auntysarah: (Default)
The Bringer of Tea ([personal profile] auntysarah) wrote2010-11-10 23:26

Charing Cross Myths

The following document has come to my attention. It is something that has been produced by clinicians at the West London Mental Health Trust (i.e. Charing Cross Gender Identity Clinic), I guess as part of a patient/community relations exercise, and aims to detail some commonly held beliefs about the clinic and contrast them with their view. I am told that all the clinicians have signed up to it. Here's the document - feel free to pass it around, and I hope it proves helpful!

The WLMHT (“Charing Cross”) Gender Identity Clinic has existed in one form or another since the early 1960s, and clinical practice is constantly evolving. It is perhaps inevitable that, in that time, a number of false beliefs and misconceptions have arisen.

Not all these beliefs are “myths” in the sense of having always been untrue – some stem from the way the GIC operated in the past, or the approaches of previous clinicians – but all are outdated, and unreflective of current treatment protocol.

The following, then, are examples of commonly held beliefs about the WLMHT GIC which are untrue:

You have to wear a skirt to the GIC
Perhaps the most widely cited misconception, this is not the case. As part of the Real Life Experience (RLE), male-to-female transitioners are expected to present themselves in female role 100% of the time, and sometimes it is relevant to discuss this in clinic appointments. However, the range of feminine apparel is, obviously, wide and varied, and cannot simply be reduced to “wear a skirt”.

A less common variant holds that female-to-male transitioners must wear a suit and tie to be taken seriously at the GIC. This too is without basis.

You have to be living "in role"
Not the case. We see people who experience gender related distress; some are pre- transition, some do not undergo transition at all. All are valid referrals to our service.

You have to want surgery
Not at all. Not everyone needs or wants gender related surgery.

You have to be suicidal
On the contrary, it is important that those undergoing transition be stable, physically and psychologically. It is not unusual for us to see people who have, as a result of their gender distress, been depressed – sometimes to the point of suicidality – but we would hope that, as transition progresses, this gradually improves.

You have to be heterosexual
We have heard health professionals say this of the clinic, but it is patently ridiculous. It would be grossly unethical of us to insist on heterosexuality in our patients.

You can't admit to doubt
Transition is, for many, a major life change and it would be unusual to have no doubts whatsoever. You should feel comfortable discussing feelings of doubt with your clinicians.

You have to give a standard trans narrative
As the UK’ s largest gender clinic, we see a huge diversity of people, and neither wish nor expect you to tailor your own experiences to a set of clichés. Just be honest.

The GIC will start you at the beginning again
This was our practice in decades past. In the last decade or so, it has been standard practice to acknowledge previous time spent in the preferred gender role. Typically, we “back date” the start of transition to the start of living in role full time as well as making an official name change or equivalent.

The GIC will stop your hormones
No. Our concern is that you take hormones safely. We routinely carry out blood tests at the first appointment, and may advise accordingly, but we generally do not ask people to stop hormones on which they are established.

The GIC will penalise you for having gone private/self-medicated
Obviously, we cannot approve of self-medication as it can be dangerous and often leads to a poorer result than that gained under medical supervision. However, we recognise that it is a modern reality, though, and do not penalise you for it. The same is true of previous contact with private practitioners.

It will take forever
Within the limits of available NHS resources, we aim to provide a timely and efficient service.

They deliberately play Good Cop/Bad Cop
Different clinicians have different approaches, and will form different therapeutic relationships with their patients. Choice of clinician is determined by availability of appointment slots, not by any sort of organised Good/Bad Clinician policy.

November 2010
jessie_c: Me in my floppy hat (Default)

[personal profile] jessie_c 2010-11-11 00:58 (UTC)(link)
File off the name and you've got the policies of The Cluck, except for the fact that CX says they're not doing those anymore.

when did all this start ?

(Anonymous) 2010-11-11 17:14 (UTC)(link)
Cos it wasn't operative when I transitioned about 5 - 6 years ago.

I was fortunate enough to be able to go private with Russel Reid who took me through the process without a hitch. But I heard a series of horror stories from others I knew who were obliged to suffer the indignities of CX.

Other gender clinics

(Anonymous) 2010-11-24 01:52 (UTC)(link)
Do Charing Cross have contact with any other gender clinics?

I'm currently having a hell of a time with one some distance away, in Wales. Referrals for counseling and endocrinology that didn't happen at all, and a hostile first, and so far only, appointment that left me in tears. I was told that I would have to "start again" in those exact words, despite transitioning in 1999, and when I asked if I could have a letter for a GRC I was greeted with laughter and "well I can write one, but that doesn't mean you'll get it." When I expressed concern that in my 30s I was starting to get older, my concern was dismissed with laughter again, and the admonition that I was better off than most of the patients currently being seen, in their 50s and 60s. Several letters asking for more information about what was going on, sent by my GP, were ignored.

On top of this, when my GP wrote to the local health board alerting them to my intention, and requesting that they put aside money for funding, he received a letter back saying that surgery was not being funded at all. This is despite a public announcement stating that it would be, around two years ago.

I feel trapped - if I leave Wales then I have to start all over again, again, but no-one here seems to care about me apart from the counselor that I finally got to see six months after I got over my depression.

Charing Cross Rules are not patient centred

(Anonymous) 2010-12-10 14:54 (UTC)(link)
Charing Cross rules are archaic, why do they require the patient to be in full time work in order to get treatment. A non passable girl is unlikely to get a job, especially in the worst recession in living memory, when 100's of thousands of public sector jobs are to be axed. If Charing Cross continue with this kind of protocol, it could and will delay treatment indefinately and could lead to suicides.

Re: Charing Cross Rules are not patient centred

(Anonymous) 2012-05-02 11:32 (UTC)(link)
They will do anything to make you go Privet. It's all about money. They fronted by Herr James Barrett are the Gate-keepers for the N.H.S. They cherry pick certain people to go through, so it looks like there doing a good job. There is a black list,I know someone who used to work there and I'm on it.