Blimmin’ Expert

I had an appointment tonight with the psychiatrist. It’s not often I leave the house at night,so that in itself was a bit exciting! I’d got Iz off to sleep in record time, infact the whole evening, culminating in Izzy’s gentle snores, was one of my finest achievements enabling me to be out of the house and down to town by 630!

Anyway, I had some questions for The Doctor:

Q. Are the suicide statistics for transgender people for those who are unsupported or just in general? (various research papers quote them between 42 and 50%)
A. The suicide statistics for transgender people who have not been supported, many of whom develop serious mental illnesses, are very high.
For those who are supported and remain in a supportive enviroment the statistics drop back to cisgender – denoting or relating to a person whose self-identity conforms with the gender that corresponds to their biological sex; not transgender levels.
But the statistics leap again for those transgender people who find themselves suddenly in an unsupportive environment such as a new school or work place.

Q. I’ve read that 80% of children who experience gender fluidity – Gender fluid is a gender identity which refers to a gender which varies over time. A gender fluid person may at any time identify as male, female, neutrois, or any other non-binary identity, or some combination of identities.) do not carry on to be transgender adults.
A. Between the ages of 4 and 10 it is common for children to be gender fluid. They are experimenting, working out who they are. These children make up most of the 80% who resolve that question and go on to be hetrosexual, gay or lesbian. Izzy probably falls in to the other 20%, as a child who is not questioning her gender but is clear that it is not the one she was assigned at birth, she is probably going to carry on as transgender in to adulthood. But, there is no hard and fast rule, it’s possible she may change her mind and decide she wants to be male again.

Q. Is there anything we’re not doing that we should be doing?
A. No. Carry on as you are, your job now is to protect Izzy from those who are unable to support her transition because not to do so will impact on Izzy’s mental well being. It’s also important not to back Izzy in to a corner – it doesn’t matter which gender she identifies with, she can change her mind and go back to being a boy, she can live her days out as a girl or she can exist anywhere in between.

Q. Is it true the waiting list for sex change operations is 37 years? And that the only surgeon who performed those operations is now retired?
A.  No. It is more like 70 years. And yes there is no qualified surgeon in this country.

Q.  So what the Dickens do they do?
A. There’s a state of the art hospital in Thailand which specializes in gender reassignment. It costs about $10000 to get boobs. A lot of transgender M-W don’t bother with the bottom half, they just keep that hidden.  Others go to Australia or the States.

Q. A couple of family members are really concerned about us making this decision for Izzy at such a young age.
A. The only decision you’ve made is to allow your child to live as the gender she currently identifies with. Nothing else has changed. Furthermore social transition can be reversed. The most important thing now is to protect your child from negative influences.

The Doctor then told me about his experience in transgender issues:
Three days a week he works for the area health board on a team that supports youth with serious mental health issues.  The other two days (he works one night a week at the private practice we visit him through) he works with transgender yourh and their families supporting them through blockers (these delay the onset of puberty which give the children the time to make an informed decision) and hormone treatments (male to female, female to male) and the non-medical options. He is on the board of medical professionals who review this country’s policies surrounding medical intervention and best practice for mental health care/support of transgender youth.

He’s a BLIMMIN EXPERT in a field where few have depth of experience or training!
How we ended up with, I suspect, this country’s leading expert in transgender care, is a blog worth writing. But not tonight.

