A-Z

H

Age at interview: 28
Brief Outline:

Gender: Male

Pronouns: He / him

More about me...

H is a 28 year old trans man. He says he didn’t understand trans identities when he was younger, but looking back now, how he felt “makes complete sense”. H says growing up he was always a “tomboy” so much so that his mum would say “oh it’s basically like I’ve got a son”. He used to pray before bed that when he woke up in the morning it would be in the correct body as a boy. However he didn’t have the vocabulary to express himself as trans. “there was no information about it then.”

It wasn’t until 2014 when H was able to do his own research on trans identities that he was able understand how he felt and who he was. H initially struggled to find a GP who was willing to help him during the long waiting time to be seen by the NHS. He tried looking into private healthcare options but found they were too experience. This led him down the path of self-medicating hormones. After some time he was able to negotiate an acceptable price to continue his care privately.

Eventually H was able to be seen by the NHS gender identity clinic and discussed top surgery options but has encountered many frustrating hurdles.

As a black trans man, H has experienced racist as well as transphobic discrimination in healthcare settings and at work. He describes how after a period of homelessness it was a challenge to secure a job and find someone “prepared to give me a chance”. He says as a trans person of colour he is less likely to be “seen as a human”.

However throughout the periods of struggle and rejection H says he was determined to “hold on” and hope for something better. He was determined not to “be another statistic for them” of trans suicides, “I have every right to have a good life as anyone else.”

H says that physically and emotionally hormone therapy has been “overwhelming” but overall “hormones have made me happier.” He particularly likes the voice changes and facial hair growth. He says “I feel more me now.”

H regrets not waiting taking the decision to preserve his fertility. He thinks having children and starting a family would be a nice thing to do.

H’s advice to others is to take control of their healthcare and check-up on their referrals.

 

H reflects on how he came to identify with a trans guy in an internet video.

H reflects on how he came to identify with a trans guy in an internet video.

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Ok so, it must have been around 2014. It was one of them things where it was just starting to be spoken about in the media, a little bit. At that point in time, I feel like I always knew because the word was being thrown around and there was a part of me that always avoided it. Obviously growing up there wasn't really much resources on it, but I think yeah 2014 was when it was starting to be spoken about in the media quite a lot. And yeah I remember just watching this, this clip of this guy just saying exactly how he felt and I was just literally like “Oh my god, this is actually me” and the fact that I started crying just told me at that point this is me and I need to do something about it.

 

H shares the story of coming out to his friends.

H shares the story of coming out to his friends.

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Ok so coming out story, ok what happened, so why has my mind gone blank. Ok so coming out, so yeah, it started basically when I was at uni, so this is around 2014 time, I was basically seeing this girl and at that time had bought a chest binder. So I remember one night we got like really drunk and I basically told her, I told her by lifting my, lifting up my top to reveal the binder. I remember I was crying a little bit. And yeah she was really supportive and she, the one thing she said to me was “I think that you should tell your friends because at this point, obviously I was away from home so obviously I felt comfortable telling her because she didn't really know like my friends. So anyways, I then told my best, my bestest friend from school, who I was still in contact with, cause like, sort of, that was, when did that happen so the next, so there was a little bit of a gap there before I told my friend. Because at this point in time, I think I was in a new, I was in a relationship with someone else, so I didn't kind of know what to say. But yeah I told my mate and yeah she was fine with it. And then I said about “how am I gonna tell my girlfriend at the time and she was kind of like, like sort of “go for it”. So yeah basically I told, I told my girlfriend and that time I think I built it up so much that when I told her she was like, “oh is that it?” Because I swear it was literally I was like “I need to tell you something” and I started this whole speech and then she started crying, I was like “why are you crying?” and then obviously after I told her she was like “oh, I thought you was going to say you cheated on me!” (laughs) so she, I think it was a bit of relief there but yeah she was fine with it and then she was the one who told me to tell my other, my other close friends. So yeah basically a few months later on one of my birthday's, I got all my close friends together, people that I trusted and I basically gave a speech and (laughs) me and my speeches it was so long-winded. I basically, you know built up to it. I think it was recorded at the time. There is, there is a video somewhere. Yeah basically, I told them the situation an yeah I was crying and everything and then they were like “oh is that it?” but then they were like “oh really proud of you” and things like they never saw me as a girl, they always saw me as a guy anyway so they were kind of like “it’s not shocking at all”. But I just remember the nerves, literally I was shaking everything and my mate, one of my friends was looking directly at me, really putting me off and she was kind of like “yeah what is it? What is it?” But no yeah it was such a relief when I got that out and obviously at that point I wasn't on the hormones or anything so I just said to them, “can you, obviously for now, can we keep it to ourselves? Obviously if you’re gonna tell, share it with people, please share it with people that we, that you know we all trust”. So yeah I think it was, it took about a year or so for me to get on the hormones and then I, what did I do? I then yeah, the following year when I finally decided on a name, I then had a name change ceremony, had like a couple of my closest friends signed the deed poll thing. And then I put it on, basically I put it on social media which got quite a lot of support, it was like maybe over 1000 likes. And people were sharing it saying they was proud of me and everything. So yeah that was, that was really really nice. But yeah, I told my family, basically told my mum, that didn't go well. But yeah that's my coming out story.

