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The title of this post relates to me entering my last few weeks as a rogue trans woman, a free radical operating outside the confines of the National Health Service or other recognised provider in care for gender dysphoria. So I’m in the “calm” period. In other words, 90% of this post is about “Kirsty did this then Kirsty did that”. And then there’s a good bit at the end.

Saturday before last I had a very enjoyable day with the lovely Andrea. We spent a late afternoon round a few shops (with her doing the purchasing and me doing the browsing). Actually, my browsing did take on a practical tone as I am starting to think in terms of what sort of things I will be wearing to work. My current wardrobe is full of either casual wear or the type of thing you wear to a nice restaurant. It is sadly lacking in professional-looking office wear. I managed to get a lot of comfort that there would be a reasonable selection for me to choose from in an appropriate size. I have wittered on frequently and at length about my height, so I won’t labour that point further other than to note that I was surprised to realise that M&S Long Fit ladies trousers are so long that I would have to wear them with heels. Flats would cause the hem of the trouser leg to scrape the ground. I saw several pairs of trousers, neat little knee-length pencil skirts, blouses and tops, even a few smart dresses that would definitely work in my office. And I can’t even believe I’m writing that.

Anyway, after Andrea had finished off her purchases we made for a restaurant that she has wanted to go to for a while, but which neither of us had actually been to before: The Mourne Seafood Bar. It is safe to say we were both impressed. Quite a casual ambience (just as well considering I was in denim mini skirt, black opaques and a ¾ sleeve jumper) but very welcoming with really friendly waiting staff. It was also quite noteworthy that the main, glossy menu only had two main courses on it.  By contrast, the A4-sheet-on-a-clipboard list of specials was rather extensive.  It felt as if the menu was determined by that morning’s catch.

My starter was quite possibly the best bowl of seafood chowder I have ever eaten, and as my friends will tell you, I will always order chowder if it’s available. Usually it’s like a creamy broth with lumps of seafood in. This was more like a pile of fish had been blitzed in a blender, then combined with bigger lumps of fish. It was just so fish-ey (as it contained a large quantity of fish, not because it was suspicious). My main of seabass was also very good, but it was just very good. Dessert wasn’t too bad either, chocolate fondant done to perfection. But the chowder was the sort of dish that you daydream about weeks later, as I am in fact doing right now. I can’t wait to go back.

We rounded our evening off with a trip to the cinema to see “Our Kind Of Traitor”, a John Le Carre adaptation with Ewan McGregor. I enjoyed it, although I thought it ended rather abruptly. Nothing more to say.

Last Wednesday I was able to get away from work a little early and so had arranged to meet up with some old friends in the centre of Belfast. Jonathan, Deirdre and Vincent, about whom I have written before. I’ll not go into a blow-by-blow account, it was just a very nice and pleasant evening with some people who have all known me as Bob for over 20 years, and who now seem to accept me as Kirsty with (to me) surprising ease. Unfortunately as we were all in a group I never got to ask Jonathan about his suspected blanking of me a week or two previously, but you can’t have everything. It was a beautiful evening so we sat outside for quite a while, which suits Jonathan as he is a smoker, but while outside I remembered to take a quick selfie for the first time in a while so I have something to stick on this blog.

As I was giving Vincent a lift home it became apparent that even though I had told him the last time I saw him back in February that I planned to go full time next year, the penny was only just dropping with him what that actually meant. Specifically what it means with regard to medical intervention. I’m not even sure I have the vocabulary to accurately describe his apparent reaction. Not exactly surprised, but not blasé either. Like he hadn’t realised, but did realise that he should have realised. Whatever, he then said something like “Just so long as you know that whatever you do, you’re my friend. I like you, whether that’s Bob or Kirsty. And if this will make you happier, then you need to do it”. I must admit I choked up for a second.

This Wednesday was a little more standard, I had intended to go out with both Michelle and Andrea but at the last minute Andrea was unable to make it, so Michelle and I had a very enjoyable meal and chat in one of our favourite haunts Ed’s Bar & Grill in Lisburn. It was rather nice, and as we are becoming semi-regulars the manager came over and said it was nice to see us again, and on the whole we were extremely well attended to all night. It was such a beautiful warm evening that we actually walked from the Butterfly Club HQ to the restaurant and back again. I was also able to wear for the first time a maxi-dress that I had bought at a knockdown price at the end-of-season sale at M&S last September. Finally a nice enough day to wear it. And to add to what I was saying about M&S long fitting ladies trousers earlier, this maxi dress is also in a long fit. I would have expected a long fitting dress to be aimed at women in the 5’8” to 5’11” range of heights. I am 6’2” and it covers my ankles. Any shorter than about 5’10” and I’d be tripping over it. So when M&S say long, they really mean it.

But now the update on the doctor situation. Last time round I wrote about how frustrating and at times upsetting an experience it had been to try and repeatedly fail to get an appointment with my doctor. I have been trying and failing to get an appointment since 4th May, and my last conversation with the surgery was on 23rd May when I was informed that the doctor was booked solid until 17th June, and appointments for week commencing 20th June would not be available for booking until the end of this week. Despite all this, I have continued to log on to the “Patient Access” app every day, clicking “Book appointment” and then being told that no appointments were available. But I kept doing it because, well you never know do you. Then on Tuesday night at around 11pm I clicked into the app and there was an appointment available. With my own GP. On Monday morning.  Monday 6th June.  Monday next week. Monday four days away Monday. A cancellation. Suddenly the adrenaline surged in me. It felt to me like all the talk about transition and surgery and coming out at work and all that was just talk, and we know how cheap that is. This wasn’t talk. This was actually doing something real. I was only jabbing my finger on a screen, but when I clicked on “Book Appointment” it felt like I had done something for real. Of course, as I said to Michelle last night, there remains the possibility that I will turn up to the appointment, completely lose my nerve and just tell the doctor I have had a bit of a cough.

So to go back to my preamble about the title of the post, I hope the picture is clearer now. When I write my next post, I will have spoken to my doctor about my gender, and it will be noted on my medical record that I identify as a transgender woman and intend to transition. I will be officially trans, with the legal protection that brings. And most importantly, I will be on the conveyor belt. Dates for everything aren’t hugely significant yet, I just need to get the process started. It starts on Monday.