This post is PART 33 in a guest blogger series following author Rachael's transition from an A.M.A.B (Assigned Male at Birth) individual to that of a self-identified trans woman.
If you are just discovering Queer as me, start the story from the beginning here.
It was in April of 2013 that I was able to meet up with a psychiatrist, to get my letter of referral to a gender therapist. Three visits were required, not only to present as your true gender if you can, but also to make sure that this was what you needed to be happy. I was lucky to have a wonderful doctor that allowed me to see his assistant. This helped to keep the cost down as I was only working part time at the library.
The first time I went to see his assistant I had gone wearing a long black wig, freshly shaven and trembling with anxiety. Thank goodness it was still cool out that I could hide in my winter coat. The first time you go out in public trying to look like yourself is nerve wracking. It felt like the longest trip I had ever taken on the C-Train, I kept my face to the window, constantly looking at my watch and wishing that the train would go faster.
I finally arrived at the closest station to his office. I still had a good twenty minute walk to make before I would be able to be out of the public eye. It’s strange that I didn’t care who looked at me nor what I looked like for so many years, that this change was to be honest quite startling. It felt like a thousand ants crawling over my body I believed that the people who I would walk past were peeling away my clothes with their eyes seeing the fake person hiding underneath. As I quickly walked then almost ran through the surrounding back alleys I felt dirty and ashamed, like I was being bad, that I was wrong.
It had been a few decades since I felt this way.
I had forgotten how it felt to look different again.
I was just about to turn around, when I came out of the last alley and saw that I was only a block away from the doctor's building. Deep breath, I walked as quickly as I could down 14th street with my hood covering my head I watched the ground carefully to make sure I didn’t stumble. I waited until traffic was slow and then in a burst of speed ran across the street and through the building’s glass door. I was almost there. A quick look at the directory and I walked to the elevator and pressed the button for the third floor. Just a few more moments. The doors opened and I walked out into a deserted hallway. Thank goodness that the first right hallway took me to the door to the sexual health centre. I opened the door and finally felt some feeling of relief as the door closed behind me, I was safe.
I fell exhausted into one of the chairs in the waiting area, I had felt like I ran a marathon. I waited and waited, when no one showed up to the reception desk I was worried that I got the time wrong. I pulled open the sheet of paper that I had written down all the information six weeks prior. Yes, I was here in the right address and certainly the right time. So I cautiously took off my jacket and then jumped as a voice behind me said “hello, oh, I’m sorry for startling you”. The voice came from a young lady who proceeded to offer me refreshments.
I just realized that my voice was that of a croaking frog. Coughing I asked for water please. After she gave me the glass of ice cold water I was able to offer my thanks properly. She then gave me the usual office forms to fill out, which helped to settle my thoughts and relax my body on the normalcy of it all. As it always seems to me when I was filling those things out, I returned my life history on paper that she gave me. I was unable to ask her any questions as she was on a phone call. No matter, it seemed, as the doctor’s assistant showed up moments later. We introduced ourselves and then I followed her back to one of the many rooms that lined the hallway.
It was time.
Editor’s Note: To read Queer as me – Part 34: Words of importance, click here. Or click here to read the previous blog post Queer as me – Part 32: Beginning the journey with eyes wide open. For the latest LSOP blog posts and so much more, make sure to add us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.