 

H talks about all the changes he would like to see for trans gender diverse young people at school.

H talks about all the changes he would like to see for trans gender diverse young people at school.

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Ok so obviously from my situation, I've never, I didn't grow up in that sort of scenario. So obviously I came out long after school. But I think what I'd say, a bit of advice is it just depends on the person. Just obviously have that open communication because not everyone will be as open as myself, especially kids. I mean actually kids these days they seem quite open from what I'm seeing and you know I really admire that because I wish I had the strength to do that when I was that age.

I mean obviously it's just about working together and you know respecting the boundaries. I mean there is, there is cases of you know people in the same-sex schools coming out as trans and obviously they can't change school. And you know it's just about making that person feel comfortable and you know just completely respecting that boundary. Because you know kids can be cruel but I feel like this generation they're a little bit lucky because even though you know it's still a bit it of a stigma at the moment for us older lot. I mean from what I know, you know kids are more, they're more open and more accepting these days.  So I think most people you know in the younger generations, they know of at least one person that's trans which is really good. That people are being open and you know more, more open to just speaking about it. Whereas you know it was a taboo before.

So yeah I think the main thing is just respecting that person's boundaries and you know with things like pronouns, things like that. Just give kids the space to kind of express themselves because you know there are people who have identified as trans and then they’ve either detransitioned or they've decided it’s not for them. So I mean a lot of the issues are not enough resources being available so providing education about, you know, not just obviously trans but the whole LGBT community as a whole. Because you know there’s a lot of parents who are you know, they’re stuck in the old ways and really against it. And I just think to myself, hold on a minute like this is real life, like why would you shield, the worst thing to do is to shield, try and shield someone from what is real life because this is when you get people who grow up a bit broken, you know ashamed to be who they are, which causes a lot of problems.

Like with myself, I can honestly and openly say that being suppressed you know for a long time has caused me a lot of problems. It causes a lot of problems in my adult life, in terms of how I am in relationships, you know just my sort of attitude towards things. So you know the best thing you can do is just let kids express themselves. Because at the end of the day they are you know their own person and you know it's a hard pill to swallow that one day these people are going to be adults, they're going to be adults. They are their own people so let people express themselves whether it's sexuality or gender. If they want to wear you know whatever clothes they want to wear or you know experiment with whoever they want to experiment.  Just let people do it, like I just don't understand why people have such a big problem about who people, you know who people romantically like or how people feel inside. But yeah it's just about kind of going at that person in particular’s pace and that applies not just to trans people but to all of the LGBT community as well.

 

H talks about his ‘excellent’ and ‘clued up’ current GP service and a previous GP where ‘I had to give him all the information’

H talks about his ‘excellent’ and ‘clued up’ current GP service and a previous GP where ‘I had to give him all the information’

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Ok yeah so since I've been in [city], you know what they've actually been excellent. Obviously, they're quite clued up on things. There's even trans staff member there, trans staff members there. But yeah they’re very welcoming and like you know, I do really feel like they care about me and anything that I ask, they always look into it. They're very supportive and very friendly. Obviously I have to go there on quite a regular basis for my shots because there's no way that I'd be able to do it myself, I'm too scared of needles. Every time I get it done I'm just like “yeah don't tell me when”. You think I've been used to it by now, but no (laugh). I don't think I'll ever get used to it. But yeah, this particular GP practice that I’m with, they are excellent. But in the past it hasn't always been like that in a different area. So when I first obviously came out I remember I went to the surgery where my uni was based. I told him the situation and I had to actually give him the information on what to do, like how to refer me. And he then said to me he needs to get back to me because he needs to do the research. So he didn't even have a clue what to do.

 

H talks about his experience of private healthcare and trying to get his GP practice to agree to shared care

H talks about his experience of private healthcare and trying to get his GP practice to agree to shared care

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So with shared care that's basically where if you have a private agreement then they can, they basically prescribe you with the hormones and then you're NHS GP will then, will then administer it for you. So yeah so basically I signed up to a private healthcare service. This service has received quite a lot of criticism within the media but my personal experience with them have been fantastic. I mean when I first joined with them, I wasn't in a really good financial situation so what happened there was they agreed to you know lower the price a little bit. But the issue that I was getting was getting the shared care agreement. So my original GP was like no, because he doesn't have experience with it and he's heard of that private healthcare service and obviously seen stuff in the media. So he wasn’t willing to work with them. But luckily one of the nurses she basically sort of stepped in and said that she was happy to sign that agreement. So yeah my personal experience with that private healthcare service was really good. They basically assessed me and obviously spoke to a psychiatrist etc. and then got signed off on the hormones. So basically everything that they pretty much do on the NHS, they done that but in a much shorter time period. So obviously the only issue with doing it like that is that you have to have the money to front first and then obviously you've got to continually like continuously pay for the service and for your hormones. So when I did get into financial crisis I wasn't able to afford my hormones which caused a lot of problems for me. But in terms of in terms of the service that I personally received from this particular private healthcare clinician it was fantastic. Obviously with the NHS it’s just, back then when I started, it was a case of my GP didn't have a clue what to do or you know where to even refer me to so it just shows how much, how little the NHS invests into the gender sector.

