always used to wear a hat so no one seemed to even notice.

Nowadays, a year on from coming out fully, I don’t bat an eyelid about dressing like a girl unless I’m having a particularly dysphoric day (see previous There’s No Need To Panic post) which is a testament to taking your time with transitioning and making small changes at a time. Both of these things make the whole process less of a shock to the people around you which will in turn help with your process altogether.

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There’s No Need To Panic!

It’s been a while, for no reason other than I haven’t really had much to talk about. When I started this blog it was with the intention of helping people by sharing my story, and also to remind people they aren’t alone. I figured it wouldn’t be any harm to share a few of my coping mechanisms for things that happen in my head.

The three things mentally that I have to deal with are dysphoria, anxiety and panic attacks, although the latter hasn’t really happened for longer than I can remember with one recent exception which I’ll go into later.

1: Dysphoria. This is something that I deal with almost every day, and something I still haven’t fully got to grips with yet. It’s basically when I wake up in the morning, may face or body doesn’t even slightly resemble whats in my head and I feel like killing myself. Step one: go back to sleep. Step two: start again. Sometimes even 10 minutes back in bed (sacrificing my breakfast and eating later on/at work) can help start the thought processes again and make me feel less horrific. I’ve mentioned before about girls days and boy days, and 95% of the time I am on girls days now. Boy days tend to happen when I have to shave and my face reacts badly to the razor, for any number of reasons, leaving me with a shadow that I can’t cover up. On those days, it’s jeans, a hoodie, no effort at all and generally trying to hide from people. Days like this usually mean my skin will be bad the day after too, so at least I can prepare myself for having a bad day the day after. When I start to take hormones my face should start to clear up and the above will become less of an issue, although for now I don’t quite have a solution – other than going back to sleep.

2: Anxiety. For me, this is something that’s linked in to what I choose to wear. If I’m having a particularly good day and I’ve gone for the big heels, lots of leg and something to maximise what I have discovered to be my excellent ass, I’m usually relatively unstoppable, and I’ll do the shallow thing of an Instagram post knowing that the comments are often incredibly encouraging, something which helps keep the anxiety at bay (see photo below of a recent Ann Summers purchase that I never, ever thought I would have the guts to post publicly). Now, I can only assume that most other girls have the problem of ‘OH MY GOD ALL MY CLOTHES ARE SHIT AND I HAVE NOTHING TO WEAR’ because since dressing as one, I get that too. Three almost identical black pencil skirts and I spend 20 minutes deciding which one is normal, right? This is where the anxiety starts to set in, the feeling of ‘none of my clothes look good’ starts to remind me that I still very much have a male body, something I don’t particularly want to be reminded of. When this happens, I have a nap again (there’s a theme here, right?) and that tends to help.

When I’m dressed up like a sassy bitch, fucking nothing can stop me. Getting there can be a challenge but when I’m ready and I’m out, I’m happy. I don’t care if people stare at me or look me up and down or if an old guy in the queue at the post office tuts at me and shakes his head. It’s not my fault I look better than them. A street cleaner in my home town approached me the other day and said he’d seen me about and had talked about me to his mates before and wanted to tell me that I was brave, ‘had balls’ (for lack of a better expression) and that I shouldn’t give a shit what other people think. He was right about the last bit, I don’t. People in the street very rarely shout abuse at me or say things that make me uneasy. They stare, they tut, they may not understand but they aren’t looking for a fight if they say anything. Hopefully that last bit is encouraging to anyone wanting to come out… be yourself, it’s not as bad out here as you may think. I can count on one hand (at the time of writing) the things people have said:

  • on the way to work ‘there’s something hanging out from under your skirt’ L O L how original
  • walking through town ‘have you got a mangina’ (I fucking DIED laughing at this, he was about 12
  • leaving a pub ‘fuck off you girl’ FROM A GIRL like, fuck off, bitch, I’ll slap the make up off ya face *walks off like the sassy bitch that I am and buys cheesy chips at the kebab shop*
  • leaving the toilets in a pub ‘have you got a fanny or a cock.’ Who remembers Dick and Dom In Da Bungalow? Dom said it. Or maybe it was Dick. Who cares? He apologised after. I just laughed and walked off.

