Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Whose Fault Is It?

Today I did a "verse of the day". For those of you who may be unfamiliar with this sometimes habit of mine, I will explain. When most people talk of a "verse of the day", they usually take a verse out of a religious text  - usually the Bible. I however, am not religious and do not really ascribe to any religion. Instead, my "holy text" is The Good Book - a secular/humanist/atheist text that was put together by A.C. Grayling. It is from this book that I get my verses from.

Today's verses, chosen at random, were from The Lawgiver Chapter 19 verses 30-32

For when the people have committed a wrong against a good man and then repent of their anger,
They think the easiest way to excuse themselves for this offense is the most just, namely,
To destroy the man who was the author of it and persuaded them to commit it.

Normally, when I do one of my Sunday Sermons or Verses of the Day, I type out the verses and leave the reader to come to their own conclusions. Learning is, after all, done best when a person is left to think for themselves. Sometimes though, I find myself dwelling on what I've typed and feel like maybe someone will appreciate my thoughts on the matter.

These verses bring to my mind the injustices that many LGBTQ people face today at the hands of the "well-meaning" religious right. They tell us we are sinful, abominations, and vile and abhorrent to their God. They tell us that unless we turn to their God, repent of our disgusting sexual depravities, and change to "normal heterosexuality" that we will forever burn in hell.

Sometimes though these people "receive insights from God" and realise that they what they have been saying and doing in the name of their God is wrong and hateful. Some of these people become true allies and stand with us in our struggle towards equality. Others play the "blame game", saying such things as "If my pastor hadn't told us that homosexuality was a sin, I would have never said those things to you." or "It's really the churches fault - the church is to blame for all the hatred towards you.".

The "blame game" is wrong. Period. It doesn't matter if the pastor of a church preached that being lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender is sinful. It doesn't matter if a world-renowned Christian activist said that all LGBT people should do the world a favour and kill themselves. It doesn't matter if the Pope said that marriage equality will destroy "traditional" families. Yes, these people are wrong. Yes, they should be preaching love and acceptance instead of hate and divisiveness, but that's their problem.

What does matter, what is your problem, is whether you, as a religious person, listened to them. We all have a choice when someone tells us something. That choice is do you listen to it, believe it, and act upon it, or do you reject what they say as being hateful and un-Christlike? Likewise, we all have a responsibility to research the truthfulness of everything we see, hear, and read.

In summary, take responsibility for your own thoughts and actions; don't blame others for something you could have, with a little thought, done differently.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Regarding the NHS and Going Private

Today I made a phone call to Dr. Curtis in London. Dr. Curtis is a specialist in the private sector of transgender treatment and comes highly recommended in the transgender community for both FTMs and MTFs. My first consultation with him is on the 2nd of February 2012.

The decision to go with a private practitioner has not been taken lightly. Over the last nine months, I have done a lot of research on the internet looking through several transgender forums and talking with quite a few trans men and women about waiting times and treatment on the NHS. What I have found has been quite disheartening.  From GPs who don't know the NHS approved pathways to extremely long waiting times between each step of the pathway, the NHS, in my opinion, has failed trans men and women over and over again.

For me personally, there have been several shortcomings with the NHS. In April 2011, I came out to my GP who summarily dismissed it as being "a temporary mental issue" because I am dating a man. (After all, we know that trans men are always attracted to women and never to men, right?) In June, I changed GPs and came out to my new GP as bigender and trans. He was more supportive, but didn't have a clue what the PCT's pathway is nor who to refer me to. It took him a month to make a referral to the local community mental health team and a further six weeks (prodded by me making several phone calls at the 4 week mark) before I got sent my first consultation appointment during the month of September. My second appointment was rescheduled from October to November and I was then informed that I would have to attend a third appointment on the 23rd of January 2012 in order to get my referral to the Gender Identity Clinic.

Up to present time, my transition journey has taken nine months and I don't even have a referral letter in my hand as of yet. According to several people I have talked with, the waiting list to get seen at the Gender Identity Clinic is anywhere from 6 months to a year from referral and another 6 to 9 months before I get prescribed hormones. I am not willing to wait another year or longer just to get a simple hormone replacement prescription - a prescription might I add, that a male assigned at birth person can get in one or two months - therefore, I am going private with Dr. Curtis long enough to get prescribed testosterone and transfer that prescription over to my current GP. 

It is my hope that this blog or at the very least the message contained in this blog gets brought to the attention of someone in the NHS and results in change regarding how transgender people are treated.