I was at the supermarket when my mobile rang. Thinking it was my 16-year old I took it without even looking at the screen. An unknown voice said something I couldn’t make out over the noise that assaulted me from all around. Annoyed – how dare a stranger phone me? – I was about to cut off the conversation when I heard the words “gender clinic”.
Wait a minute. Gender clinic? Could this be true? Already?
It was true. They phoned to schedule an appointment. Oh, it’s still a ways off. Not until early December, but an appointment all the same. And what’s more: this year. No, I will not get started on T immediately. I won’t have any surgeries soon either. It doesn’t work that way. Not where I live.
I had my first appointment back in August. I was scared. I was thrilled. I needed that first screening to go well. Thankfully, it did go well and I went home relieved. I had secured myself a place on the waiting list.
Now, I’m nearing the bottom of the waiting list. My first real appointment has been scheduled. I’ll be entering what’s called the diagnostic phase. A psychologist will be turning me upside down and inside out and finally determine if it is indeed gender dysphoria that caused me all this pain for all these years.
I don’t look forward to this, and at the same time I do. I’ve seen so many therapists in my life, I’m tired of it. I’m in a place now where I’m relatively content with my life. Heck, I’m even happy – despite the dysphoria. There’s so many good things in my life that even the dysphoria can’t take away my happiness. Also, I found a strange kind of calm inside of me that moment when I finally realised I really am a man. Finally everything made sense. My whole life made sense.
So no, I don’t particularly want to go through the bad times again. Yet I know it is needed. It’s a necessary step in the process of becoming who I am, and that’s why I’m looking forward to it. I want to become me. Liam.
I want to finally have that nice deep voice. Not that I don’t like my current voice. It’s a lovely voice – for a woman. It just never felt quite right to me. All these years, even when I dreamt of going to the conservatory and become a classical singer, I knew I was supposed to have a different voice. A man’s voice. I was even stupid enough to mention it once. It earned me years of ridicule.
I want to finally have a decent amount of hair on my arms and legs, like my dad. Now, my dad isn’t a very hairy man by any means, but I’ve always loved the soft fur on his arms. As a child, I used to think I’d grow just as much hair on my arms and legs as him. As a teenager, I was disappointed. As a young adult, I even shaved my legs once or twice – and hated it. I never did it again, and nothing anyone said could sway me. I wanted more hair. Not less.
Although I may never be able to grow a proper beard (my dad can’t), I still want the stubble. Even though it means I’ll be spending more time in the bathroom each morning than I do now. I’ll take that inconveniece over female peach fuss any day.
I might eventually go bald, like my dad. That’s not something I’m looking forward to, but hey, there’s worse than going bald. Even at age eighty, Dad is still a handsome man. I want to be like him, even if it means going bald.
All of this is not going to happen overnight. It’s not even going to happen anytime soon yet. The diagnostic phase alone is going to take six months or more. No T until after that. No surgeries either. And I’m OK with that.
Or at least, that’s what I keep telling myself.