A question that I get asked a lot is ‘how did you get testosterone so quickly?’ It’s an understandable question really – I’ve been out as transgender for three months and I’m starting T already, seemingly cutting out an entire process of waiting for a Gender Clinic.
The reason why I’ve managed to get testosterone so soon is because of a bridging prescription. I briefly discussed it in my last post, but I want to discuss it in more detail. Basically, a bridging prescription does what it says on the tin – it ‘bridges’ the gap between the point of referral to a Gender Clinic and your initial appointment there. Because of the increasing waiting times to see a Gender Clinic, there has been an increase in self-harm, self-medication and even suicide in transgender individuals. So, the Royal College of Psychiatrists said in their ‘Good Practice Guidelines for the Assessment and Treatment of Adults With Gender Dysphoria’ (yeah, it’s a mouthful isn’t it…) that the patient’s GP may, if they feel comfortable, prescribe hormones as a harm reduction strategy whilst the patient waits to be seen by the Gender Clinic.
“…the GP or other medical practitioner involved in the patient’s care may prescribe ‘bridging’ endocrine treatments as part of a holding and harm reduction strategy while the patient awaits specialised endocrinology or other gender identity treatment and/or confirmation of hormone prescription elsewhere or from patient records” – Good Practice Guidelines… Page 25
So, I did my research – I looked up what baseline blood tests I needed, what brands of testosterone were available and what dose was recommended and how frequently I’d need to be monitored and I printed it all out alongside a copy of the Good Practice Guidelines. I took it to my GP, who found it interesting and useful, and my baseline blood tests were the booked.
I had the blood tests on November 10th, and went back to see my GP a week later on the 16th (so..uh..yesterday.) My blood results all came back fine, so he printed out my prescription and told me to come back and see him in a month’s time to see how I’m getting on. (Also, side note, he wrote me a letter so that I could get my gender marker changed on my passport.)
I went to the nearby Boots pharmacy and asked if they had my prescription in stock. I was half expecting them to say that they didn’t, but they could ‘order it and it’d be here on Saturday.’ But to my surprise, the pharmacist returned and simply said “yeah that’s fine, we’re getting it for you now.” Ten minutes later, my name was called out and just like that, I had my hands on my first box of testosterone.
This morning (18/11/16) marked the day I officially started testosterone. I got up early, took a shower, then applied my first dose at 7.30. So far, there’s been no change, but hey – I’ve only been on T for 8 hours. Regardless, I’m just happy that I’m here, and that I’ve taken the first step in becoming the person I want to be.
((For those wondering, I’m on 5g (50mg) of Testogel every morning. It’s an alcohol-based gel that I apply to my shoulders, arms and stomach and within 5 minutes it’s almost totally absorbed.))