If someone does shout crap at you, ALWAYS keep walking. They don’t care enough to follow it up. And if they tried to, you can run faster than them. Don’t feed the trolls, real or on the internet. Honestly, people on the whole want to say nice things, I have run out of body parts to count the compliments on.

3: Panic attacks. Luckily, these don’t really happen anymore *touches wood* and it’s been some time since one has. I never knew exactly what used to cause them and to be honest I don’t know exactly why they’ve stopped. I used to struggle to identify when one was happening which would often mean I’d left it too late to get out of. So I guess the first bit of advice is learning to understand your body and changes in it that feel uncomfortable. Things like elevated breathing or heart rate, increased senses of anxiety or awareness of yourself/your surroundings and things like being increasingly uncomfortable towards a normal task can all be indicators (from my experience, at least) of an impending panic attack.

I have had one near miss since learning to recognise when I was about to have one and I was lucky enough to get over it, mainly because I recognised when it was about to happen. Calming down is much easier said than done (reeeally slow breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth is good, as well as stretching excessively and clicking your fingers in turn a few times) but can be really effective if you ‘do it early enough.’ If you’re past this and your body is filling with adrenaline, I find that closing off my senses then doing something fast and active is good. Luckily for me I’m a drummer, and drumming is a stunning what of buying off excess adrenaline. When I started to feel panic recently I found an isolated spot (I was at work but the shop was shut so again, lucky), put Glitches by ETID on my iPhone and proceeded to drum along in the air with my eyes shut. The movements are fast and precise and require your entire upper body to perform them. Panic attacks often induce increased breathing, leading to excess oxygen in the blood and this kind of activity is a great way to use the O2 up. Closing my eyes allowed a memory of the the band performing the song to fill my mental space, a memory that is positive and treasured to me and one that can flush out panic and its associated emotions. By the time I made it to the end of the song, I was in the clear.

In Laymans Terms, I isolated all my senses by ‘playing along’ to this track. Any one can do this – it might not work but anything is worth a try, I guess – isolate yourself, find a song you associate with positivity, crank it, and move/dance/jump/pretend to play drums until the song is over, with your eyes shut. It’s not for everyone, but if it works for one other person besides myself then this blog post has succeeded. DISCLAIMER – this might not work, it might make your own panic attacks worse. I am giving advice that works for me and it is not gospel for all. I haven’t directly told you to try this and I’m not responsible if it doesn’t work. Alright? Alright!

The final line of that song is ‘No Need To Panic,’ something I didn’t even realise until after picking it as my go-to song if ever I get close to panicking. Strange, that.

That’s it for this post, so as always, thanks for reading. For those of you following this blog because of my gender related battles, I have no updates as yet. The clinic I have been referred to are working slower than ever due to excessive numbers of people being referred. This is good and bad – it shows that the need is there and that more people are feeling comfortable enough to come out or get help, but it also means the waiting lists are getting longer. It’s a good thing our UK government care about the NHS, mental health and gender related illness.

That last bit was sarcasm.

For anyone interested, I have currently been listening to:

  • Don Broco – Priorities
  • Converge – The Dusk In Us
  • QOTSA – Villains
  • Aeges – Weightless
  • ’68 – Two Parts Viper

The Fifteen Minute Dragon.

When I was 8 years old sitting in my classroom at school, the school secretary (I think her name was Catherine, it will be for the sake of this post) came into the classroom and spoke to my teacher before instructing me to gather my stuff and come with her. I left the room where she told me calmly that my family wanted me to go into Bath to see them. I thought nothing of this request; it was an ordinary sunny day (July 14th 1998 to be precise), I had celebrated my dads birthday with him, my sister Leanne and her boyfriend Ollie a few days before and I was looking forward to lunchtime with my friends as always. I was too young to really wonder why I was being taken into Bath.

Catherine drove me in her car from my school in the village of Kilmersdon to the RUH in Bath, somewhere I had been only once or twice before. My oldest sister, Rachel, met me from the car and walked me to a bench by the entrance. She was crying. We sat there as she told me that our dad was going die, and probably die today. We went into the hospital to the ward where my dad was resting. I didn’t know this at the time, but he was rapidly losing a battle with cancer.

