My transition so far hasn’t been particularly extraordinary. As a child I had all of the regular symptoms of a person with gender dysphoria. I struggled with identifying as male. I struggled with the gender roles that were inflicted upon me. And I struggled with the fact that I wasn’t in other people’s eyes, what I was in my own.
From a young age I knew that I liked boys. And because I had never heard of being transgender, I thought I was gay. The minute I hit puberty, I was pretty open about the fact that I liked boys. I didn’t necessarily come out; I just didn’t try to hide it either.
Obviously on some level I was aware that I wasn’t supposed to be a male but I didn’t know what to do with that, and so I carried on doing what was expected of me. Well…in that respect anyway.
I had mental health issues for a few different reasons. Probably the biggest reason was because of my gender dysphoria, which went undiagnosed until I was 17.
I’m not so sure how I came to the realisation at 17. I suppose it was due to the mass media attention that transgender people were getting in 2015 thanks to Caitlyn Jenner. I followed Caitlyn’s story quite closely and it was then that I realised that I was also transgender.
I told my friends and family straight away and they were all really supportive, which I knew they would be. I recognise how lucky I am to have such an amazing support network around me but I didn’t expect any less from them at the time.
Pretty soon after that I sat my leaving cert and got the place I wanted in college. In September 2015, at 17 years of age, I moved to this apartment in Dublin so I could attend DIT.
At the time, it was actually really difficult to find information on transitioning in Ireland. It’s not something you can just sit down and research in one night.
With the help of my parents, we all looked into the actual medical process required to transition in Ireland. It was overwhelming to say the least but I was so lucky to have my parents helping me every step of the way.
I’m quite an impatient person so I struggled with all of the time delays and laborious requirements that there are in the Irish system. But I just had to be patient and I still do really.
In January of 2016, I began writing my first book “Who Cares? Life for an Irish Transgender Teen.” I planned to publish it in April so I knew that I needed to tell those who didn’t know about my transition, what the story was.
I had been open about it since the beginning but since I had moved and left school and stuff, there were a lot of people who I didn’t get a chance to tell. I decided the easiest way to ensure that everyone knew what was going on, was to make a YouTube video. The video was very well-received and it was a relief to know at that stage that pretty much everyone knew about my transition.
My parents had begun attending a support group where they could get information and resources that we needed in order to begin the process. It wasn’t until April of 2016 that I actually got my official diagnosis.
In order to get my official diagnosis, I had to attend three sessions with a psychiatrist and the only one that we could manage to find was in Cork. My parents drove me down on three different weekends in between college so I could attend these.
The sessions themselves actually weren’t that difficult. I just had to answer certain questions and she also described to me what my body would go through when it was transitioning. As much as I resented having to explain myself and get an official diagnosis, it was helpful to have that information.
After I received my official diagnosis, I was referred on to the only public transgender clinic, as far as I know, in Ireland. It was extremely difficult to get an appointment because they are so booked up with people. I had to wait 5 months more, until September of 2016 to actually get this appointment. I was asked a few brief questions by the doctor and he explained some things to me. Then my bloods were taken and I was told that they would be in touch. On my 19th birthday, the prescription for a monthly dose of hormone blockers arrived in the post.
I didn’t feel excited to be starting on these. For me personally, transitioning is just this thing that I have to do. It’s not some huge landmark or something, I just have to do it.
So a little less than a month ago I received my first injection of hormone blockers into my stomach. There were no real side effects that I can see so far but that’s to be expected. In three months’ time, I will start on oestrogen and then the fun really starts, or so I hear anyway.
In the future, I hope to pursue a complete medical transition, meaning that I will be getting a vagina and breasts. This entire process has gone quite well for me so far and I don’t see that changing anytime soon (touch-wood).
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