 

H talks about trying to get a bridging prescription with his GP

H talks about trying to get a bridging prescription with his GP

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So one of my friends, they managed to get a bridging prescription. Because they was in, they were having sort of a mental health crisis. And obviously their GP, because it literally depends on your GP, whether they’re clued up or not about it. They basically allowed them to do a bridging, the bridging process which is where they, while you are waiting to be seen, they basically prescribe you the hormones on the NHS. So my friend was lucky in that case. But when I brought that case to my GP, he literally was having none of it basically. So yeah it was it was tough but yeah hopefully things have changed by this point because we talking like, how many years ago now, we're talking about 6 years back, 5/6 years back. So hopefully things have changed for the better and you know more bridging prescriptions are happening because it’s obviously a really long wait for the gender clinic, especially since Covid.

 

H shares his experience of the process of NHS GIC appointments and trying to get signed off for hormones.

H shares his experience of the process of NHS GIC appointments and trying to get signed off for hormones.

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Ok so experiences of gender clinic, not been very great to be honest. As we all know, it takes a long long time to be seen. I think it took 4 years maybe 3 and half to 4 years from when I first ever went to the doctor's, from then till when I was first seen. Obviously in the beginning it was a case of having to wait a long time to get that referral through and then once, originally the waiting times for the gender clinic that I chose was 10 months. And this at the time when I was living in [county] the gender clinic I chose was in [city]. At the time I drove so I thought oh that's not too bad. But by the time I was seen I was then living in [city] and not driving anymore. So obviously for me it’s a 5 hour journey there. You've got to get like maybe 3 trains and a bus. So, and the thing is when they give you the appointment it's usually quite early. So I'd have to get up at like say four in the morning, like three/four in the morning to then get on one of the first trains to get there on time for my appointments. So it’s like what basically a 10 hour round trip. And yeah, the thing is they make you wait so long and then when you have your first appointment nothing gets done. They just basically get to know you. And I know that some gender clinics they basically have like a year to two year sort of gap between your first and second appointment. So you usually don't get prescribed until you get the first sign off, first signature. And then the second appointment then you've got to go for another appointment to get your second signature so you can actually start getting your hormone prescription. 

Now with my experience, when I was seen, I was already going privately and the thing is before I went private I was actually self-medicating and that was because due to the long wait and obviously lack of funds, basically one of my friends, they basically went from the gels to the injections so they basically gave me their left over gel. So I was doing that which is obviously very dangerous, never ever recommend it because I did have a funny turn with it. But yeah so by that point obviously when I met them I told them about my experience, like self-medicating and currently with a private clinic. So at that point I was kind of like can you just sign me off on these hormones. Because I'd been on hormones for I think maybe 2 years by that point, 2 to 3 years I think, yeah yeah roughly 2 years I think. So obviously by that point I had already had the changes and they could obviously see that and they could see how passionate I was. And it was just a case of at that point I was like, I really need those hormones. And at my first appointment they were kind of like “we can't expedite that we had to do it by the book”. But they said to me they will try and get me back in within the next 4 months. So I think maybe 2 months later I managed to get another appointment and then I've got my, they arranged for me to have both my signatures done in the same day. 

And obviously by this point now, cause I’ve got my signatures done and I came a long way. I was kinda like “ok can we start talking about top surgery. Because obviously by that point I had the changes, I was starting to masculinise, ok now I'm masculinising but I still got, you know I still got tits so I need them gone ASAP because it’s making me feel more dysphoric. So yeah basically the doctor at the time he said to me that it wasn’t possible to do, to sort of start talking about that within the same appointment. So I did leave there feeling really deflated and really frustrated. Because I went all that way just for them to sign a bit of paper, to sign off my hormones which obviously I was already on. And the difference would be that I don't have to pay for them privately anymore, I can just do the regular NHS prescription. So that was obviously a big weight off my shoulders and obviously I could get what I thought I'd get is more monitoring of my hormone levels. So anyways, yeah he basically kind of lied to get me out of the room. Just saying that the nurse that I'm about to see will deal with that for me.  So the nurse that I was seeing was just to basically get my sort of measurements and I think they might have took blood, it was like a full body examination and they basically said yeah they don't do the referrals. So obviously I left there really deflated. Because for my research it did say that with the pathway that you can do it in any order. So you don't necessarily have to, you don’t necessarily have to have hormones before you have your surgery, it depends on the patient. But obviously with my particular gender clinic, they’re very like by the book, they don't divert from what they deem to be the best pathway, the one-size-fits-all.