He lay in a bed, awake but motionless and unable to make much of an expression on his face. He was drinking by sucking water from a star shaped sponge that was wedged on the end of a straw. I had been to this ward a few days before to visit him; his smiling face showing signs of pain, but only through an overriding determination to smile at his son and daughters.

Time to back track just a bit. My parents had recently divorced, they were living in separate homes and my dad liked to go out and drink like any other middle aged man, maybe finding help or acceptance at the bottom of a bottle. After one night he decided to drive home and he crashed his car, apparently skidding on some ice. I later learned he was probably over the limit – DON’T drink and drive, even if it’s just you it affects initially, the ripples can last forever. Cancer can be triggered – fast – by any combination of events (smoking, bad diet, whatever); I learned in later years that the inevitable stress from the divorce, a (slight) decent into alcoholism and a car crash were likely triggers in my dads body and cancer had also killed his dad too so it was already in the bloodline. Back to July 14th now.

We stayed in the ward for about an hour, talking to each other and to medical staff who were passing. After lunch we returned where a doctor told us he had improved so I asked if he was going to live, I think this was the first time I’d really said anything. I still didn’t understand the gravity of what was happening. I wasn’t given a straight answer. That evening I went back to my mums house for dinner and to sleep and in the morning I started to prepare for another day of school. My dad made it through the night but died that morning, needless to say I didn’t go to school and we went straight back to the hospital.

Rachel was there again, along with Leanne and Ollie as well as my dads friends Dolly and Johnny who had driven up from Plymouth as soon as the news reached them. Turns out the plan was for me to go and stay with them (I fucking LOVED visiting Plymouth so I was fine with this) when we were done at the hospital. We all went to see my dad in his bed (now in a private room) where we stayed for some time talking before we left. We were half way out of the hospital when something triggered in me and I finally realised what was happening. I ran back to the room in tears and threw myself on his bed and cuddled him, kissed him once then left back into the corridor. I asked a nurse if she could walk me back to my family. I was at Dolly and Johnny’s house in Plymouth less than 3 hours later.

After a week I came home, just in time for my last day of school before the summer holidays. July 23rd, also my 9th birthday. I was happy to see my friends and teacher again and enjoyed my last day before summer. Two days later was the funeral, a room filled with my mums family (none of my dads family lived in the UK, they had a funeral of their own in Australia), and his friends and colleagues. I sat between my uncle Robin and cousin Bob (my choices) who both comforted me as Here Comes The Sun by The Beatles was played at the end of the service and a curtain was closed in front of his coffin. I stayed with old family friends that night, Crisp and Nora, who were like grandparents to my sisters and I. Loving, beautiful people who are now sadly long gone too. My life as a child is a blur from that evening, into what has now become normality for me. One year later we spread his ashes in a field and a stream just outside the village of Holcombe, the specific place is somewhere I have intended to but never visited since.

In the months between his crash and his death I would spend most of my weekends with him. We would walk to school (almost an hour walk together and probably why I love walking so much now) singing Harry Belafonte, Fats Domino and Neil Sedaka songs as we walked. We would go swimming on Saturday mornings. One day he stopped coming into pool with me and would watch from the side instead, as I showed off in the water. I knew something was wrong one day when I looked up and he wasn’t in his seat, but I still never knew he was ill. My family did a brilliant job of shadowing his sickness until it was absolutely necessary for me to know he was dying. I hated this for years after but have learned now that your parents and older siblings are there to help you create happy memories and will never let on to negativity to the family’s youngest.

Before he got sick he used to keep my sisters and I in a healthy supply of sweets and chocolate, taking us on tours of the Cadbury’s factory he worked in. We would play Vikings in the garden (whatever that was), make water slides with sheets of tarp and the garden hose and ride bikes together in a disused quarry nearby, a place I still visit today with friends sometimes.

