Here in the UK, the Women & Equalities Select Committee (a government thing) has been conducting an inquiry into trans* issues for around six months. Last week, they published their much-anticipated report on their findings and their recommendations. Rumours had already abounded regarding the recommendations their report was likely to make, and it turns out most of the rumours were true.
So, maybe life will get a little easier for trans* people over here, if any of those recommendations are taken forward by the government. I certainly hope so.
I spent a couple of hours yesterday, reading through the report from start to finish. It took a while because it was lengthy, but they seem to have covered most of the things I was expecting, such as how the National Health Service is failing us, and in fact, discriminating against us, how the Prison Service needs to be reformed, how education - in schools, colleges, universities, the NHS, the government departments - everywhere, basically - has to improve. How non-binary people are discriminated against in ways that are just too heartless for me to find the words.
Most of their recommendations are sensible, long-overdue, and not difficult to implement. Other countries have already implemented such simple changes as self-determination of gender identity, making the processes in England (and Wales to some extent) outdated and discriminatory.
Currently, as the process stands here, I will have to wait 17 months for my initial appointment at the Gender Identity Clinic that I've been referred to, rather than the required maximum waiting time for any NHS appointment of 18 weeks. Once I finally get to see someone at that GIC, I then have an assessment process that will take between three and six months, after which someone will decide whether I have 'gender dysphoria' and am in fact transgender, as I claim to be. They will decide that - not me - and their decision will determine whether I get any treatment. That means, time elapsed could be close to two years before someone tells me whether I'm a good candidate for testosterone treatment. Then, as I understand it, they will suggest to me that - if I am hoping for any kind of surgery - I should try living 'in role' so that I can prepare myself for how it will feel to be 'male' for the rest of my life.
I believe I know what it feels like to be male. That's the whole point! And I've been living as male for a f'kin long time already! I may have only 'officially' changed my name last November, but what's a name anyway? I could have chosen a gender neutral name if I'd wanted to. And, at the moment, while I'm already dressing in my male clothing, with my male haircut, and my male mannerisms and my male name, I wonder if I should have done that - chosen a gender neutral name. Because I know what people see when they look at me. Because I can still see it, too. I have a female face. I look like a drag king. Or maybe I look like a butch lesbian. Or perhaps, to some people, I look androgynous. I don't know. But what I do know is that I'm actually getting more anxious now, knowing that I am on a waiting list and that it's such a f'kin long wait. My 'dysphoria' (I hate that word!) has actually become worse as I think about how far away that appointment is. I spent a chunk of time yesterday looking online for what I know is illegal T. And looking for the so-called 'natural' alternatives to T. I need to do something. I can't wait two years.
Dammit! What started out as a fairly positive post ended up as a miserable one. I'm sorry. My original purpose when I started to write this was to say how pleased I was after reading the Inquiry report. How optimistic it had made me feel. How, I had started to think that, by the time I do get to see someone in the GIC, the laws may have changed, or the waiting lists may have shrunk. Or that the government and the medical profession might have actually stopped thinking of 'gender dysphoria' as a mental illness. I'm not mentally ill. I'm certainly not mentally unstable. My problem is that I have the wrong sex organs, that's all.