Butterflies seem to be an important part of the symbolism of being transgender, especially for those about to transition, leaving that ugly caterpillar body behind, entering a second-puberty chrysalis and then emerging as a beautiful creature at the end of it all.
My favourite musical artist is Regina Spektor and, on her second album, she recorded a great little ditty called Aching to Pupate, apparently after working on a butterfly farm.
Opinions about the song’s meaning are mixed if you look here. But some people think it’s about puberty, evolving from a girl (she arrived to New York from the old Soviet Union as a child refugee) to a woman (and what an incredibly talented woman she turned out to be).
Here it is:
Whether it is about puberty or not, it’s been running around my head for a few days now, and it’s reminded me that my caterpillar days will probably soon be over. I have one week left until my third gender clinic appointment, and I can’t wait.
It’s now more than 26 months since I was referred to Nottingham Gender Clinic by my GP. I never dreamed back in September 2015 that the process would take so long or, at times, be so arduous. But there’s no point harping on about it now as we’re almost there.
If all goes well, I’ll be required to undergo some blood tests – and then the GIC will instruct my GP to prescribe me with estrogen, and a little later, testosterone blockers.
Obviously this is a massive deal for me – but I’m not feeling scared, or concerned that the psychiatrists I’ll meet will say “no”. I’m just really excited and eager to get started, and I’m pretty confident now that they’ll say “yes”.
During my first appointment, I was told it would be “highly unusual” for the clinic to prescribe me with HRT. But I’ve evolved such a lot in the past six months.
Back then, I was talking about presenting male some of the time and female at others, using breast binders to hide my boobs and wearing androgynous clothes. I’d not even told my parents I’m trans at that point.
Since then, I’ve told them – and everyone else via Facebook – and I’ve done everything from changing my name via Deed Poll to freezing sperm. I’ve even changed my gender to female with the NHS.
I’ve done a lot of thinking since that first appointment, and since writing this blog post two or three weeks ago, NB or not NB: that is the question.
So how do I see myself now? I’ll be honest, I still see myself as non-binary. However, I also realise that I’ve been on a massive journey in the past two years and that the journey is still in progress.
I still figure I’m non-binary because I don’t mind presenting as male (albeit in androgynous women’s clothes) and my levels of gender dysphoria aren’t as bad as those poor transwomen who can sometimes feel suicidal.
All that said, I now fully accept that I will probably end up as a transwoman. I’ve spoken to a few transwomen now, who have evolved as I have, maybe starting off by crossdressing, then giving themselves the NB label and then eventually crossing right over to the other side of the fence, where the grass is always pinker.
I’ve sought counsel from various people in various groups on Facebook and trans forums. Some of them have said I should lie to the clinic, tell them “what they want to hear” – that I’m a transwoman, presenting as female all the time.
Others, especially NB people, have pointed out that enby people DO get prescribed HRT by Nottingham GIC, although it can be tough, such as my first appointment was.
I’m not going to lie, though, I’m just going to tell the truth. I told the truth at my second appointment, and that was a walk in the park compared to the first.
I have applied for a job with a company which I’ve wanted to work for for literally years, and I’ve filled in the forms as a female, complete with photo. If I get the job, I will present as female from day one, even if I’ve not started HRT yet, and that should probably help me to come out of my shell and get me used to presenting as female all the time.
Then I wouldn’t care about walking round my own town en femme, because it would just feel completely natural to me. So fingers crossed for the job application!
My amazing friend Caroline is coming with me to my third appointment. I’ve warned her there may be some tough questions, but I’m prepared for them all now, and rumour has it that the appointments get easier the more you have – that first one is to make sure you know what you’re getting into. I reckon, if you had doubts, you’d quit the process at that point.
I can honestly say I have no doubts at all. I spent yesterday looking at before-and-after pictures of transwomen on the web. Just Google it – the results from HRT are incredible. I SO want to be like that.
In other news, I’ve been on Finasteride for about three months now and it’s actually begun to work! I don’t exactly have a full head of hair again yet, but there’s definitely more there now than there was.
I’ve heard the drug’s not supposed to begin working for three to six months, so to get results this early is really encouraging. I’ve also seen a few before-and-after pics of a transwoman called Emma. I don’t think she’ll mind me posting one here as they’re all over the web anyway.
As you can see, these drugs really work, and I know she’s been using Finasteride combined with Minoxidil, so I may look into that, too. I’ve sent her a few questions and await her reply.
Finally, Annie and I have ironed out our differences and are going to try once again to stay friends. I have a feeling that it’s going to work this time, too, so I’m really happy about that.
So there ya go. All up to date. It’s almost time to spread those butterfly wings and fly.