I inherited the diary he wrote on the year he moved to the UK (he was about 21 or 22) and lots of letters between him and his family back home in India (before they moved to Australia). He drew me pictures and gave my birthday cards, all of which I still have, along with certificates of his qualifications and RAF credentials. I have some of his jewellery too, including a ring engraved with his initials that I am wearing on a necklace as I write this, on July 11th, his 76th birthday, 4 days away from the 19th anniversary of his death.

When I am reminded of him nowadays I am only ever filled with positivity, as I have inherited his ability to use happiness to overwhelm darkness, at least when I am thinking of him if nothing else. I can still see the pain in his face the last time I saw him alive but I can also see the happiness in him on the day he gave me my first bike or the day I completed one of his Easter Egg hunts in the garden.

‘It’s your life, do what you want with it’ is a phrase I’ve started using. I use it when people ask me “should I have a latte or a flat white?’ or ‘should I buy tickets to see *a band* in September?’ I mean the answer literally; if you want to see that band in September then buy tickets, worry about the money later. Grab life by the horns and all that shit, and make it your own. Make decisions to benefit those you love and for a cause you believe is right, but remember to look after yourself too because you are just as important. It is okay to put yourself first sometimes. Most importantly, make decisions that will allow you to build happy memories with people who you know will want to remember you when you are gone. Do things for people that you will be remembered for 19 years after you have gone, even if they are so small.

When I was young, he wrote me a story which I can assume he made up on the spot as I can’t find it anywhere on the internet. I can’t find the original anymore but it went something like this:

‘Once upon a time there was a fifteen minute dragon. When it was born it was so tiny that you would’ve been able to hold it in the palm of your hands. As it got older it grew and grew and grew until it was the biggest dragon you’d ever seen, full of colour and breathing flames as hot and bright as the sun. It kept on growing for a whole fifteen minutes until it couldn’t grow any more, and at the fifteenth minute it exploded in a ball of flame and colour then into a million shimmering dragonflies, each one fluttering and glimmering in the air. Now whenever you see a dragonfly you know it came from the fifteen minute dragon, the most beautiful creature to have ever lived.’

I used to love that story. I know now that he was my dragon.

dThis photo is from (I think…) 1977, a couple of years before my oldest sister was born.

Matilda.

I know I’d said I’d post regularly but sometimes I just don’t have anything to write about! Sorry about that. Here’s a few random little bits of writing to fill an otherwise impending gap…

Firstly, some identification spiel: Some gender fluid/gender neutral people don’t identify as transgender, some of them do. Some people who don’t identify as transgender but are GF/GN might be having medical treatment to help them achieve a physical goal. Some people do identify as transgender and GF but are not receiving any treatment. I identify as trans and GF and will (hopefully, provided I beat the NHS funding cuts) be receiving medical treatment to help me achieve a physical goal that matches what’s in my head.

I’ve read stuff/heard people say they’re confused by this, assuming that because I’m trans I want to have a full sex change. I do not. I am happy in a male body, although I don’t like identifying as one. The HRT I am waiting for will help with my physicality and allow me to identify more as a woman than a guy. I will still identify as GN because I’ll still have some days where I’m happy to just be a bloke but I’ll have more flexibility to be a woman too.

That kind of leads on this. I’m going to three Pride gatherings this month, the first in Bristol and the first time I’m strongly considering going out in full femme. I have been wearing (some) female clothes in public; heels, pencil skirts and leggings mostly as well as makeup (and my hair is nice and long now) but nothing particularly ‘risky’ or that reeeally identifies me as a girl, boobs and a bra for example. A friend of mine said to me the other day ‘you could just wear a really padded bra if you wanted to’ and while I know this, I haven’t had the guts to do it in public yet. I guess this weekend is gonna be a big step, Pride seems like the best place to bite bullet and go for it….!