I've had issues, I've obviously put in complaints because I just feel like they just don't they don't really care enough. They don’t, they asked me before that appointment, before the appointment that I had to get the hormones to write a biography about how I feel and what I want for the future that, when I brought it in, that wasn't even looked at, it wasn't even read, it wasn't even discussed. It was just straight into my file. And yeah it's just been very disappointing. Basically my experience I've had two really really be one their case in terms of appointments and how I'm feeling, how distressed I’m feeling

 

H shares his experience of the process of NHS GIC appointments and trying to get signed off for top and bottom surgery.

H shares his experience of the process of NHS GIC appointments and trying to get signed off for top and bottom surgery.

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and then I finally did get an appointment to discuss the top surgery and get my sign off on it. But again, once again, from the day I had the appointment to when the thing was actually signed, it was maybe a month or so. So I left there thinking that the referral would be done within a week and when I contacted them it still hasn't been done. 


So what happened there was I had a date. So basically I then got a consultation with the hospital where I was due to have my surgery and they gave me a surgery date but unfortunately that originally date fell through because of Covid. So I was kind of left just to sort of take each day by day. Until one random day I got a phone call saying that they can do my surgery within the next 5 weeks. So my original date was meant to be in May 2020 and my actual date that I had it done was August, August the 28th I believe, 2020. And the thing that I always say is if they, if my gender clinic didn't sit on that referral for that month, I would have had my surgery before the Covid situation. So I do feel like my gender clinic does you know hold me back quite a lot. And obviously since I've had the top surgery, with me, because I want bottom surgery. Cause I’d said that from the beginning. I told them I wanted the full works. I had to once again be on the case to get an appointment to discuss the bottom surgery. But they were saying because of Covid they can't see anyone face to face.

Now obviously I'm in a Facebook group there were people who said that they were getting zoom calls to discuss their referrals. So I asked them about that, they told me they're not doing that anymore and yeah once again I had to really push for it. I managed to get an appointment and they have signed me off on the bottom surgery. But once again I went, when did I go, I went end of June, I think it was for that appointment. I saw both of the doctor's to get the sign off on that day. And then maybe a few months later, because I hadn't heard anything, I obviously checked in and it turned out that the, it wasn't signed until maybe a month later once again. So the thing is with this sort of thing a month is everything, a month can set you back years on the waiting list.

 

 

H reflects on transitioning as an adult and the missed opportunity of starting younger.

H reflects on transitioning as an adult and the missed opportunity of starting younger.

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so yeah. In terms of puberty blockers, I do think for you know trans teens and what not, you know if I was in that position that's something that I would want. I always say that if I could change anything, the one thing that I would change is doing this sooner. So obviously for me that's something that I would have, an option if it was available to me at the time would have done. And obviously with puberty blockers it suppresses basically just suppresses your puberty until you, until that person comes of age when they can decide if they want to, you know go on the hormone treatment. So I think you know for me personally I think it's a brilliant idea obviously it’s you know the scientists and everyone they’re still looking into it and whatnot and obviously so far it's been fine. It hasn't proven to have, to make any long-term damage or anything like that. But of course in the media they like to pretend it's something that it's not. But yeah I think they are, I think it's a brilliant idea and obviously if I personally had the chance to do it I would have I would have jumped on that. But yeah I mean I applaud any young trans person, trans teen who you know wants to go down this route. I think they are very brave very strong and you know I just think people should just you know think you know what it's it's their body at the end of the day and they have every right to if they're not comfortable in it, make that change. so yeah that's my take on keeper to blockers and puberty.

 

H describes the crisis in finding surgeons to perform bottom surgery for trans men

H describes the crisis in finding surgeons to perform bottom surgery for trans men

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And at the moment there's been a crisis in times of surgeons to do bottom surgery. At the moment, because there was a mess up with the NHS contracts with the surgeons to perform this type of operation. There are currently no surgeons in the UK at the moment that can do that surgery. So in terms of the waiting list, all the referrals are going to a NHS central hub so when they find a new vendor to perform these surgeries all the referrals will be sent to there. So at the moment no idea when that's going to be, they said that they would hopefully have it sorted by July this year and they obviously haven't got that sorted yet. So it just really is, it's a bit of a, it's a bit of a joke at the moment with what’s going on with the gender sector. Obviously with, in terms of the support from the gender clinic, don't really have much of that. I haven't really heard from them since my last appointment in June apart from when I, I messaged them to find out what’s going on with my referral but they, I don't think they're very supportive. And any complaints that I’ve made have not ever really been, you know, I don't feel my opinion has been taken seriously. All they've done at the end of it is maybe given me an appointment which would have been long overdue anyway. So yeah I just feel like they need to invest more and the people that they bring on into this sector they need to get people who actually genuinely care or put some sort of standards, you know, have some sort standards that are clear to everyone who works in this field because. I mean this is just my experience, of course there's probably people who have had a really good experience with their gender clinic. But this is just you know soley my experience, it hasn't been a great one. It's taken far too long to get round where I need to be. So from when I was first seen in 2019, I then had my surgery mid 2020 and obviously I'm still waiting to sort of have you know one consultation with the bottom surgery providers, which there are none of at the moment. So yeah it’s just a constant battle. I feel like it really is like a, they do play God with it a lot.  Because a lot of the times you hear them saying “ah everyone has to wait” “you're lucky to be seen” things like that. And I just think why should I feel lucky to be seen when you know I'm a, I'm a hard-working citizen, I pay my taxes, I pay my national insurance. You know this to me it's life-saving treatment and you know someone who has life-saving treatment, you know maybe transplant or whatnot or anything to relieve pain or you know. I can never see any of them doctors turn around and go, “you're lucky to be seen”, “you're lucky to be here” like “stop moaning” sort of thing. But yeah I just hope that in time things can get better because obviously I'm not just thinking about myself I'm thinking about people who come after me like obviously all of this put together has been really, has really affected my life and how I am having as an adult and you know my mental health as well. And there's been times when I’ve just said to them, “I don't know how much longer I can cope with it” because how long they take and a lack of empathy that they show. But yeah that's my experience with gender clinic.

