I guess the customary thing to do is start this post by wishing you all a happy new year. I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas time with as many friends and family as you could be with. I had an absolutely fabulous Christmas, starting with my best friend and her amazing kids coming over to my flat for Christmas Eve curry night. It was wonderful to have the flat full of happiness and laughter. The food didn’t poison anyone and the night ended with us all on the sofa watching RuPaul’s drag race. Christmas morning I spent having chocolate croissants with my mum and then it was off to my best friend’s for Christmas dinner. We ate so much food and drank wine and prosecco until it came out of our tear ducts before commencing with the games. The highlight being me kneeling on the floor wearing a set of inflatable reindeer antlers while the others threw what can only be described as inflatable haemorrhoid cushions at me in a fragile drunken attempt to hook one onto the antlers.
New Year’s Eve was also a wonderful time for me. Traditionally I have always hated New Year’s Eve because while everyone was singing Auld Lang Syne and making preposterous New Year resolutions I would be at home on my sofa alone working my way through a bottle of single malt while watching Jools Holland. I never saw the point of New Year’s Eve as the next year didn’t offer any sign of hope that I would feel any better than in the last. For the first time I smiled on New Year’s Eve, laughed even. I had a wonderful evening with some really cool friends. I didn’t even drink because I was driving but we had some great food and chatted the night away. It was lovely to break that mould and have hope that the New Year will bring happiness and bring me even closer to my goals.
Speaking of friends I have to tell you about some things that have happened recently. I love all of my friends and although I have a best friend who I have already mentioned, I hold all of my friendships very close to me; in short, my friends are my family. I want to tell you about someone who has touched my life in such a positive way in the last few months. On face value you could argue that we barely know each other but when we started chatting on Facebook and by text it became very clear to us both that we would click with each other. When we met it was so easy, no awkwardness, just great conversation and a healthy dose of laughter too. This friend runs a CIC (community interest company) called Inspiring Healthy Choices. She delivers training to schools, prisons and the wider business sector. This training also involves transgender awareness, and this year I will be helping her to deliver this training, something I’m very excited about.
That isn’t the end of this story, the same friend reached out to me around a week ago from out of the blue with no prompt from me or anyone else and offered to stay with me after my surgery and be there for appointments and when I go down to theatre etc. I was blown away, I cried, I messaged her straight back thanking her for her kindness and thankfully accepting her help. Don’t get me wrong lots of my friends have offered help during this time and I plan to accept it humbly and gratefully but this woman barely knows me and owes me nothing. Kelly, you are an incredible person and I look forward to building our friendship and making Inspiring Healthy Choices a huge success.
Right had a little happy cry, now back to the matter at hand. So what does 2018 look like for Amy Kate? Well as I sit here at my desk writing this I am contemplating my appointment with the gender clinic in Daventry tomorrow afternoon. This will be with a clinical psychologist and will form my second surgical referral. This means the next step in my journey will be to prepare for gender reassignment surgery which if all goes to plan should be sometime towards the end of the year, maybe sooner. The next steps after the appointment will be to initiate my plans to lose weight and get hair removal of the future lady garden underway. It would be so much easier if I could call in a landscape gardener but unfortunately sophisticated laser and electrolysis equipment is required for this job not a chap called Brian with a hedge trimmer.
I have started work on writing a book, two books in fact. One is a fictional novel which as yet has no working title and the plot is sort of jumbled up in my head. It will be romance based I think but hopefully with some decent twists and turns. The other is a journal style book about my journey of transition. The title of this will be “Was it something I said?” The unofficial guide to transition. This will take up quite a bit of my free time so I’m looking forward to both of these projects becoming something tangible that my friends can read and give me feedback on.
Another thing that has recently occurred is that I was asked to be a trustee for a local Milton Keynes based LGBTQI+ charity called Q: Alliance. You can find a link to the website in my links section here on the blog. The first trustee meeting is this Thursday and I’m very excited to get stuck in and help our wonderful community in any way that I can.