Next, onto the why this post is named Matilda. I went away for a few days to London recently, my first trip away since I went public about being trans/GF last year. To most, this doesn’t sound like much of an ordeal – I was only going to London for three nights – but I packed twice as many clothes as a ‘normal’ person would because I can never predict what mood I’m going to be in(girl day/boy day), leading to never knowing what I want to wear. I also had to consider a girl outfit that would be suitable for throwing myself around on stage, the first time I’d have dressed like a girl particularly visibly (I ended up just wearing black leggings and a Gender Is Over top, ha). Anyway, all the guitars I own have names; Sadie, Bellatrix and Bronwyn but the guitar I took with me to use at the gig I was playing is called Matilda. The gig and the trip was another milestone for me, being able to dress comfortably and confidently in a town/place I don’t know and performing to a crowd on a girl day. Both of these things were successful, I even managed a girly shopping spree on Oxford Street. i didn’t use Matilda in the end but she was involved in this important weekend and I had to the call the blog something. Tom Traubert’s Blues by Tom Waits has also been on constant rotation recently, a song often mistakenly called Matilda.

A couple of weeks after this trip we had a heat wave and I started getting my legs out (without tights) in public. Thanks for the compliments. Without being bigheaded – I know my legs are fucking awesome and I flaunt them because I don’t have any boobs to show off and I’m a strong believer in working with what you’ve got, so legs and bum it is. But it seems that wearing a skirt and a bit of makeup to work doesn’t quite cover up the fact I’m a guy, combined with the un-education of older generations and the fact I have a fucking beard shadow that I would kill to get rid off (electrolysis can’t come soon enough) I still get addressed in ways I find plain offensive. ‘Alright geez’ from the same bloke on a number of occasions makes me want to punch someone. Yesterday I had a chap say ‘I was hoping to speak to the young lady I spoke to the other day about *insert product here* but you’re not a young lady are you’ despite being as close to femme as I can comfortably be. Doesn’t take a genius to see that a guy a dressed as a girl clearly doesn’t want to be a guy, surely…

So I end on a question. I work in retail, do I (and how should I if I did) correct these people in my place of work? I have the company I work for’s exquisite reputation to uphold but also my own integrity to maintain. Note – if this was in public, I’d correct them immediately, not caring if it started an argument or discussion, but that’s not something I’d be comfortable doing in my shop.

As always, thanks for reading. If you see me at Pride (Bristol, Bath and TransPride in Brighton) then say hello. I’ll be looking fucking FABULOUS, legs n all.

UPDATE: I never made it to Pride. Too many bullshit obstacles in my way. Better luck next time, I guess. 

😦

You can get Gender Is Over merch here: genderisover.com

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Long Live The Stag and Hounds. 

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week and I couldn’t let that go by without posting something, so here’s a post.
I had a gig last night with my band, Ghost Of The Avalanche, and it was a bitter sweet show because it was the last ever gig we will play at a venue in Bristol called The Stag and Hounds, as its closing down at the end of the month. We pulled out all the stops, got some friends on stage with us and did everything we could to give the place a proper send off in true Ghost Of The Avalanche fashion and needless to say (I think it was) it was a success.

Live music for me (and loads of people I know) is a way of escaping battles in your head. It is a safe place, a place of acceptance, a place you can let go, enjoy yourself and know you won’t be judged. I’ve met dozens of people at shows who’ve said they’ve struggled all week because of whatever is going on upstairs but the couple of hours they have watched bands playing at whatever gig I’m talking to them at has totally erased all those thoughts from their head. I know that feeling well myself, and getting home after a show knowing you’ve had a few hours of ‘down time’ is a feeling like no other.

The Stag and Hounds closing down is a fucking phenomenal blow to the UK underground music scene. The bands were ALWAYS good, the beer and food is decent and cheap, the staff, sound engineers and infamous promoters are all legendary and every punter in there (at least when I’ve been there) is there for the same reason, a love of live music. Seeing it close is hard, knowing it’s one less place that people like me have to go to as a place of safety, acceptance and escape.

Last night we played a song called ‘The Park’ which is about me dealing with anxiety. I introduced it with a speech; telling everyone in the crowd to look after themselves, be open with each other, talk to your friends about your battles, that it is okay to not be okay and to look after themselves and one another.

I’m writing this to echo what I said last night. This is me talking: I am sad that my favourite venue is closing. I am scared I won’t find the exact escape I get in those walls anywhere else but I am thankful I got to spend so much time there and now it is closing, I will hold memories in that place for as long as I have the capacity to remember them. I’ve met a fuck-ton of amazing people in that place too, some of whom have become jam-mates (if you read this, waddup Matt from DC, that was fucking good fun last night!) and best friends. I love you mad people!

