This post is written by Fire, a member of our Q42 group, reflecting their personal experiences navigating the healthcare system.
Why must I put myself in danger,
Based on the whims of an unknown stranger?
Why must I prove to you how I hurt inside,
When you should be my goddamn guide?
Why must I want to die,
Because of the system that should literally be saving my life?
Won’t even be my ally.
Why must I make my GP learn;
To be given what I yearn?
Why must I go through hell;
When it would be so easy for you to make me feel well?
Why must my GP be an “expert” for me to get one kind of pill?
But when it comes to my overall mental health, I don’t even have to see her for a refill.
Why must I meet your requirements,
Your bullshit process was decided by tyrants.
Why are you gatekeeping?
Do you even understand what you’re asking?
On top of the emotional labour you’re putting me through,
In what is clearly your trans debut.
You’ve forced me to spend yet more money.
But don’t worry, my justice will taste sweet like honey.
This was written when I had just won the fight with my then-GP to get on a hormone bridging prescription, back in 2018. A bridging prescription is a compromise to benefit the individual (as much as the NHS permits) before the gender clinic is able to provide a prescription themselves.
The requirements for getting one are;
- the patient is already self-medicating or is highly likely to start,
- the prescription is to reduce risk of self-harm or suicide, and
- the doctor has been advised from an experienced gender specialist, and the lowest dose is given.
At the start, I was under a different practice. I left because the GP showed no interest in listening to the NHS’s own information, nor the GMC’s (General Medical Council), and forget LGBTQ+ charities, websites etc.
The GP I saw at the new practice wasn’t any better. She struggled to understand the same official guidance even though she claimed to have read it.
There are only 3 basic requirements that people who want to use the measure must understand to follow it. A qualified and experienced GP in charge of thousands of patients, some of whom will want the same as I, should be required to have a strong understanding of these requirements.
Fortunately I was also being supported by an organisation with professionals who actually wanted to help me, and they provided the necessary guidance, evidence and up-front reassurance to my GP saying she was allowed to do this.
Unfortunately, I feel like none of that was enough for her. She even claimed she’d read over 200 pages of information on the subject in addition to what had been offered (unclear on whether this was medical, legal, both, or mumsnet).
When she finally gave me the magical paper it was after I explained to her (not for the first time), that she wasn’t taking any risk, she is allowed to do it, her license wouldn’t be revoked, and I’m the only one taking any chances.
The cistem (cisnormative system) allows for GPs to mistreat trans people, especially trans young people.
It gives easy opportunity for GPs to make decisions of their own accord, because of their own beliefs, about the lives of people who just want basic healthcare. If they want to, they are able to deny us our needs just because of their personal wishes.
There is no adequate education which teaches professionals about why a trans person would need HRT. There is no mandated training on what either side of the table can or must do.
The information is out there (whether it's legal/medical, written by the organisations involved, scientific research, or from the trans community telling society our needs) so why isn't it compulsory for the people we must see for our medical care to know about it?
Why are we en-masse educating them in their place of work?
They aren't even expected to be somewhat aware, and instead we have to be experts to navigate the structures designed to make things excruciatingly difficult and painful.