My name is Ciera, I am a 15-year-old trans girl and I use the pronouns; she/her. Ever since I have known that I was transgender, I went to see my local GP to discuss what the next steps for me were. My GP referred me to a Gender Identity Development Service in London (the Tavistock and Portman Centre), the only service that deals with under 18s.
At the time of my referral, there was a huge increase in children seeking help for having feelings of dysphoria with their sex. This meant that the referral being sent in September 2015, with the 18-week waiting list supposedly leading to me having an appointment in January 2016, had to be postponed.
Throughout the next half a year, I was desperately waiting for my appointment, feeling lost without having any recognition from Tavistock about how I was feeling. The T Party (part of the Young Transgender Centre of Excellence) helped me tremendously, and it was great to socialise with other like-minded people. Finally, in May, I got my appointment for 29th June 2016, and I was over the moon. I started to feel worthy, and motivated. Bring on the 29th!
It was the day of my appointment, and I had the day off school, bonus! My mind was swirling with thoughts on how the day was going to go, and I was just hoping for everything to go smoothly and productively. After it taking two hours to get from Leicester to London, I arrived at the clinic, checked in and waited in a small waiting room with my Mum and Dad.
Our appointment was scheduled for 12, we arrived at 11:45, and were seen at about 12:20. When given directions as to where to go to see the psychiatrists, we were greeted by them as soon as the lift doors opened, which was very reassuring. They lead me to one of their offices, and we started the session off by introducing ourselves and our pronouns, which I thought was very respectful. I then spoke about how I have been feeling the whole of my life, with depression and anxiety because of the gender I was assigned at birth, and who I identify as, why I was there and briefly what I would like and see for myself in the future.
My Mum and Dad were also asked questions on how they were when I first told them how I felt, how they feel now, if any progress had been made and also what they wanted for me in the future.
To conclude, the two psychiatrists had a picture painted on who I was, and what needed to be done next, and I am now waiting for the next three appointments to hopefully complete the assessment period and then be eligible for hormone treatment. A wonderful first appointment, a weight has certainly been lifted off my chest.
I feel very safe in the hands of Tavistock, and I cannot wait for what the future holds.