If you supported my bands as I played there in any way, thank you.

Long fucking live The Stag and Hounds. 

Footage of the show can be found here: https://youtu.be/R1lELlJ8sIw

Photo credit: Simon Holiday

Bad Blood.

Today I had my first appointment at a gender identity clinic. A few people knew this and they all wanted to know how it went, so this post is is simply so I don’t have to repeat myself as well as explain a bit of what I want out of gender treatment.

So, today was like a prelim appointment before I see a specialist. I met with a volunteer at the clinic – an ex patient (lets call them J to maintain confidentiality) – and the session was a couple of hours long. It was for me ask questions and get direct answers (the internet is a dangerous place and everything I have learned from it was corrected in todays meeting) and also to give J the opportunity to explain exactly what the clinic can offer me and how everything works. These meetings essentially speed up the process when I see a doctor or a therapist as I (theoretically) will have already have had my questions and queries answered. My apologies about the excessive use of brackets, someone give me a grammar lesson!

So sometime towards the end of Summer my name will be ‘top of the list’ and I’ll be the next person to be assessed for gender dysphoria at that particular clinic (they do about two assessments a week i think). This will be done by a specialist doctor and a gender identity therapist who will hopefully officially diagnose me with the condition (although my GP has already informally diagnosed me, but then it’s pretty obvious I don’t want to solely be a guy any more, right?) and ‘suffers from gender dysphoria’ will go onto my medical record in some sort of medical record-esque way.

After this diagnosis I’ll basically then be offered a smorgasbord of treatments for me to pick and choose from with an end goal of (hopefully) my body matching what is going on in my head. I can have full surgical procedures to have bits added on or taken off (I’m not interested in surgery), HRT, laser treatment (to remove unwanted hair that HRT doesn’t take care of) and a number of other treatments. HRT and laser are my current wants; upping my production of oestrogen in an attempt to suppress production of testosterone is the normal ‘first treatment’ and will continue for the rest of my life. After that I can have anti-androgens to cease production of testosterone altogether which will render my reproductive organs more or less sexually useless as well as promoting the development of breast tissue and minimising other male characteristics like body hair, body odour and fat stores around my body.

Simply put, when I’m presented with these options, I’ll be jumping at having my beard tamed by laser treatment (it’s almost impossible to have it removed altogether) as well as taking the oestrogen boosters to minimise the ‘male drive’ in my system. If I start growing boobs while taking them then that’s a bonus in my eyes. I’ve wanted my own boobs for as long as I’ve been dressing as a girl.

That about sums up today and hopefully explains a bit more about what is happening in my head to anyone who is still trying to understand it. I have a ‘Gender Is Over’ pin badge which was on my jacket today and got masses of attention so I’ve added a picture of it along with a couple of other favourites of mine. A Google search of the slogan will direct you to their site (top result) where you can find out what it means, why it’s important and where you can buy one if you want one for yourself.

Timeline: I went to my GP saying I wanted a gender clinic referral in November 2015 and he put me in for blood tests immediately as you can’t be referred to a specialist without them. The initial test came back with a ‘prolactin spike’ (stress hormone in men and an indicator of thyroid or diabetes issues) so I was tested for all of these which took me to May 2016. I found out then I don’t have ‘bad blood’ (as my GP put it) and he processed my referral. This was accepted in June 2016 and I have been waiting since, until today (today was a volunteer meet and NOT something I had to have, I still have about four months to wait). You can do the maths; if you’re in the UK, want to see a gender clinic and your initial bloods come back okay you can expect to wait about 16 months, although this is expected to increase. I’m not getting into NHS politics.

Music: today was about 6 ours of traveling (I don’t drive so buses, trains and one of my best mates cars, Celine, were the rides of the day) so I listened to loads of music. For anyone who cares:

  • Russian Circles – Empros
  • Mastodon – Crack The Skye
  • The Dillinger Escape Plan – Dissociation
  • Every Time I Die – Low Teens
  • Baroness – Blue
  • MUTation – The Frankenstein Effect
  • Andrew Bird – Are You Serious

I also spent waaayy to much money in Topshop and New Look while I was waiting for a connection but I got a fucking stunning dress and some other little bits so I really don’t care.