 

H talks about the lack of mental health support while waiting to be seen by the gender identity services.

H talks about the lack of mental health support while waiting to be seen by the gender identity services.

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So in regards to supporting mental health, basically there is none. Well not any that's provided by the NHS. Like say for example, it doesn't come as part of your care package, so you have to, in terms of mental health you have to seek that on your own through like support groups. Like in [City] there's, there's a support group although I don't really, I have spoke to them here and there at times to do sort of focus groups but not ever sort of for the support. But they have been encouraging me, you know I'm free to join whenever. But yeah this is really important because obviously the wait, the long periods of waiting to just have your first ever appointment you would think surely they would do something to support you. So while your referral’s there, it would make sense to have some sort of psychological support because obviously without you being seen most of the time you know you're not able to you know get on with things, unless you can afford the private healthcare. So yeah I mean with mental health services, even when you do have access to you know, crisis, mental health and things like that they don't actually, they're not trained in this sort of thing. I had to use a sort of crisis mental health service, this was maybe 2018. So I had a bad turn and I’d just had enough and long story short they basically found me and I was in a assessment unit for a week. So when I was there they didn't really speak to me much, they asked me what was wrong and I said to them I didn't have access to my hormones. Because at the time I had lost my job and I couldn't afford my private healthcare. So I said to them, “would they be able to get me the hormones?” And they said that “they'll see”.  And when they couldn't, basically the next day they said “no they can't get it”, obviously that wasn't all my troubles at the time because I was homeless at the time as well. So they just kind of told me they couldn't get it and they just kicked me out. They just said “you are fine” and they just sort of kicked me out. But obviously you know there was more to it than just the hormone situation but even with that they couldn’t, there was nothing they could do to even access this type of thing, like this type of medication. They didn't have any sort of therapy which was relevant to what I was going through. So there definitely needs to be, you know a specialised service for trans people. Even just LGBT as well, like because obviously trans people are not the only people who go through, you know a hard time in terms of you know pressure from society and things like that. So yeah definitely there needs to be something done because you know they say that the highest rate of suicide is within trans people and it literally does not surprise me. Being, you know myself I've been in that low position. So yeah I can only hope for the future that they start really investing into this sort of thing and training people and I hope that people are you know in those positions are interested enough to specialise in it because it will make all the difference while you wait.

 

H feels that they are less likely to be ‘seen as a person’ as a trans person of colour.

H feels that they are less likely to be ‘seen as a person’ as a trans person of colour.

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So I always say being trans is one thing, but being black and trans is a totally different ball game.  You know I’ve experienced everything, racism, discrimination through jobs, through healthcare services. Even in [city], not my GP, just the A&E. The way they treat me, it's just unreal. It just feels like, you know they don't see me as a person, like everyone else.  I just always feel like I'm not allowed to have a bad day, I have to be perfect in order to be treated with respect I have to be perfect. If I do one thing wrong I am severely punished or I am treated extremely badly and that puts a lot of pressure on me and a lot of pressure on my mental health. And it also affects the way I see other people, like I try not to prejudge a situation but it's always in the back of my mind because of constant experiences. Even up to this year, constant experiences where I can see the other people have been treated differently to me. Like say for example, I went to A&E, this was this year. And basically, I'll cut the story short, I'm exempt from wearing a mask due to underlying health conditions and my anxiety. So at this point in time I just really wasn't in a great way. I was in there and I just kept, they just kept saying to me “We're not going to treat you if you do not wear mask”. And I said to them “I'm happy to wear a mask when I get up and and go one-on-one with the consultant etc. But while I'm waiting, I’m social distanced from other people, like I’m exempt from the mask”. And they kept on asking me, “why are you exempt from the mask?” They just basically just for some reason didn't believe that I could be exempt from a mask. So as a consequence, the security, basically I had security and police officers harassing me, around me, asking me “why am I exempt”? “they don't believe me” etc. And in the end, they said “I had to leave” so the nurse she came up to me with painkillers and she said to me “she's not treating me unless I wear a mask”. And obviously I stood my ground, I just said “At the end of the day, it's my right not to wear a mask because I'm exempt. You can check my file” I said, “I give you permission to check my file”. I had the exempt thing on my phone that you can download, I just didn't have the lanyard. So the government guidance says you don't have to have a lanyard, you can have the thing on your phone. You don't have to explain why you’re exempt. And you know in the end I was forcibly removed by the security for basically being exempt from a mask. And then what happened was after that, I sort of came back and I agreed to wear mask and what happened was when I went in I saw a young white girl with no mask because she was exempt. And what they had told me was even exempt people have to wear the mask. So of course, I you know, what else am I going to think? And after that whole incident I was treated really badly, the way I was spoken to was really bad and I was waiting over double the time that you're supposed to. And in the end I just ended up just going home because I literally couldn't take it anymore. That's how bad it was, I couldn't take it anymore. Baring in mind I was sent there by 111, so it got to that point where I just literally couldn't take the awful treatment. The way that people were speaking to me, the way that they was making me wait longer than everyone else. And yeah I did put in a complaint but of course nothing gets done about it. But they, you know from that incident they have apologised to me via email. But I said to them that I want to take it further and they said to me that they have kept the CCTV from when I was forcibly removed. So I want to take action but they said they've kept it but they haven't given it to me as of yet and this happened in maybe June time. So I'm trying still trying to pursue that now but this is an example of how I get treated differently to others when I go to certain places. It's apparently not possible for a young black man, I don't know whether they knew I was trans or not, but I don’t know, you know it's not possible for me to be exempt. But it's possible for a young white girl to be exempt.  And then for them to lie and say “Well every person who is exempt has to wear mask” to try and get me to wear a mask, it's just not great. So yeah it is hard, it is very hard but you know there's not much that I can do except for try and stay true to myself I guess. And anyone else feeling that just try to stay true to yourself because these people are really not worth it honestly.

