About this tag:
I use the gender identity tag on all posts to do with my gender identity. There's rather a lot of these. I have various subgroups of this tag that you can find on the tag list page.
As most readers of my journal know, I am a transgender woman. As part of the process of transitioning, I've been changing the names of the various accounts I use online.
I encountered a roadblock when I wanted to change my Steam username, but couldn't because of Steam's policy that accounts cannot be renamed. (That situation eventually got resolved when you guys spread the word about what was going on, but at the time it was really frustrating.)
Since then I've been keeping track of whether their policy has changed. That appears not to be the case, sadly - one-and-a-half years ago I asked if anything had changed, and the answer was no. And now, it appears as if Steam is at it again, in exactly the same way as it did three-and-a-half years ago with my original request.
A new friend of mine, Katy (kateunafraid) is trying to get Steam support to change her username.
( Here's how her ticket started (ticket 4642-QTSL-8416, reproduced with permission) )Oh hey, I recognise this. That's exactly the same stock answer they sent me, with just the name of the menu option to click changed.
Now, like me, Katy has already done all this. Changing the names that are visible to other people isn't the issue here; the issue is changing the username itself.
As I stated in the follow-up post when this was resolved for me:
...a username is not just an arbitrary selection of letters and numbers. That is to say, from a technical perspective it is, but in all other respects it's part of an identity. For a lot of people, that identity overlaps with their real life identity, and if that identity changes, it only makes sense that the username should be able to be changed along with it.
Now, it's true that a lot of sites don't have the ability to change your usernames. Conversely, however, those same sites often do not involve financial transactions, or if they do, they normally allow at least an option to transfer any purchased assets to another account.
Steam doesn't even do that. What Steam expects you to do if you want to change username is to register a new account and re-purchase ALL your games. If you don't do that, you will be forced to either split your games between two different accounts, or to leave Steam entirely.
Um, no. Nobody should ever have to give up hundreds, even thousands of dollars' worth of games because of an identity change. Yet that is exactly what's happening with many people in the same situation. Why is this allowed?
You may remember that in my post one-and-a-half years ago where I asked Steam staff if they had made any policy changes
, I outlined a deliberately narrow group to ask about, because I felt that if any policy change had been made, it would apply to the people within these criteria:
...having had a legal name change (with evidence in the form of legally-recognised documentation such as a deed poll or statutory declaration), a username which was clearly based on their old name, and a clean VAC record...
I believe the option to change username should be available, at the very least, to people who meet these criteria. I would not be fundamentally opposed to this username change being subject to an additional charge, but I do believe that if you fit these criteria, imposing an additional charge on top of the charges already incurred by obtaining the legally-recognised evidence doesn't really make sense.
I don't believe that these criteria are unreasonable, and Katy meets all three. That being the case, I believe that it's reasonable to ask Steam to allow Katy to change her Steam username, hence this post.
As with the last time this happened, this is a public post on DW (as are most of my posts). Please feel free to link to it from elsewhere if you agree!
(Subscribers to this journal should watch for another post after this one that I'm going to make access-only; I'm writing an email to Gabe to hopefully get this sorted out for all trans people, and I'd like your thoughts on it!)
I'm so sorry for seemingly dropping off the face of the Earth. (Or at least Dreamwidth; I've been pretty active elsewhere, but still.)
Lots of things have happened since the last time I posted. Let's go through them!
- Firstly, I got copied on this letter from Dr James Barrett to my GP (a transcription of which is below for those who need it), asking my GP to prescribe me estradiol valerate (a form of oestrogen), along with an anti-androgen in the form of a gonadotropin-releasing hormone analogue called Decapeptyl (yes, that is the correct link; Decapeptyl is a brand name for Triptorelin). Finally, it asks for a two-week prescription of cyproterone acetate to prevent the so-called "flare effect" associated with using GnRH agonists; namely, at the start of treatment, testosterone levels will actually go *up* before they go down. The cyproterone acts as a testosterone blocker, but is pretty harsh on the body, which is why it's only ever prescribed for a short period of time.
( A transcription of the letter )
This is all what I was expecting to get the first time round when I went to my GP to collect the prescriptions, but didn't get at the time. (There was a small change; I was expecting Zoladex (goserelin acetate) as the GnRH analogue because I knew that's what some trans friends of mine were on. Instead, I'm on Decapeptyl, which I hadn't heard about before now.)
- With an actual letter having been sent, this time I managed to get the prescriptions easily. Getting the actual medications, though, proved to be a bit more difficult, because I was just about to have a five-day break with cxcvi in Cardiff, which involved driving there and then back, taking three hours each way. I didn't want to risk not being able to do that, and besides, there really wasn't any time. Because of that, I decided to take the prescriptions with me, get the medications in Cardiff, and then drive home and see what I could do with them.
