Hannah's story

What first brought you to GIDS?

I came to GIDS because I was having trouble with my gender identity. I felt excluded and didn’t fit in with my peers. I really wanted to explore my gender identity and get the support that I needed to be able to live my life as my authentic self.

What did you hope to get out of coming to the service?

Primarily, I wanted to get referred to go onto hormone blockers, and then eventually go onto hormones. I wanted to go through all the correct steps at a good and healthy pace where I felt listened to and supported correctly.

Can you remember your first appointment?

Yes! My first appointment was around 2016. I remember it quite well. I was with my dad. The building looks very daunting from the outside, like, ‘Is the right building for a service for young people?!’ It was a bit terrifying. When I entered there was a warm and a wonderful person on the front desk – very calming and collected. The inside was a much warmer environment than I imagined.

The building is quite big on the inside. When I got off the lift my therapist was waiting right by the lift. The room we went to at the far far end of the corridor – again it was quite daunting!

We got into the room and it was full of plants, and I remember that warm feeling came back. By the end of the appointment it was fantastic – I felt listened to and valued.

What has happened since?

I have now had my referrals for blockers. I had all the checks and blood tests. I was eventually referred to adult gender identity services, where I am now.

I am very content and very happy with where I am in my transition.

What was the most helpful about coming to GIDS?

The fact that you felt listened to. For the first time it’s like someone understood. It wasn’t like a shock, like ‘Hey, you’re trans, we don’t know what to do.’ Instead it was, ‘Okay, you are trans, how can we best help you?’ I think that this is the difference between a normal GP and someone who works at GIDS. They are a little bit more experienced. For the first time you feel that a medical professional knows where you are at in life, and how they can best support you.

What has been the least helpful?

The least helpful part is the lack of communication. When you get the information, it is good and detailed. But the frequency isn’t enough – it would be nice to be in the loop a bit more. Maybe every couple of months a little email saying, ‘Hey look, this is where we’re at right now.’ That would have helped put my mind at rest.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Be patient. No-one’s transition happens overnight. The influencers and actors that you might see online – it has taken them years. It’s hard to compare yourself to them, to think ‘Maybe I won’t pass for five years.’ You need to stick with the journey, instead of focussing on the end-point. Make every day a little bit better, by not comparing yourself, having that patience and believing in the process.

What advice would you give to others coming to GIDS?

Again it’s about not comparing yourself. It’s so easy to do, to see people online and think to yourself, ‘I want this, I want that.’ When I started my transition there won’t so many people online – this was before the trans influencers became so visible. TikTok wasn’t a thing yet. Online you can now see people who’ve been transitioning for ten years, for five years. In some ways it is nice to see the results of some people’s journeys; what you could expect. But try not to compare yourself. ‘Okay, I’ve just come out. Tomorrow I want to be on hormones and update my entire wardrobe.’ Don’t focus on the long goal necessarily – take it on a day-by-day basis.

What are your hopes for the future?

I want to get to a place in my transition, where my day-to-day life isn’t about transitioning. So I don’t need to think about, ‘Ugh, I need another referral for surgery.’ As much as it never gets to an end point, it will always be a continuous process, I am looking forward to it not being so prevalent in my day-to-day life.