A Personal Message From KNOWhomo Moderator, Cael:
Most resources for trans* people who are transitioning are located in bigger cities, but some websites (such as Laura’s Playground) can help you find counselors, physicians, and support groups even in less-urban areas. Until recently, I was aware of only one gender therapist in my area (who did not take insurance), but thanks to this list of trans* resources compiled by the Virginia Department of Health, I was able to find another who does take insurance. My first appointment was yesterday, and I wanted to share my experience with you because I was originally very apprehensive.
I pulled up to a big house on the outskirts of downtown, debating whether or not to remain in the car and listen to the last of “Being Alive” which had just come on shuffle. I paused it and walked up the steps when I looked at the clock. After handing over the paperwork I had filled out prior to the appointment, my insurance card, and copay, I sat down in the waiting room, the original living room of the house. A man called me into his office, and I sat down on a black leather button couch.
We started with introductions before questions about any previous gender therapy, any support groups, how my family and friends have handled my transition. Then we moved on to when I started living as Cael (2 years ago), when I first remember experiencing dysphoria, how I experience my dysphoria, when I changed my name, and finally, what I want out of therapy. I talked to him about letters for changing my gender marker and for top surgery and T, which he said shouldn’t be a problem considering my history. The problem now is finding doctors willing to prescribe T in the area, but he said he could come up with some suggestions while I ask around. We talked for a while about trans* things, family, and other random parts of my life: horses, poetry, work, research. Before I left, since I have not had any previous therapy, he asked me to write down a timeline of my experience with dysphoria and being trans* and how I have handled everything so he could have a history for our next appointment.
It’s exciting to be taking that next step, to be moving forward. I have a habit of getting stuck, and my apprehension was not helping. But it was a good experience, and I’m looking forward to the next appointment and the next steps in my transition.