Count backwards from 10…
To pee or not to pee (standing up), that is the question, or is it? I have never really questioned whether or not I would want to have gender reassignment surgery. I know several trans women who have undergone this procedure very successfully and are extremely happy with the results. Despite this I have held doubts as to whether I could go through with it. You’re probably reading this and thinking “what?” Well let me explain. I want my body to be as female as my mind, of course I do. I identify as a trans woman, I have no doubt or insecurity about my gender but I do have a fear of the unknown. I have never had major surgery or been in a position to have been in hospital for any length of time. I’m afraid of the point where I’m on a trolley being wheeled into theatre and then given my general anaesthetic. I’m not exactly having nightmares about it but it is seriously playing on my mind.
On top of these fears there is also the significant commitment to aftercare. My shiny new vagina comes with more instructions than an IKEA flat-pack wardrobe. There is the torturous practice of dilation which must be performed 3 times a day for the first 6 weeks then twice a day from then onwards until it is reduced to once every few days and so on. There is antiseptic baths, douching and so on. It seems from speaking to friends that the practice of dilation is also a dangerous one. Who knew that sitting with your legs akimbo with half a litre of lubricant shoved up your new orifice whilst trying to hold a plastic phallus in place would be so difficult? I have been warned not to do this in front of the television, as one sneeze or involuntary cough will turn said phallic object into a ballistic projectile which is ejected from the shiny new vagina at warp speed towards your poor unsuspecting TV screen. Try explaining that to your home insurance provider.
Then there are other things to consider, things that men take for granted, like peeing anywhere they choose. The days of pulling over and nipping behind a hedge will be long behind me. I will no longer be able to enjoy the common male hobby of carpet bombing the bathroom floor with stray urine. Aiming for the large porcelain hole in the centre of the toilet is not expertly practiced by all men. I know what you are probably thinking, “if you are a girl why don’t you sit to pee?” Well I do, mostly, but if I’m in a rush and I’m wearing clothing that doesn’t require an advanced yoga qualification to remove then on occasion I have performed the dark art of peeing while standing up. There you go, shame me if you wish but be honest, most of the trans girls reading this will say, “yeah I’ve done that too.” Even with all these things considered I’m still 100% committed to having this surgery and although it won’t define me as a woman because I already feel that I have done that, it will give me the comfort that my body no longer looks more male than female. I will not only look more feminine, but I will be able to function as a female in all aspects other than child birth and menstruation.
No I haven’t applied for a voucher for the cycle to work scheme, I’m talking about periods. Yes, I did go there, periods. I do not have a womb or ovaries so the physical aspects of the female monthly menstrual cycle are something I will never experience but believe it or not, a trans woman who is taking HRT (hormone replacement therapy) can experience the emotional changes that come with the menstrual cycle. One week of the month I want to kill people with fire, the next I want to hug them and cry while telling them that they are my best friend ever. Then I get a little down for a few days, then I need chocolate, and wine, and the cycle continues.
It is an incredible thing how nature affects the human body, the food we eat, how the body responds to its environment and what we put into it. Sometimes this can be a bad thing though. I have been taking oral oestrogen for the last 18 months as this was the recommendation of the gender clinic consultant. I have since researched HRT thoroughly and it seems that oral is not the safest way to take this medication, especially if you are over 40. I am reasonably healthy and my blood results are always fine but the results of my last 3 monthly blood test showed that my red cells were high and my liver function slightly above normal. I think it’s time to have a conversation about switching to patches. Aside from patches being a far safer option, they also consist of bio-identical oestrogen which is derived from plants although don’t ask me how. Oral oestrogen on the other hand is produced from the urine of pregnant mares. Yes you did read that right, I take a tablet each day that is essentially desiccated horse wee; nice…
So from now on the blog will take this new form. I will be giving monthly updates to my transition and anything else that comes along in that month rather than picking a specific topic to discuss with you. I think it gives the reader the opportunity to come along on the journey of transition with me, getting regular updates on what is going on. I hope that this will be beneficial to trans people who are considering coming out and are possibly suffering with gender dysphoria without knowing what they should expect once they make the decision to begin transition.
So to all those doing Veganuary, dry January and starting their New Year resolutions, keep up the good work and stay strong. Love to you all xxx.
Thanks for reading.
Amy Kate xx.