Rational . . . us T people? You must be joking!
I know I struggle at times to think clearly about my situation; wrestle with the variety of dilemmas most TG people face; fight against the inner voices which confront me, cajole me to be Christine whenever I can (oh dear, I almost sound as if I’m some sort of schizophrenic); battle against the various options which leap before me, but, generally, I get through and in the cold light of day carry on with my T life, my existence, without getting into too much grief.
Clear thinking, organised and rational (what a lovely word rational is) for most of the time — that’s me.
I’m helpful too, and a good listener: which is probably why over the years I’ve become a sounding board for many T girls; become a confidante, become sort of a lay advisor, an unqualified (in the academic sense) counsellor if you will. And my goodness me, some of the girls I’ve been talking to of late really need someone to talk to.
That’s not to say that they are not already in counselling or therapy of sorts but sometimes the medical person they’re talking with just doesn’t quite get the whole picture. Sure they understand the clinical dimensions far better than me or you, they can appreciate to an extent the mental gymnastics which many T-girls endure, but they can’t empathise to that nth degree which we other Ts can; after all we know what our sisters are going through.
Here in Thailand, or Asia generally for that matter, limited professional counselling is available. Only limited advice and guidance can be obtained. In Hong Kong, for example, a city of some 7 million people, the GID unit is tiny — and overworked. Work it out. If less than 0.001% (an exaggeratedly low number in my view) of the population is TG, and 50% of these MtF, then this is potentially some 3,500 T patients.
In Thailand, on the other hand, it seems to me that most of the time it’s DIY (do it yourself). At the ages of about 11-12 many T people start dressing as the gender they were meant to be, start buying hormones without prescription from the local pharmacy and make their own plan to seriously start on the road to the required physical re-arrangement of their bodies.
It’s no wonder, therefore, that some of the people I know get into such messes. All rationality goes out of the proverbial window even before they start taking hormones which, for many people, play havoc with their emotions and thinking anyway.
I don’t pretend to be a professional and strongly advocate for people who speak with me to go and see the right doctor or other medical personnel, but some simply won’t or don’t listen. I’ll give you some examples of people I know in Thailand or elsewhere in Asia (no names to protect the innocent) to give you a sense of what I mean:
Married with 2 kids, but formally diagnosed as having GID; changed her passport into a female name; suffers from severe anorexia and clinical depression owing to her frustrations in not being able to transition (work, family etc); exercises every day to the extreme. Has started and stopped therapy four times as the results don’t come quick enough. Doesn’t accept that she needs to solve the eating disorder which might then help her depression; make her well enough to make a rational decision about her future. Doesn’t see a future ‘’as is.”
Single and was diagnosed with GID over 10 years ago; has been to the hospital twice to have SRS but backed out twice. Works in the region and moves from country to country seeking and obtaining fairly low paying jobs. Has never lived full time en-femme but, after a stalled attempt some months ago, has just had breast implant surgery, despite currently being unemployed (and needing to work to get enough for living, never mind any future surgery); a week ago she told me one breast has had to be temporarily removed owing to an incurable infection. Has no plan, lives day to day; can’t seem to get organised enough to work out how to progress.
In a relationship, but her partner seems to be coming to terms with her GID; has to really, I guess, as this lady has booked surgery in 3 weeks time in Chonburi with one of the famous doctors there; the cost will eat up all of her savings and she is uncertain about future work. Over time, the stress of having to change back to ‘male mode’ almost caused her to have a breakdown and she told me she was on the verge of suicide (as most readers know, the suicide rate is disproportionally high for pre — and post -op T girls).
As I said earlier, all I can do is listen; empathise, give whatever support I can (and continually suggest that the ladies in question go to seek professional help).
But when the right help doesn’t appear to exist what, in reality, can a T girl do?
After all, rational is not a word which appears in many TG’s vocabularies.
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