Until next time 🙂

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Body Positivity.

I haven’t written anything on here for a while because I genuinely haven’t had anything to talk about, but sitting on my bed this morning deciding what to wear (today is a girl day and I went for crushed velvet leggings and one of me Gender is Over tops) I realised that there is bit of my story that I didn’t mention (I’m referencing blog three, by the way). It’s also something I’m glad I forgot to originally include because it’s given me the opportunity to expand on it.

During my late teens/early twenties when I was really starting to discover my interest in being gender neutral/fluid I was also part of a scene, just like anyone else alternative at that age. I’ve always been into heavy music and have always ‘worn the uniform’ of skinny jeans and black band t-shirts and there became a phase when MySpace was at its highest point of taking selfies for your MySpace profile, and they had to be taken at arms length or in the mirror with your emo-fringe hairsprayed across your face and as much of a pout as possible to show of your lip piercings if you had any. I fell right into this and took millions of photos just like everyone else to put on my own MySpace profile.

Now, this wasn’t exactly a thing I really enjoyed about my scene  – I did it because it was the fashion and I wanted to fit in, just like every one else – because I wasn’t ever happy with my appearance. This was when I started to buy girls clothes and creating a female wardrobe (the one I mentioned in blog three and never told anyone about) and I also used to take these MySpace-photos again when I was dressed as a girl but obviously never uploading them. It was something I never understood why I enjoyed doing but I did it none the less. When the selfie-taking phase died off and Facebook became a thing, I also stopped taking selfies and embraced the next social media trend along with everyone else. I didn’t however stop doing this when I was in ‘girl mode’ because it was a way I really felt I got to be myself.

Nowadays, I have a selfie stick and my Instagram feed has become more peppered with photos of me when I’m feeling particularly confident on a girl day, along with photos of guitars and other crap I enjoy. Although I have come out as GN/GF I still don’t totally dress how I would like to, certainly not publicly anyway.

I’m not trying to fool anyone when I’m dressed as a girl, I know I’m still biologically male – and I’m okay with that – and I’m not really bothered about being identified as one even though I’m dressed as a girl, although it is funny when friends of mine apologise for calling me ‘dude’ or something similar (seriously, I don’t care. Call me what you want!). Anyway, I’m still not totally happy with my appearance and the reason I am waiting for HRT is simply so I can attempt to get rid of my fucking facial hair without having to layer on make up, something which I hate doing, to help me pass as a girl when I want to, which is my ultimate goal.

When I get to this point I will ‘ramp up’ how I dress in public as I still don’t feel comfortable wearing some of the things I want to while my face is still unmistakably male. Although having just taken a break and made a cup of tea and read back that last sentence I feel like now I’ve just admitted to wanting to dress even more feminine that I might actually have the guts to do it, haha. See attached photo of me feeling particularly feminine a couple of weeks ago and yes, this is pretty much the ootd when I’m at home by myself…!

I’ll leave it at that for now, I’ll be posting again in a few days as I have my first appointment at a gender identity clinic very soon and I’m looking forward to writing about what happens there. It may be useful for anyone who’s thinking about getting help for similar issues to my own but doesn’t know how the system works in the UK.

If you are struggling with anything in your head I urge you to speak to your GP and ask for help. If they won’t help you, don’t take no for any answer and make another appointment. Chase up any referrals you get offered. I wouldn’t be going to the gender identity clinic myself if I hadn’t gone to my GP originally and the other people I know who are receiving help for various mental health issues wouldn’t be getting that help without seeing their own GPs either. I know it’s scary, but the help is there and it can only be accessed if YOU make the first step. So please, if you’re struggling, open your mouth.

Questions on this post – or any previous ones – are welcome and encouraged.

To the bloke who I was talking to in the pub last night about referencing your daughter in my third blog – if you read this, it was good to see you and I hope your hangover isn’t as bad as mine!IMG_2586