So my seemingly flawless plan to game the system and get access to hormones early has completely backfired. When I first went to see my GP about transition, she informed me that it could be up to two years before I’d get an appointment with a counsellor and from there perhaps an additional two years before I’d get access to hormones. Nervous about transferring universities and wanting to begin hormone therapy before I graduated, I realised I could get my diagnosis privately and then get the hormones on the NHS. Though it was a high upfront cost, since then I’ve been managing to keep up with the costs of the bi-yearly consultations and was about ready to ask if I could get a referral from my private consultant to the NHS for SRS.
This is where the whole thing fell apart.
I was informed that private consultants were not allowed to refer patients to the NHS for SRS and, worse, that if I wanted to get the surgery on the NHS I would have to go through the whole transition process from the beginning. My face fell when my doctor told me that, with current waiting times, that could take up to 7 years.
To put this in perspective, I am 22 years old, turning 23 in the summer. If I tried to get this surgery on the NHS I might not be able to until I’m 30 years old. That’s my Master’s, my PhD and my first teaching jobs gone whilst feeling uncomfortable in my body. That’s dozens of potential relationships ruined by my inability to connect sexually with partners. That’s almost a decade of my life lost to feeling completely isolated and disconnected from my body, to add to the two decades I’ve already lost. I cannot wait 7 years. I just can’t.
The private option is not much better. £11500 is the rough figure that my consultant gave me; taking into account appointments with psychiatrists, consultations with surgeons and the actual surgery cost itself. To put that in perspective, I currently have -£1200 in my back account and I’m giddy about the fact that I’m being paid £150 at the end of this week. £11500 is about half of what my mum makes in a year, so my parents certainly can’t afford to help me. SRS – the one thing I knew I wanted when I started my transition, couldn’t feel further away.
That is, until I realised that crowd funding is a thing and there a lot of people out there who would be sympathetic to my cause. I’ve started an Indiegogo campaign to raise the money I need for my surgery. I’m not sure if it’ll be successful, but I’m getting a rush just from the social experiment. I have 60 days to meet the funding goal, and I will be recording personalised songs for everybody who contributes.
If you’d like to be one of those incredibly lovely people, you can donate here at Indiegogo.
Matilda Carter is the Perspectives section editor for The Norwich Radical. This piece was originally published on Matilda Carter’s blog.