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20 comments

  1. Hallo!
    just wanted to jump in here as my partner is a doctor who specialises in transgender medicine 🙂
    That sounds like great answers though I would question the one about most people don’t go with gender reassignment surgery. I mean certainly some people don’t and more recently that would be female to male as its super tricky surgery. but I do know a couple of surgeons, one plastics and one urology who are now collaborating and will be making that surgery available in Australia. its pretty young though.
    But more for you and your daughters situation…I think a lot of kids who are transitioning really young would perhaps like to have surgery later on. I’m not saying all of them but I do think the number would be high. So lots of people go to Dr Saran in Thailand who is excellent 10k in US dollars but they recommend 16k to cover flights, surgery, accomodation and food but then you would want a very good doc who specialises in transgender health for aftercare once home.
    Or there are surgeons starting to offer this in Australia now. I am hoping that eventually we will get public lists for this. Otherwise you are looking at around 26k less 9,500 if you pay good health insurance cover of around $200 a month for a while before.
    You’re right in that most Doctors throw their hands up at transgender issues and just refer to psychiatrists as they don’t know what to do. This is a massive shame as they could learn. So anyway my partner has put together a conference this year in Australia to train more Gps etc in caring for people who are transgender. Its got some amazing speakers and is having a massive turn out so there is so much more interest these days so we must be positive!!
    I guess your daughter is only 4 right now so I do think there will have been a massive change by the time she is 18 in terms of services and public funding etc but I guess also it might be worth considering a surgery fund now. You could save up a fair bit in 14 years. I only say this because I know how vital it was for my son to have chest surgery asap at 18. Life saving.
    I was lucky and got it practically free because I know the surgeon but id saved the money anyway!!! Phew.
    Also she may be a bit gender fluid and never need any of this stuff and that is totally COOL XXX
    I do have heaps of contacts around transgender stuff so if you want to know anything you can message me on my Facebook page Edie115.
    But a lot of this is in the future. I think all I need to say is that right now I think you are doing a totes AMAZING JOB and you are a legend. Feel free to message me if you ever need a chat xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow! Thanks so much for taking the time😁. I’m pretty sure we’ll be looking at surgery, we talk openly about the options for the future and she always is adamant she wants “it” off. Having said that the last six months of affirmation seems to have vanished her dysphoria for now. Kindy says she used to pee very privately but now is happy to go in front of the other kids. It’s nice to know she’s not feeling shame but at the same time I would like her to be discreet😬.
      Funnily enough I was googling srs in Thailand last night, Harry and I are definitely starting a fund. I read about a new surgery using the colon, do you know anything about that. I think in 14 years time there will be many advances. It makes me cry to think she’ll face that, but also so amazing that she’s got the options. She’s def not gender fluid, no deviation from “I am a girl”. Thank you so much for your support, I’m glad to have “met” you.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m glad to have met you too❤
        Never ever ever use the colon! Nope. That stuff is bad. They do not have to use the colon. There are heaps of other more easy fabulous ways. Dodgy people use colons.
        I’ve know a heap of people who have been to Saran and all have had excellent results. They do so many there that they are very well practiced.
        I think there have only been 10 done in Australia in the last year whereas Dr Sarans team did 150 plus with no complications. There were minor complications in 3 of the Australian surgeries.
        I mean gosh by the time she is 18 there will be fabulous things happening and also a public list I hope!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Have you heard about the waiting list in NZ? Our one surgeon retired a few years back and only 2 or 3 FTM and 1 MTF are covered each year, they;re sent to Aus for the surgery. There is something like a 40 year waiting list at the mo!!!! I totally picture us going to Thailand on a wonderful family holiday (better get saving!). 14 years is a long time, hopefully the only change will be improvements!

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      • There will be improvements and hopefully you won’t have to go all the way to Thailand! But Thailand is fun! I think it is pretty tricky in NZ but let me find out for you …

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      • Thailand is BEAUTIFUL. My partner and I met in Borneo and spent time in Bangkok after travelling round SE Asia – I would LOVE to go back! I think also we want it to be a real family Occassion,

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hi … I just found out some info… no real clinics as such and a 20 year waiting list for surgery BUT.. these are the people in N Z doing good stuff. They are members of the Australian and New Zealand professional association for transgender health ANZPATH. They are a great bunch and I met a heap of them at a conference in Amsterdam last year… not these specific ones but these are your NZ peeps to go to. I highly recommend looking them up http://www.anzpath.org/about/service-providers/new-zealand/

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      • Oh and ps she will be so excited to get it done if that’s what she wants. It’s not awful massively painful surgery and the pain relief is great!
        I have a friend who has recently had that surgery who is really happy to chat with you about it and answer some questions if you would like. She can chat on messenger…if you want me to hook you up then message me on Edie115 page. She is a lovely woman and a great friend of mine with excellent advice as a trans woman xx

