Prisoners no more

One of the biggest problems with the NHS approach to trans support is that unlike most other NHS treatments, it is rarely as simple as diagnosis followed by treatment. Rather, there is a continuing sense of disbelief: you won’t get treated unless…

Unless you can prove this month… And next… And the one after next… That you are still a suitable candidate for treatment. That has to be bad for the patient-carer relationship. Worse, it means that because dependency is created, many people who are treated appallingly just won’t complain, because they are scared silly of treatment being withdrawn. Of drugs being stopped: grs denied.

That is all sorts of bad. It highlights a major structural problem with trans treatment, because those who need treatment are not daft. They learn quickly not to trust anyone in the system, except, perhaps, fellow trans men and women. They self-medicate. They learn the scripts they are expected to learn – and quickly become experts at dissembling.

How else could it be? If a GP or other healthcare professional wouldn’t treat you for something unless you coughed at least three times in ten minutes, or entered their room walking in a way guaranteed to win the approval of the Ministry of Silliest of Silly Walks: you’d soon adapt.

The other issue is: if you are at the mercy of the carers, this is a recipe for abuse. Some of it subtle power play. Some absolutely overt. One category of story i won’t publish here – because i fear the UK’s libel laws – are stories that feature some very real, hands-on abuse that it is claimed has happened over the years.

Maybe it did. Maybe it didn’t. But i don’t have the bank balance to sustain the law suit likely to follow some of the stories i’ve been told.

So here’s the deal. I have been asked by individuals looking at NHS reform to pull together stories, complaints, or possible complaints. From all and sundry. But especially from people who are now mostly transitioned. Who are no longer in hock to the system…and who therefore have the freedom, once more, to say what they want to say about how trans folk are treated in the UK.

Drop me a line – in confidence please – and i’ll tell you a little more about it: will check with you before passing on ANY details.

But do, please, drop a line.

jane xx


1 Response so far »

  1. 1

    k said,

    There’s an interesting story about a former Charing Cross patient called Sandra McDougal on Lynn Conway’s “warning” page:

    Conway writes,: “There have been many TS transition failures in recent years. Ever-increasing numbers of late-transitioning intense CD’s and self-proclaimed “autogynephiles” are getting letters of consent from careless counselors and then unwisely undergo SRS, without being fully prepared to live as women and without having clear notions of the other options available to them.”

    When you click on the link to the original story you find that the “careless counsellors” were apparently the main NHS specialists:

    “Four years later, after extensive counselling with doctors at the Gender Identity Clinic in London, she underwent a five-hour operation at Charing Cross Hospital.

    MacDougall was put on a high dose of hormones which have given her a 40B bust and almost hairless body.

    However, the former soldier, from Saltcoats, has been dogged by physical complications which will require further surgery to correct.

    She said: “At the time I was delighted and was looking forward to becoming a woman. But there have been so many problems that now I don’t feel it’s been worth it all……”

    Happily, The Sun did a story on her in December which suggests that the earlier reports had a considerable spin on them.

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