 

H shares his message for other trans people struggling to get support from their families for religious and cultural reasons.

H shares his message for other trans people struggling to get support from their families for religious and cultural reasons.

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So yeah it's not easy, I've been through the works with it but you need to stay true to yourself. It's not easy because a lot of people and especially in the BAME community come from backgrounds of tradition and strong religious backgrounds and culture, so often this type of thing is not accepted. So my, I haven't spoken to my mum in coming up 5-years in March because obviously when I told her it, she was just kinda like “why do you want to do that? Why do you want to do that? And I just said to her, you know “speak to me when you're ready?” and I haven't heard from her since. And that for me has obviously been very very, it's been quite damaging in terms of, think about how much you grow within 5 years so you know I'm nearly 30 now, so yeah it is tough but you just have to appreciate the people around you. And you know, just remember you can't control other people, how other people act and other people's decisions but you can control how you react and how you get on with your life. So you know it is tough but you know we've got to keep going. Like, the best thing, the best thing that we can do, the best revenge is to live our lives to the fullest and let them watch on the sidelines. When we become our best people, when we become the best people that we can be, the people that were supposed to be they are going to sit there on the sidelines and not get to enjoy that with you. So don't worry about that, don't worry.

 

H says he was ‘desperate’ to start hormones and did not choose fertility preservation but ‘looking at it now I wish I did just sort it out’.

H says he was ‘desperate’ to start hormones and did not choose fertility preservation but ‘looking at it now I wish I did just sort it out’.

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Ok so in terms of fertility, so what they do is they ask you before they sign you off on the hormones if you, you know, “if you want children we need to sort out your fertility” etc. but obviously me being me obviously because of all the waiting and the rush I was kind of like, “no I don't really care at the moment, that's fine”. Now I completely regret that because although it's probably still possible to do, it's going to be, it's going to be a bit stressful. Because what they say is, in order to, in order to preserve your eggs you have to come off your hormones. So imagine how stressful that's going to be and obviously basically where I take a blocker, obviously there's not enough research around it to say this is definite. But the theory is, that it should pause the aging of your eggs. So hopefully when that time comes for me to, you know get that done which I need to do quite soon, hopefully we can get some good ones, some good ones that can be used later on for IVF situation. Because if not then that's it and I'll accept that because obviously it was my decision to you know not do it before when I was young and healthier and it's something that I’ll have to live with. But you know I can't sort of harp on that. In terms of, I mean at the moment I could potentially, technically I could potentially get pregnant and carry a baby but I don't think that's kind of, I don't think that's a bit of me at the moment where I am. I mean hats off to any trans guy that does that I think that's absolutely beautiful. I mean if I was with someone and it was the only option then of course I would 100% do it but there's no need for me to do it at the moment. And I mean that’s the one thing that they ask you not to do, because of course all of your body is just going through so much already. But yeah I would obviously recommend that anyone obviously thinking of doing a medical transition, no matter how you feel at the time, I think that you should make sure you look into your fertility options. Because later down the line, especially if you're young, when you're starting out, later down the line you never know how you're going to feel. Because even just recently literally just the other day I was talking to some girl from a dating app and she basically just asked about kids and stuff like that and you know I said to her, “it's a bit, it's not straightforward, it's not straightforward for myself”. And yeah I haven't really heard back from her since so. But I mean fair play because obviously she's around my age so 29, so of course she knows what she wants and obviously if she can't get that then there's no point in wasting each other's time. But it is sad, it is sad because I do feel like obviously I'm missing out on things. But at the same time, it is what it is, this is how it is. So you know I think it's one of those things where it's going to be a bit of a mission for me to get that sorted but I will eventually take the time to do it before of course I start having my bottom surgery stages done.