- I didn't have any problems in getting the medications, but one thing that I discovered was that rather than the Progynova (estradiol valerate) I was expecting, I got Estelle Solo (estradiol hemihydrate) instead. It turned out that my GP had put just "estradiol" on the prescription, rather than specifically saying "estradiol valerate" as they had done the last time. From everything I can see, however, they should be interchangeable. I think I'll ask the GIC about it just in case though.
- I knew that the Decapeptyl was going to have to be injected, and when I had asked the GP to write the prescriptions, my GP (or rather, the GP I was seeing - my own GP wasn't working that day) said that it would probably be a good idea to have the first injection done at the local hospital, and have them show me how it was done so that subsequent injections could be done by myself. That seemed logical to me.
So, on my way back from Cardiff, I stopped by at the hospital and tried to find out what I could. To cut a (very) long story short, I was told that the GP had got it wrong for two reasons. Firstly, the hospital didn't do this sort of thing; it'd need to be done by the nurse at my surgery. Secondly, Decapeptyl is an intramuscular injection, meaning an injection directly into a muscle. In this case, it's normally done in the patient's bottom, and as such it wasn't something I would be able to do myself at all; I'd always have to have it administered by someone else. So I called my GP back and have made an appointment to have that done.
And that's about everything regarding my transition so far! My appointment to be injected is on the 13th of April - just over a week from now. From that point is what I'll consider to be my true
beginning of hormones, since the estradiol on its own won't be doing a lot without an anti-androgen!
(In fact, to put a frame of reference on it - today I noticed that my nipples are getting sore. This is a normal part of the process, but it normally happens in 2-3 days after starting, assuming an anti-androgen is in place. For me, though, it's been 2-3 months instead. Things should drastically speed up once I'm on the anti-androgen though!)
I've been slacking with taking pictures a bit since I wasn't actually going anywhere fast, but once I start the new meds I'll definitely start again. (And no, nobody's missed anything; I haven't posted any to my journal yet.)
Again, apologies for falling off Dreamwidth! I hope this update was enough to assure you that things are happening. :D
I started on hormones today! :D
When last we left our heroine on her adventures, she had come back from the GIC with an assurance that she would be prescribed hormones. The way this would work was they'd write to my GP and ask him to prescribe them.
I was hoping it wouldn't take as long as this for me to actually get them, though! I had tried calling the GIC on the 30th of December, and they hadn't yet written the letter. Based on the information they gave me, I decided to book an apppointment with my GP on the 20th of January (two days ago now).
So, on Friday, I went to the appointment I had booked with my doctor, in the hopes that the GIC would have by now contacted them. They had indeed, and I managed to leave with a prescription for Progynova. I started on the first tablet today, and I'm so glad I'm finally starting!
There is a snag, though. I was told by Dr Barrett that I would also be prescribed LHRH analogues, which would reduce my testosterone level. (Specifically, I was expecting Zoladex.) Because LHRH analogues trigger a testosterone spike in the first few weeks of usage, I was also going to be prescribed Androcur to cover me for that period. However, the letter they sent to my GP only mentioned the Progynova and nothing else other than a vitamin D supplement (as it's quite low).
I looked around and it seems to be safe to take the hormones without the Zoladex, and it'll still have an effect, so I'm starting on that now (2mg Estradiol valerate, once a day) and I'm going to call the GIC on Monday to find out what's up.
I'm going to be taking regular photographs of my body during all this. I suspect I'll post them to a filter like I did on LJ (which will crosspost to the same filter on LJ, so don't worry about that, LJ people - you won't be missing anything!), but I need to figure out whether I'll do that or not, first. I probably will.
Anyway, YAY AM FINALLY ON HORMONES. It's only taken, what, years. ;p
I know I haven't posted for a while, and I know a lot of people are probably wondering if I'm okay and what happened with my GIC appointment on the 5th. I'm sorry for not posting!
I'm okay, and the GIC appointment went okay. They're going to ask my GP to prescribe me hormones and LHRH analogues, which is great. :)
You might be wondering why it only went "okay". That's because the person I spoke with, Dr James Barrett, at one point reduced me to tears because I thought he wasn't going to do this based on what he said. I get the impression that he believes hormones are probably not the right choice for me, but that he's going to prescribe them anyway so I can see this for myself.
He didn't say it in those words, obviously, and who knows, he may even be right. (I try to be open-minded to what people say, even though I personally feel wholeheartedly that I do need this.) But, dude. I did *not* need that. :(
I haven't yet heard from my GP or the GIC as to what to do next, so come Monday I'm going to try to make some calls, I think.
As for why I haven't been posting, I've been feeling rather low on energy lately and haven't been wanting to speak to people. I tried making an entry a few days ago but couldn't finish it, and I felt like it wasn't fair to make an entry without letting you guys know what happened on the 5th, so I didn't post anything. I'm sorry.
