In January 2012, I started my transition.
I started laser hair removal and I saw a psychologist for a session every week. After three months, I started seeing a psychiatrist. In the very first session he gave me the OK for full hormone treatment. I was so happy.
A few days later, my car was written off in an accident and my life was once again in tatters.
I thought, once again, I was being punished. The thought of being a man filled me with disgust and the suicide thoughts started again. I prayed and cried a lot during that time. I was in survival mode.
Every day was a battle, but then I think that God heard my prayers.
I got huge discount on a new vehicle. I got financial help from my mother (She still doesn’t know about my personal battle). The lady who did my laser treatments, and now one of my closest friends, helped me to make a new plan to continue my treatments. She also help me to get onto testosterone blockers.
Having to pay for my own transition is tough. I prayed one day to God and asked help with my hormones. It was just too expensive. A month later, a friend that had gone through the sex change gave me the option of getting the medication at half price. Once again a prayer was answered.
It has been 20 months since I started my transition. Laser treatments are done on my face, chest and tummy. Treatments are 80% complete on my back and underarms. I've been on the blockers for 12 months. The medication stops all male related “side effects”. The irony is that my breasts have grown to a B-cup on its own. My body, therefore, produces enough estrogen on its own for breast development. Results would be better if I' were on full hormones, but I am happy. It is just extremely sensitive and painful at times.
I took the next step of my transition at the end of July 2013. I saw an endocrinologist for the first time. I am so thankful that I found Dr X because she really looks after her patients extremely well.
When I first saw her, I had the difficult task of explaining who and what I was. She asked some very difficult questions. I only felt guilty when answering questions about my family. I said my mother doesn’t want anything to do with me. In my mind, I still believe my mother will throw me away. I grew up in a household with 'conditional' love. I can’t see that changing. I can only see rejection and probably emotional blackmail in my future.
After our long discussion, she examined me.
I was born different
I should probably share some intimate and very important information. There was a time I believed I was born with both male and female genitalia. I had this scar between my legs. I did a lot of research and eventually found an article about the perineal raphe. In this article it was mentioned that the perineal raphe was often mistaken for proof of some kind of intersex condition. It was something natural. I told my doctor about it and during the examination she had a look. I told her that my parents and doctor at the time had told me I had a hernia operation when I was a child.
After the examination she told me that my male genitalia where a lot smaller than normal. She confirmed my breast development and that I was already a B-cup. She said that she didn’t find any proof of a hernia operation and she scheduled me for a sonar to verify this. She also told me that my scar was not anything natural and that she, as a specialist in her field, had never seen that kind of scar on any patient.
She referred me to the Steve Biko Academic Hospital (a public hospital) for further tests. I am thankful she helped me to go to this hospital, because I could never cover the costs of all the tests she wanted to do on me. Our public healthcare system works well, but you do need to have time on your hands since you have to wait a lot. Medical insurance doesn’t cover anything related to my transition.
Everything went well with the tests. The next day I had my sonar done. The sonar confirmed that I never had a hernia operation. The sonar showed I was healthy, but once again confirmed my genitalia where smaller than normal. The doctor and I had a long discussion about my future. She said she would be happy to put me on oestrogen as soon as she had all my test results and I began seeing a psychiatrist. She wanted to see me a month later and we would discuss the psychiatrist issue then.
In August, I went to the hospital again to get my medication and see my doctor. If you receive state of the art healthcare for almost free, you can’t complain too much about waiting 7 hours to get everything done. Despite the waiting, you have to be grateful. I just had a check up and my doctor referred me to a psychiatrist at Steve Biko Hospital.
The last task for the day, I had to get my medication. Another 2 hour wait. I was so bored, I opened my doctor’s reference letter to the psychiatrist. I was shocked by some of the details she revealed in the letter. In the letter to the psychiatrist, she revealed that I had female genitalia.
All the theories I had, all the questions I had, will probably be answered in the next few months. I have to wait to get the chromosome results. I’m happy that I’ve come this far. But, I am very annoyed knowing that my parents and doctors probably caused the struggles I’ve had for the the last 34 years.
The wrong decisions were made regarding who I am. Those decisions are the cause for most of the pain I’ve had to face my entire life. Not to mention the hell I had to go through with the church. Yolanda will always believe in God, but I will never put my foot in a church again.
In October 2013, I had my first session with the psychiatrist at Steve Biko. Everything went well with our session. The happiest moment for me was the fact that no one there actually realised I was transgender. They where all shocked and the positive was that they all complimented me on the way I looked and presented myself. I will see the doctor again soon for a full psychiatric evaluation.
Read part three here.
*Transgender is a term often used to describe a person that expresses their gender identity different from that which they are born, therefore someone born male present themselves as female and someone born female present themselves as male.
If you are transgender or intersex, and are looking for support, contact OUT or Gender Dynamix.
Follow Women24 on Twitter and like us on Facebook.