A little update a few hours ahead of my second gender clinic appointment. Deed Poll – signed. Sperm – frozen (twice). Finasteride – prescribed. Time spent en femme in Birmingham and Sheffield – hours and hours. So much done but still so much to do!
So yeah, usual apologies, dear reader, for not updating the blog for a while. I’ve been SUPER busy with work. Deadlines, deadlines, ya know. But all out the way now and 15 hours before my second gender clinic appointment, I thought I’d better write an update.
So the Deed Poll is done – I’ve blogged about this already. My name is legally Andie Nell Surname. Hoorah! The only downside is that I’ve not told any of the authorities I need to about this. I have been insanely busy with work but, now my deadline is out of the way, that’s something I’m gonna spend the next couple of weeks sorting out.
Sperm – all frozen! I’ve already written about my first sample. The second was much the same. There was a slightly larger sample but the motility was down at 11% – on the low side but the people at the QMC are really happy that we’ve got some great sperm with which to do the IVF thang. Hoorah!
Also the accompanying blood test shows I’m not HIV Positive (always a bonus) and ditto for Hepatitis, though I’ve no idea if that’s A, B or C, X, Y or Z.
Some new news is that I’ve been prescribed Finasteride to stop my male pattern hair loss – and hopefully reverse it – at long, long last.
I said at my first GIC meeting that I’d like to begin taking the drug – but was told that the clinic would not prescribe it and that I’d need to go through my GP.
I’ve since been told by other trans people that they have been prescribed it by their clinics. It appears that there’s a bit of postcode lottery going on, and Nottingham isn’t playing ball.
So I made an appointment with my GP, who said she couldn’t prescribe it routinely but that she’d make some enquiries and get back to me. A couple of weeks later, she said the local prescribing committee in my area had blacklisted the drug for male pattern badlness – but that she’d make some more inquiries due to me being trans.
Another few weeks later, I had another appointment with a different GP. He said that he could not prescribe it through the NHS – due to the blacklisting – but he was willing to do so on a private prescription. So I now have a month’s supply of little blue pills (5mg once a day – a high dose). If all’s well after a month, I’ll get it on repeat prescription.
Having a private prescription can be tricky. It basically means you pay for the cost of the drug – and I’ve heard tell of trans people paying £40 for a month’s supply online.
Thankfully, Finasteride is a cheaper drug, and it only cost me £4.50 for a month’s worth. Not bad when an NHS prescription is almost double that.
Finasteride is only on the blacklist for male pattern hairloss because it’s intended use was to help guys with prostate trouble. Stopping and reversing the hair loss was and is a side effect of the drug.
For me, keeping my prostate healthy could be a healthy side effect – my dad has had prostate trouble for years – loads of pills and two lots of surgery – and his dad died of prostate cancer. So if this little blue pill can save me from all that heartache, then that’s great.
I’ve also been spending a lot more time “en femme”, to quote a phrase. Last weekend, I went to a music festival in Birmingham with Annie. We got ready (lacy top, mini skirt) at the hotel and headed down to the Digbeth Instititute at about 4pm.
Broad daylight, busy city, people everywhere. I was incredibly nervous about being outed and shoued at. But we got a taxi there (and got called “ladies”) and there were no issues.
We were out for about 12 hours and I didn’t get one funny look. I queued for the ladies with the other girls, reapplied my lippy with them in there and nobody died. Nobody knew. I think I look pretty good when dressed up – but I can still see a male face under all the makeup. But I don’t think most other people can, which really gives me confidence.
After all the bands (Sleeper, Space, Bluetones, Dodgy) finished, we danced at the after-show disco. A guy came up to me and said I was in his top seven girls of all time. Annie was top ten. HA! :o)
And then we went for a curry. And nobody batted an eyelid. The more time I spend out as my true self, the more I like it and the more confident I get.
We went to see Regina Spektor a few days later at Sheffield City Hall. And we went for drinks in a pub beforehand. I ordered my round from the barman and he hadn’t got an inkling. At the venue itself, I asked one of the staff where the loos were and she directed me to the ladies’.
My voice is hardly feminine, but then I guess some cis women have deeper voices, too.
And you have to love the ladies’! Go in the gents and there’s piss on the floor and men who wouldn’t dare speak to each other in there. Its dark and gloomy, it stinks. Most guys don’t even wash their hands.
Go to the ladies’ and it’s a place full of joy. At Birmingham, Annie was chatting with other girls in there, plaiting their hair, laughing and joking. Sheffield was the same. Oh, and girls share the same cubicle. Don’t quite get that one, but I was all for trying it out!
And now here we are a few hours ahead of my second gender clinic appointment. Last time, I was pretty nervous, and I certainly didn’t feel happy at the end of it. Sally asked lots of awkward questions.
But now I can see that she was just doing her job and I have spent the past two-and-a-bit months thinking about what she said: “What do you really want from this process?”
She’d told me that it would be “highly unusual” for the clinic to prescribe HRT to someone like me – someone non-binary who wanted to present as male some of the time (mainly at the football) and female at other times.
Since then, I’ve asked myself why I wouldn’t be happy presenting as female all the time. And the only answer is that I’d be worried what people might think.
I now realise that I can go out there and not get stared at, which gives me confidence. The people who might not approve came into two categories: football fans and work.
The football fans don’t matter. Most of them will be fine – and those who aren’t can just “do one”. They’re not a good enough reason to hide away from my true self.
And work has gone really well. I’ve told loads of my contacts, and everyone has been totally supportive. And my business networking appointment with Steve Judge is in the diary.
I’m pretty nervous about that – but then I’m pretty nervous about networking anyway. I just need to get a killer skirt suit and smash it! Getting out of my comfort zone is important.
Other than that, I’m counting down the days until I spend a week with Annie in Santorini, Greece. I’m going to spend the whole week en femme – even at the airport with my bloke passport (“transgender” in Greek is “transgender” – I’ll answer any awkward questions) and I can’t bloody wait.
There’s still a lot to do – I still need to “come out” on Facebook, to update all the authorities with me new name and to keep telling work contacts.
But I’ve made a lots of progress made since that last GIC appointment, and I’m really not concerned about the one later today. Needless to say, I shall write about how it went right here.
Wish me luck – but I don’t think I’ll need it!