Well, actually, yes, it probably should be

Trans life: getting help from a gender clinic shouldn’t be a waiting game

It is a fairly large decision and a bit of time for rumination isn’t a bad idea.

23 thoughts on “Well, actually, yes, it probably should be”

  1. And as the head shrink at the Mayo Clinic has said “we don’t indulge the delusions of schizophrenics, so why do we treat perceptions of transgenderism differently?”

  2. My first tattoo was done by Terry’s in Glasgow. They had a policy (and probably still have) of not making appointments. You had to turn up on spec and queue, usually for a couple of hours. While you were queuing, various other people would turn up, queue for a bit, then change their minds and leave. Very sensible policy, I thought.

  3. “What’s the average NHS waiting period for elective surgery these days?”

    On a related note, what’s the waiting time for cataract surgery on the NHS?

    Colleague’s father is waiting for one at the moment. I seem to recall that mobile surgical units paid for by charity were able to rattle through 10s of people a day in sub-Saharan Africa. Could the same principle be applied here?

  4. > as Green MP Caroline Lucas has called for

    What? How the fuck is a sex change good for the environment? Considering some of the things the Greens want us to stop doing, I’m astounded they haven’t decided this is a waste of resources.

  5. Typical Guardian. Obsessing about an issue which affects a tiny fraction of the population. I’m sure if they had their way though we’d all have to go to a gender clinic once a year to make sure we had the correct assignment.

  6. When can I get race reassignment surgery? Reading stuff like this, I really want to let my inner Yanomami tribesperson out. Any homicide will be culturally justifiable.

  7. There already is a (long) waiting period between assessment and surgery. You have to live full-time on hormones without your bits changed for a year before they’ll do the surgery.

    This the waiting period just to see someone who will decide whether you should get the hormones or not. And it’s three years, because there aren’t enough assessors. Then you get a chunk of time to think about it before you get the hormones.

    Most of the trans people I know started out on grey-market hormones until the NHS caught up with them and they went onto prescription. Of course, they’re the middle-class sort who could afford it. Watching them stop being suicidal and discovering that they weren’t actually depressive loons is what convinced me that this was a good idea.

    The surgery – which (unlike hormones) is irreversible, and which most trans people feel is much less important than the hormones – should have a significant waiting period. But making someone wait three years for hormones is cruel.

  8. Richard Gadsden

    “Most of the trans people I know”

    You either know thousands, upon thousands of people, hang around in strange circles, or you’re exaggerating, for you to be able to divide the trans people you know into separate categories. Which is it?

  9. This is just the waiting time to get a first appointment to discuss the matter with a ‘specialist’ following a GP referral – assuming the GP doesn’t just laugh you out of the surgery.

    There is nothing about the process which is rushed whether it is that initial referral, getting a prescription for the hormones, the real-life test or any surgeries. You are usually looking at a minimum of two years from start (that referral appointment) to finish (surgery).

    That the sole NHS clinic catering for London and the South East occasionally tries to shut down the sole private-only provider covering the same area doesn’t help matters.

    As for the costs argument, the NHS will (eventually) pay for surgeries such as GRS (should it be wanted – and wanted in this country) but not much else without a fight. For those transitioning from male to female the surgery cost, including hospital time during the recovery, is approximately £15k.

    Hair removal (for MtFs) is the second most expensive part of the process and that is generally funded by the patient.

  10. Hey, Clarissa.

    > For those transitioning from male to female the surgery cost, including hospital time during the recovery, is approximately £15k.

    Blimey. Considering what’s involved, I have to say I’m surprised at how cheap that is.

    (Nice to meet you t’other day, by the way.)

  11. Unless the “transitioner” has regular periods(accompanied by cramps and the embarassment of blood seeping past tampons), worries about the risk of pregnancy vs demerits of different types of contraception and is subject to hormonal cycles, all that chemical manipulation and surgical improvisation achieve is a simulacrum of feminity. I don’t dispute anyone’s rights to modify their appearance but don’t expect me to believe that they have become a member of the opposite sex; to do so trivialises biology and reduces the notion of womanhood to a hole in one’s genitalia. I should no more be expected to pay for it with my taxes than if they wanted to cover themselves in tattoos.

  12. Aye, it’s not an expensive op. Because of this, the small number of UK surgeons (2 last I knew – and not their specialty) who will undertake it and the waiting time, it is also one that is subject to medical tourism… with Thailand and North America being popular destinations.

    (Nice to meet you as well.)

  13. Merge all gender clinics with mental health clinics. Let charities funded by the “trans community” fund gender reassignment surgery, not the NHS.

  14. The one MtF transgender person I know went to Canada.

    Interestingly, one of my other colleagues wife’s main line of business is as a combat beautician doing the laser hair removal stuff.

  15. Ten years ago, an American academic named J. Michael Bailey got himself into a very great deal of hot water for suggesting that transsexualism is an expression of male narcissism. Like all righr-thinking people, I was appropriately appalled by this suggestion.

    Scroll forward a few years, to a corporate canteen on an industrial estate in South Lanarkshire. A man is reading Jan Morris’s book, ‘Contact!’ at lunchtime. He reads of the erstwhile James Morris’s preparations for the gender realignment surgery they underwent in Tangier in 1972, and the last words Morris recalls saying to their previous self in the bathroom mirror-

    ‘Goodnight, sweet prince’.

    The poor bloke in Lanarkshire nearly choked on his sandwich.

  16. So Much for Subtlety

    Martin – “Ten years ago, an American academic named J. Michael Bailey got himself into a very great deal of hot water for suggesting that transsexualism is an expression of male narcissism. Like all righr-thinking people, I was appropriately appalled by this suggestion.”

    Well not quite all right thinking people:

    He also wrote The Man Who Would Be Queen, which has elicited reactions ranging from strong criticism to a nomination for an award, later retracted,[4] from the Lambda Literary Foundation, an organization that promotes gay literature.

    How embarrassing for the poor dears. I bet they were cut something cruel at the next few Gay get-togethers.

    The bizarre example is Deirdre McCluskey’s Transitioning in which he expresses his on-going unresolved anger about his family’s reaction to his decision to have the operation.

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