Finally, after 18-and-a-half months of waiting, I have my letter from Nottingham GIC – my golden ticket to a six-month gender clinic process and then (hopefully, please!) my passport to estrogen HRT for the rest of my life. Wow!
With all the hassle from the Mumsnet TERFs over the past few days, I needed some positivity in my life. I’ve had quite enough of their wretched prose to last me a lifetime. I’m not sure which is more poisonous – their vile words or the testosterone that’s been pumping through my body for the past 30 years.
Anyway, today I finally got some news. On hearing the letterbox go, I rushed downstairs as I have every day for the past few months, hoping that it would be good news from the postman.
Two letters on the doormat – one a bank statement and the other a letter. No NHS postmark in the top right corner, though. And it was addressed to “Mr” My Surname rather than “Mx”.
So, thinking it was just probably a letter about my car insurance, I opened it up. And then I saw that beautiful blue and white NHS logo, shining like sapphires and diamonds. Below it were the words “Nottingham Centre for Transgender Health”. My heart leapt!
Here’s the letter:
So there you have it. It wasn’t quite what I was expecting. I’d been given to understand that these letters invited you along on a certain date – and came with a form to fill in.
But there was no form – just the invitation to call the centre – and the depressing news that the waiting list is now almost two years. Remember, I was told four months when referred back in September 2015.
I wonder why some people are choosing not to attend their appointments. I can only assume that their gender dysphoria is so painful that they’ve had to go private.
Needless to say, I got on the phone straight away. I wondered if a number of these letters had been sent out and that loads of trans people would be doing the same thing, snapping up the appointments.
It was engaged. So I tried again. And again. And again. It sounded a bit like this:
Finally, after about 10 attempts, I got through. I spoke to a lovely, friendly lady and explained about the letter – and how shocked I was that the waiting list was now almost two years (I’d last been told “in excess of 18 months”).
“Oooh, I know! I know!” she replied. She sounded a bit like Sybil Fawlty. “I’m gong to look for your file. I won’t be a minute.”
I was placed on hold for a few moments. Music playing.
“Thank you for holding.”
Then she told me there were three appointments available (yay!) on June 6th (boo!) I asked if there was anything sooner. She found one on June 1st.
Anything in April or May, I asked? There was – Wednesday, May 31st, at 2pm, seeing Mrs Robbins-Cherry. That was the earliest appointment available. I snapped it up like a hungry dog being offered some really, really tasty sausages.
So more waiting – another two-and-a-bit months – but at least I have a date in the diary to look forward to now. That’s far better than being in limbo, which is what it’s been like for the past year and a half.
I also asked about using my female rather than my male name – but was told that could only be done with a Deed Poll certificate. Fair enough for the wider NHS, but I thought a gender clinic might make an exception.
Apparently not. Never mind – I’m not that bothered. She did agree to change my title from Mr to Mx, though.
I’ve just Googled Mrs Robbins-Cherry, and here’s what the clinic’s website states:
Sally has been working in gender clinics for 6 years. She joined the Nottingham clinic in 2010. She is a psychotherapist and has undertaken post graduate training in couple and group psychotherapy. She is an accredited member and supervisor of the College of Sexual and Relationship Therapists (COSRT), and is also registered with the United Kingdom Council of Psychotherapy (UKCP).
Couple psychotherapy – could have done with her when Georgie and I were looking at counselling. Ah well. Too late now.
I actually read a blog about someone else’s first appointment at Nottingham a few days ago. That was also with Mrs Robbins-Cherry and was very positive, so I’m really happy I’ve got the same person. You can read that testimonial here. The writer also appears to be non-binary (well, agender), so even better that they reported a positive experience.
So there we go. The waiting is almost over, and that feels wonderful. That means I could be on HRT by the end of the year. What a wonderful Christmas present that would be – better than the shiny Raleigh bike I had as a kid – better than my noisy ghetto blaster in 1985, better even than my huge telescope 30 years later.
Bring on May 31st – it’s almost time to reach for the stars, spread my wings and fly.