Noelle

Gender: Female
Pronouns: She/her

Noelle is a trans woman. She came out as trans while learning about trans identities and meeting trans people as a young adult which fitted with how she felt about herself.

Although she dressed in feminine clothes, wigs and make up at home she didn’t feel comfortable going outside in feminine clothes. Passing was very important to her and she didn’t change how she dressed in public until several months after taking hormones when she physically started to look more feminine.

Noelle experienced delays in referral to the GIC because her GP mistakenly thought she needed a psychiatric assessment before being referred which is no longer a requirement for referral to NHS trans healthcare services.

The waiting list for GIC was many years and her mental health was deteriorating. Private gender care was too expensive and there were no GPs who did shared care agreements in her area. She felt her only choice was to self-medicate. She researched extensively about female hormones, but it was still intimidating and worrisome taking them at first. Breast development was the first thing she noticed followed by change in body odour, gradual skin changes and change in fat distribution.

Laser hair removal and voice therapy have been important to her to help her confidence. She attended group voice therapy but preferred practicing daily exercises at home recommended by healthcare professionals.

She is frustrated by the bureaucracy of government policy on trans healthcare and waiting and delays at GICs and would like to see more trans healthcare placed within general practice through an informed consent model. She would like GPs is to be up to date on the latest guidance for trans healthcare processes and to be able to prescribe bridging hormones.

She thinks the first priority for young trans people should be to create a support network around them whether online, friends, family or LGBT groups which can support them when taking steps towards their transition.

Noelle says traditional therapy isn’t really well equipped to deal with gender dysphoria.

Age at interview 23

Noelle talks about her GP not allowing a referral to the gender identity services without seeing a psychiatrist.

Age at interview 23

Noelle says they got their hormones from an online pharmacy: it didn’t feel like I had a choice, my mental health would have just kept falling and falling.

Age at interview 23

Noelle describes the physical and emotional changes she experienced with feminising hormone therapy.

Age at interview 23

Noelle suggests ways GPs can support their trans patients.

Age at interview 23

Noelle shares her understanding of informed consent in trans healthcare.

Age at interview 23

Noelle talks about her experience of voice therapy learning about it on the internet through forums.

Age at interview 23