        Liked by 1 person

      • Wow again n, that’s so kind of you. I haven’t got messenger on my phone and at the mo have little other access, but I would really, really love to have that chat when I’m hooked up again, it would be amazing to hear about how the surgery was for her and also what it means to her. No matter how much I love and except and affirm Izzy, she can’t yet express those deep feelings so I can’t really put myself in her place as I would like to be able to😁. Eech I hope that makes sense!!
        I’m really interested in the conference your wife is involved in, I need to reread what you said about it. The support group I belong to for Parents of gender diverse kids is discussing advocacy around primary/pre-school age kids, there are mum’s who have years on us that are really clued up, I’m sure they’d be interested to hear about the work your wife does.
        Sometimes I feel so overwhelmed, my son (he’s almost 8) is so awesome but I feel like over these Christmas hols he’s becoming more and more “quirky” and I’m struggling to keep up. I don’t want to let either of them down through my own ignorance but there’s so much to learn and understand and I feel like I can’t take my eyes off the ball for a second. Do you know what I mean?
        Going back to Izzy being excited about the operation – she seriously is! Her eyes gleam when she says “mum can you tell me about how they put your Dinkle inside you?” She also says, bless her soul, that she wants to have boobs just like mine! Arghhhh ha ha, 42years old and two kids.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’ve put a link to the conference on my Edie115 Facebook page if you want to look though I think it’s just for health professionals but there is often a spot for people from the community.
        My partner is Dr Fiona Bisshop, Holdsworth house, Brisbane If you google you will probably find some interviews and stuff.
        I totally understand about how you don’t want to let them down and heaps to learn!! Omg! I had to learn heaps. You will. It will be okay, just networking like this will learn you heaps 🙂
        I also think it’s important to totally chill with it. Go with the flow. Don’t make it your whole lives. I know it’s big but it’s the love that gets you through, it’s not all about gender, it’s sometimes just about making a favourite dinner!
        And for the times when there is some distress I always found a walk by the river, a favourite takeaway and a trip to the supermarket to buy chocolate and just listening… keeping your mouth shut because you can’t fix everything.. just listening, supporting, loving and letting them work it out for themselves works a treat.
        Also you have to do the stand up speak out thing. The advocate for your kid thing. The mama polar bear thing. Even when it’s uncomfortable. My kid is nearly 21 and he remembers every single time I stood up for him. They are his favourite memories, along with the takeaway and the wailing and the me saying ‘I know it’s shit’ and letting him rant for as long as he liked.
        Also it’s worth mentioning my kid comes from a massive privileged place. 2 mums with one who is a transgender medicine specialist and surrounded by a very diverse community. He totes recognises this and it has helped a lot. There have been challenges but we live our lives with massive positivity. It goes along way to saying ‘there is nothing wrong with you. This is a normal phenomenon’. Dwell on the positive a lot.
        I think you’re doing a great job. It’s going to be okay. It is xxx
        And Pippa is happy to talk to you anytime you are ready xxx

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you! One quick question (like you haven’t got anything better to do, and it’s not urgent) the term “transgender” I can’t decide whether to tell Izzy she is “transgender” or not? We talk about how she is a girl with a penis, that when a baby starts growing in their mum’s tummy they all start as female, then the cells make a decision and send a message to the brain – yip we’re a girl, or nope we’re going to be a boy. But when she was in my tummy, the message didn’t make it up to her brain and so she continued growing as a girl but at the same time the cells that form the genitals and internal female or male bits went on to build boy bits. So she didn’t get the ovaries and womb she thought she would be getting and instead they built the penis and the balls… Izzy knows she is a girl, we all know she is a girl, I feel like if I give her the label “transgender” she will feel that she is “other”. Obviously as she grows older she’ll understand this term and use it as she sees fit, I have no problem with that. But does she need it now? What do you think?
        PS it’s not about “hiding” the fact from anyone, she’s totally versed to answer “you’re not a girl, you’ve got a penis” with “I’ve got a penis and I AM a girl”

        Liked by 1 person


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