By Jonathon Van Maren
What does it take to get medical professionals to sign off on sex change surgeries for those suffering with gender dysphoria? According to one young woman, a mere two and a half hours of counseling.
Sam is a 26-year-old woman from the Midlands in central England who began to wonder if she might be male at the age of 21, after many identity struggles throughout her teen years. When she discovered the online transgender collective, she wondered if she might also be transgender. Their testimonies of transition bringing happiness appealed to her. She sought medical help, but was told that a backlog meant that getting an appointment with the National Health Service (NHS) would be at least two and a half years. She began to explore private options instead.
She procured an appointment, told the doctor that she identified as a “transgender man” (after a bit of Googling), and after only two appointments, found herself cleared to take hormones and have her breasts removed. Armed with a prescription for cross-sex hormones, she began taking them in December of 2017, and procured a double mastectomy a mere five months later, despite the rules stating that patients must have identified as male for a minimum of a year prior to this (permanent) surgery.
The effects were almost immediate. As Sam tells it:
I was able to have the surgery just a year and nine months after I first discovered trans people. I was so happy after the surgery because I had been binding my breasts for years. It felt like a huge relief. The hormones worked really quickly and within a few months, my voice had dropped, I grew body and facial hair and even developed a micro penis.
My hairline also began to recede a little, and I noticed a huge change in my emotions. Whereas I’d once been a very emotional person, it felt as though the testosterone had numbed the heights of my emotions. Nothing made me feel incredibly happy, and nothing made me incredibly sad any more. I had moved from working in childcare to working in a very male-dominated job working with trains, and when I first met people, nobody knew I had transitioned from female.