almost 26 years later, a correction has begun...
FINALLY DONE!!! - I have a so called diagnosis and guess what? It turns out I am guy!
I am about to share my experience of getting medical care at the transmedicine unit in Stockholm called ANOVA. ANOVA also handle patients regarding sexual medicine and andrology. In the sitting area there is always 40-50+ men sitting in there waiting to meet a doctor and knowing where you are you just can't help but sit and wonder who of those men can't get it up... I know, I know, how childish of me... but it is boring waiting for your turn and I always arrived around 30min earlier because I travel from Västerås and it is a hassle, not to mention that they themselves where always late (save for the psychologist) but the other members of the team always came and called for me 10-20min later... so yes I had to get my mind off of this painful process by thinking about other men's possible dysfunctional erections...
Okay let's move on! 😁
The team I got to meet with where all very nice, and you can clearly get the comprehension that they want to help you, even if sometimes they ask uncomfortable or silly questions. But for now, this is their job and your job is to follow this agonising process to get a gender conforming treatment. Hopefully the utter absurdness of this treatment will get better soon!
The Case Manager's job is to understand and write a plan of your current living situation, make sure you have support in your life, she also wants to meet your parents or someone else close to you. She ask's questions about your childhood, she ask's when your gender dysphoria kicked in, for some people it is from early childhood for others puberty or other, she also wonders about how you find out or realised your gender. She has many questions, I had four sessions with her and basically she asked the same questions over and over again. It was annoying, we could have covered all of her questions in one 90min session or two splitting that time but this is out of her control. Later when you apply to social justice council (in Swedish: Socials Rättsliga Rådet) they are very careful with changing your legal gender and need this to be a prolonged process. This is ridiculous of course, but I am only explaining to you how it is right now. Let's see... Oh yes! She also ask's about what you would do if you did not get a diagnosis, and I told her, that I hadn't thought about that because my current state doesn't have a future, and that I have only focused on the positivity of the gender conforming treatment that will allow me to have a future. The woman I met with was very nice, easy to talk to but a little carefree, as though she herself knows all those meetings were unnecessary but it is her job to follow this template and meet with you anyway. After all this is all out of her control, she is doing her job and as far as I can tell she did a good job! My Case Manager was Carin Carlqvist but you might get someone else, they have two who does this job, as I understand it.
The psychologist ask's a little more uncomfortable questions, her job is to focus more on you as a person rather than you in your surroundings and out in society. And by uncomfortable, well... they could be uncomfortable to some people, I myself did not feel uncomfortable but then again I do not embarrass easily or have a difficulty speaking about what sometimes might be considered taboo subjects, so maybe it has something to do with my personality to not think they where particularly uncomfortable. However, you decide if you find them uncomfortable because she ask's questions about for example masturbation, if you have a difficulty masturbating or find it disgusting or something like that. The reason, I am assuming, is because they want to learn more about your gender dysphoria, as in where it sits and where it is painful. Some people have so much gender dysphoria in their genitals that they actually cannot masturbate or even have sex with a partner/or partners. For those people it is usually vital to undergo genital surgery, but this is not for everybody. Luckily I do not have intense disgust or dysphoria against that part of me and I am most likely not doing a genital surgery, but I will not claim this decision is set in stone because if the techniques become much better and I wouldn't have to undergo five surgeries in that area, maybe I could consider it but for now this is not troubling for me. Another question that bothered me was asking about my sexual orientation but she did also explain that they know that sexual orientation has nothing to do with gender identity and that this questions is mainly to understand and know more about me and transgenderism in general. After she explained it like that I wasn't bothered by the question anymore. And.. As far as the psychologist herself she is positive and have a happy/cheery personality, you begin smiling by just meeting her. She walks and talks fast as though she is hopped up on a lot of caffeine or something, but she is very very nice, very sweet and easy to talk to as well. My psychologist was Maria Illestam.
I never got to meet the psychiatrist Annika Heyman in the beginning because I had my first meeting at Akademiska Hospital in Uppsala and then transferred to ANOVA. So where you are supposed to have first and last meeting with the psychiatrist, I met someone else the first time and met her in the end. She is very serious and like all medical professionals, she doesn't really smile, and doesn't ask more questions than only double checking some things you have already been previously asked by the psychologist and case manager. She ask's about your expectations and such... Lastly she says we are going to go ahead and give you the diagnosis "you are a man!" and ask's what you want to be remitted too, endocrinologist, speech therapist and plastic surgery for a mastectomy. I wanted to be remitted to all three, it is not for everybody, and gender identity is very individual and some people might only want to be remitted to two or one of them.
Applying to change one's legal gender can be safely made at least one year after beginning Hormone Replacement Therapy because of how careful they are in approving it but considering how the law of changing your legal gender is in motion to change I do not know how this will become when the law is enforced, so stay tuned for updates about transgender people's rights! After you have gotten your gender legally changed you can apply for a hysterectomy and genital surgery if you want them but I will write more about this in a later post!
Right now I am just patiently sitting and waiting for a letter to show up in my mail box telling me I have a meeting with the endocrinologist to get a prescription of hormones.. Patiently doesn't do justice to describe how much energy it is sucking out of me but I am very excited and looking forward to being comfortable in my own skin! 😃
I will still be posting this weekend as usual!
Thank you for reading!