 

H describes media coverage of trans healthcare.

H describes media coverage of trans healthcare.

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Well, absolute, absolute bull shit. It’s a load of crap. It's just, it’s mainly anti-trans propaganda or even, even if they try and do something positive, most of the time, well from what  I’ve seen. Ok here and there, there has been really positive coverage about it and they have you know picked, you know good people to cover that. But in the early days they were not, you know they wasn't putting out the best interviews. So they wasn't really covering the reality of it, just one portion and you know exaggerated versions of things.  When we look on say digital media, if you look on the internet and look on digital media outlets, things on Facebook you've got a more real version of how trans people are and different subjects that they cover and things like that. So it's a bit more, you can get a bit more detail on it and that's in today's sort of times. But if you're looking at newspapers or if you're looking at BBC news or something like that, you're not going to get, you're not going to get the reality of it. They always get something and twist it or they interview someone and they twist their words or they edit it to follow the narrative. And you know it's not good and it's so dangerous, it's so so dangerous. As I said, I was speaking to some girl from a dating website, she didn't even, bearing in mind she's from [city] so you would think that she would have been fully clued up with it, nope she had never ever met a trans person before and she was asking me questions regarding it and obviously I've never heard back since. But it's a case of, if I hadn’t met that person in face-to-face then I know for a fact it would have been completely different experience for her.  So it's a case of, from what, and some of the things that she was saying she obviously had just got that from the media etc. so it is very dangerous, it's a very dangerous game but they play. And you know with me, I'm all about spreading the knowledge that's why I'm so open about it. I mean I've done an interview for Sky news and I had quite a few messages about it saying saying that I came across well I had like a producer messaged me and asked me to get involved with a drama series they wanted to produce as a consultant. So obviously I feel like I've done my part. I've done some of us justice in my interview. And you know people too often say to me like “oh my god, I wouldn't ever think that you was trans” or “I didn't believe in it before, but meeting you it's like this is real” etc. So it's kind of like that just goes to show what people are being fed in the media. That whole Always sanitary towels situation where they wanted to take off the logo to be more inclusive, the whole world went nuts about that, over the internet. Even people who was meant to be my friends, they were saying transphobic things because obviously the education is not there. And you know some people, don’t get me wrong, some people are ignorant anyway but it's the main root cause, is because the education is not there for a lot of people. And even myself I'm still learning about things and I've learnt from my experience and other people's experience. But obviously, you know, I was never taught about this at school and I think if people were taught about this as part of education then you know I feel like people would be, feel more comfortable and safe being themselves so yeah.

 

H’s message to trans youth is ‘just be unapologetically yourself’. He says ‘you do you, just life your best life’

H’s message to trans youth is ‘just be unapologetically yourself’. He says ‘you do you, just life your best life’

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I would say do you know what, just be yourself. Just be unapologetically yourself because at the end of the day who else can you be? It's hard, I'm not going to sit here and pretend that it's easy. I mean what makes things easier is the people you have around you. So some people have been lucky enough to have a really supportive, you know really supportive network around them. Maybe their location or their family and friends are very opening and accepting. And some people have had the complete opposite.

So you know I've had a bit of both and all you can do is be you because this is the life that, sadly this is what has happened you know. In order for you to have any chance of happiness you need to just go for it. Like it's a case of don't sell yourself short and the end of the day just be truthful to yourself and you know there's no harm in experimenting. There’s time, you've got time to make your mind up but it's a case of you know. I have a lot of friends who have said you know what I thought I was trans when I was younger but growing up I've become comfortable in my skin and that is absolutely fine. There’s people that go through this and then they detransition that's absolutely fine.

Everyone is entitled to their own journey, it's no one else's business what happens. You feel like you wanted that but you’ve changed your mind, you need to do whatever you can to keep yourself alive and well and happy.

And I think anyone who comes out about this and you know they're open about it from when they’re young hats off to you because it's something that I've never been able to do. I hid that part me for a very long time and I have spent the majority of my life unhappy and obviously the way that I've sort of turned out in my adult life I've still got a lot of work to do to feel even more comfortable with myself and to be the best person I can be.

If you start this from young by the time you get to my age you will be living the most fantastic life and you'll be fulfilling all of your dreams. But you need to, you need to be honest with yourself and you need to take those steps. It's scary, it's very scary but you know if people want to be upset about it like if family, if you feel like family and friends are going to be upset about it, oh well you can get new friends, you can choose your own family

. At the end of the day just make sure whatever you do, you are in a safe position to do so. So do not you no compromise your safety in any way. Obviously if you want to, if you feel like you're at the point to share it, confide in someone that you trust and then you can work on that you can build on that because you know it is, it's tough. Even people who’ve had a really good support network, it's a tough journey; physically, mentally, spiritually, everything. It's not easy, you don't just take hormones or have surgery and then bang you wake up and all your problems are solved. That is not the case, it’s not the case, it's not a case to escape your problems or to escape you know who you are. This is something that you do because this is who you actually are inside.

