There are times when those outside of the family, those who come into our lives by other means, need a hand.
Since January we have had a friend of J’s living with us. It started off as a “Could E stay until the end of his course next week” and has stretched into a couple of months. It was evident pretty early on that this friend needed a shoulder, a hand to hold on to.
As a 21 year old transgender male, E had not accessed any services. Living in a rural part of NSW, just over the NSW / Vic border there was even confusion about where he should have initial appointments. Toss in parents who are, naturally, confused, angry and not accepting and we had a young man who could not go home, either to mum or dad.
I have had plenty of reason to thank the love of a benevolent god that led me to some amazing GP’s in my area. My GP has taken over Jeremy’s treatment as the clinic that I thought we were going to does not have the capacity to take over J’s regular testosterone shots. This lovely GP has also assisted E in accessing services so he now has a referral to the adult gender clinic in our city and will receive assessment and initial treatment. We have talked through this option and reassured him that this a good thing, despite some negative comments there is a perception that this clinic is not the best. What I will say is that those who speak highly, speak really highly of the treatment that they receive and that is good enough for me as a starter.
J is still looking for work. The small voice of my baby that asks “are employers looking at my Facebook and deciding that they don’t like me” is so full of self doubt that it tears at my heart. E is also looking for work, he is unable to access Centrelink as his parents both say that he can come home, which technically he could. But he is reluctant to go home to a place where his previous name is used or he is told that being transgender “isn’t a thing”. So they are home, trying to stay active and keep the house clean. E is doing some baby sitting. But I get that it is hard. Jeremy has a hotchpotch of ID, the guy can’t even buy beer because he can’t prove who he is and that is purely down to our disorganisation. E has to look for work using his previous name because this is all so new he has not had the resources to even take the first step.
With 1.2% (approx) of the population being transgender and with awareness of transgender issues growing, the limited resources that are established are not meeting the need in our state, unless you can pay. For some young people $60 for an initial GP consultation is beyond their means. I am eternally grateful that those services are there though. That doesn’t change the fact though that vulnerable young people need a helping hand navigating through the medical system.
I have no answer today. I have to keep in mind that each person’s journey is unique and there is never a one size fits all solution. I am pretty stoked that there is a light for E as he sends off his info and waits for his first appointment.