So please don't think that by doing all this all of your problems will be solved. Yes it can help but it's not going to solve every single issue that you have internally and around you ok but yeah you do you, just live your best life.

 

 

H talks about the lack of provision of surgeons capable of performing top surgery and the impact this is having.

H talks about the lack of provision of surgeons capable of performing top surgery and the impact this is having.

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So this is something that of course I am so passionate about. Just due to my awful, terrible experience and the fact that I'm still, I'm still going through this at this stage and I feel like I'm not able to live my full life yet until you know this final thing has been done for me. So it's a case of I know that with any luck I may be complete by 35. But imagine, imagine spending 35 or 36 years of your life miserable not being able to actually live it. Like it just is it's absolutely bizarre, so bizarre. And you know I can't understand why it takes so long for you know for people to get the treatment that they need. I mean even covid, I mean covid has slowed things down for a lot of people but there are things that can be done in order to keep the service moving. Like there's things like some of the consultations that you have, that can easily be done over zoom etc. So I don't understand why they're not making any efforts to find any sort of workaround the things. The truth is just because they generally do not care. They do not give a shit and it needs to change. It has to change because it's not humane to make people continue on like this. Like the recent fuckup with the bottom surgery now. There's people who are half done so imagine, imagine you've gone through years of all of this and you know you’ve decided to get the bottom surgery but you're half done, your genitals are half done. You're going around for years with half done. When I'd say half done, you've got like what a phallus and you've got no balls, you just got a phallus that you can't use and some people they can't even wee out of it. Some people can, some people can't, it’s a case of they’re walking around like that. Like imagine the impact on that person's mental health to obviously they was already waiting years to get to the next stage and then all of a sudden now finding out there's absolutely no surgeons in this country that can actually do the rest of their stages that they need. And then they have no idea when they going to sort it out. They actually told us, July this year, they were meant to find a new provider. Still not done, we’re in December. So it's a case of, imagine the mental health of these people, imagine just little things that you want to do so much as, you want to date someone or whatever. Now imagine having to every single time explain why you are half done. Like I don't understand how people can be left like this, it's not right. It's not right and it needs to be improved because it's, the thing is this is something that I am so passionate about it's hard for me to find the words because it really angers me as well. Because this is people's lives, like people's lives that are not being able to be lived just because other people in charge do not care. 

 

H says ‘the amount of waiting is absolutely ridiculous. He says ‘we need trans people in powerful positions because this can’t continue the way it is’

H says ‘the amount of waiting is absolutely ridiculous. He says ‘we need trans people in powerful positions because this can’t continue the way it is’

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And The amount of waiting is absolutely ridiculous. No other sector has to wait this long for anything, just to be seen. And on top of it they don't provide any mental health care. I don't know how that’s, I don't know how that's been allowed. It needs to change, it needs to improve. We need to have more gender clinics, we need to have more people trained in this. We need to have people who are trained that are actually passionate about this, that want to help, want to be there. Because the people are there right now they don't want to be there they don't care, they don't care about us, they don't want to be there. We need people who want to be there, we need trans people in these positions, we need trans people in powerful positions because this cannot continue the way it is. Like how is it that I have to wait until I'm late 30s may even 40 to live my life. Like it's very distressing, the fact I have to now go on for god knows how long like this. Obviously I've, you know I've masculinised, I've had my top surgery. Now obviously my issue is, I have to always explain myself to, you know when it comes to say dating or whatever, I have to explain myself. Or even just to use, just go to the toilet sometimes like obviously there's that luxury of when you’re a guy and you've got a penis like you can just wee anywhere, that convenience. Then it’s like, people like “oh just do that” don’t have to explain it. Why do I have to explain that? It needs to improve there's too many people who are not living their best life because of this and they need to get mental health people who are trained socially in this to help us while we wait. Because that's the least, that's the bare minimum that can be done to help while we're waiting for this stupid amount of time. But you know I have every hope that the more that I get involved with focus groups, with things like this, I just hope that you know there's that change, that change will come in slowly but surely. When more people start talking about it, when trans people start becoming influencers, when trans people start appearing on reality TV shows. All these things like that I do have the hope that these things will change for us but obviously we just have to be strong and hold on. But you know, the NHS they really need to buck up their ideas because the thing obviously that's personal to me at the moment is the bottom surgery. And I don't see why they can't give us the option to go abroad while they're waiting to get a new vendor because this is not a service. I'm a hard-working ciizen, I pay my taxes, I'm entitled to the treatment I need, just like every other person that walks into an NHS hospital etc. It's just wrong that you know that we're been denied that one thing that you know we're supposed to have. That sort of you know, is a human right, we're getting denied that you know. Just a good quality life that is literally it. So I just hope that you know someone out there can hear our experiences and have a bit of compassion and speak to those people in power and get this done for us because this, it can't continue like this, it can't.

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