So, I promised people on Twitter I would write a post about how my second GIC appointment went. If you want to remind yourself about how my first appointment went, here's the post I made about it. Like last time, snowfields accompanied me to the GIC, although this time he stayed in the waiting room.
The second appointment didn't go as planned. The main reason for this is that, as you'll have noticed in the post I just linked, my second appointment was meant to be on November 10th.
No, I didn't forget what date it was supposed to be on! But some miscommunication meant that I was under the impression the appointment had been moved to the 14th.
A few weeks ago, I had received a letter from the GIC with appointment details on them. Because of the proximity to the actual appointment date, and because I only knew about the appointment I had earlier booked, I had assumed it was a simple reminder letter. But it was different to how I expected it to be, because the appointment listed on it was on the 14th instead of the 10th.
Later on, I called the GIC about this. I first asked to confirm the appointment for the 14th, to make sure that was correct, which it was. I then asked why the appointment date had changed from the 10th to the 14th. The receptionist wasn't able to tell me why it might have happened, eventually concluding that it had probably been rescheduled because the person I would be seeing had no clinic on that day.
Of course, the reason she was unable to tell me why it had changed was because that particular appointment *hadn't* actually changed; it was a second appointment with no relation to the first. I had assumed that the letter meant that the date had changed, when it hadn't.
So, it turned out I had missed the appointment for the 10th to see the second psychiatrist (the first being Dr. Andrew Davies, as detailed in the other post). It turned out that *this* appointment was to see an endocrinologist about the results of the blood test that I'd had done last time (and which I see I failed to mention in the post - sorry!). Apparently there were some abnormalities in my blood test results and they wanted to ask questions about me and my family, and examine me physically.
It turned out that the blood test results showed that I had a higher level of FSH than is normal. Based on this (and possibly the physical examinations - I can't remember when they said this), it means that there's apparently a chance that I might actually not have XY chromosomes, but XXY chromosomes. To confirm this they wanted me to take more blood tests, and they also wanted to see other things from the blood test too, like my bone marrow density. They also wanted to retest my baselines - that is, the levels of hormones that I have. So, I went along to the hospital again to have more blood taken. This time they took about 10 (or so) blood sample bottles full - quite a lot!
With regard to the appointments... when I realised that I had missed the appointment on the 10th, it upset me a lot; I actually started crying right there at the GIC. It meant that there was no way I was going to get hormones that day (though Fated reminded me later that I was probably not going to get them anyway considering that they want to retake my baselines), but more importantly, I was worried because the GIC's policy for patients not attending the first and second assessments was to discharge back to the GP.
Thankfully, it didn't happen this way. I'm not entirely sure why - maybe they realised what the problem had been. In any case, because of the mixup, they offered to reschedule me for the next available appointment instead of rescheduling for six months down the line like they'd normally do.
So, the appointment that I was *supposed* to have on the 10th will now be in three weeks, on the 5th of December. In addition, I have another appointment with the endocrinologist in June.
And to end this on a good note, it occurred to me while writing this that if the blood test results come back within those three weeks, it's *possible* that I may be able to get hormones then. If I had attended the appointment on the 10th, I wouldn't have been able to get them until my next proper appointment (because they'd have wanted to retest baselines), which would almost certainly have been months in the future.
I do hope I can get hormones in three weeks, and ask about voice therapy.
Okay, now I feel up to describing how my GIC appointment went!
So, as you all know, I had an appointment at the Charing Cross GIC (which is not, in fact, in Charing Cross, but in Hammersmith). I went along with Fated (snowfields), a friend of mine who has been with other people to various GICs.
The first appointment was scheduled to last 75 minutes. I don't remember how long it took in reality, but it was probably closer to 60 minutes. I didn't want to be on my own so I asked if Fated could also be in the room. (I knew full well that there would be some frank discussion, but I'm fairly open about these things. I did make sure Fated was okay with it before asking if he could come in, though.)
It was basically an interview; I was asked about what I wanted from the GIC, how things were for me in my life, and such. Most of what I told Dr. Davies is in locked posts on my LiveJournal, under the gender identity tag; I keep meaning to import my posts over here to Dreamwidth at some point but I haven't yet done so. (LJ users, never fear - I'll keep them on LJ too.) In the meantime, if anybody on my DW access list would like access to my LJ and has an account over there, let me know and I can add you there. (There's also some filter polls you'll want to fill out; take a look at the notice on the journal main page on my LJ and you'll see a link to them.) As a bonus, you'll get to see the comments people leave on my LJ - I still get a lot of comments on my LJ and on DW you only get to see half of the story, because of the access differences on my journals.
So, yeah, that took a bit of time, and there wasn't much more to the appointment than that. My next appointment is in exactly half a year from my first, November 10th, and will be much the same thing except with a different person; kind of a 'second opinion' as it were. After this they'll then decide what to do with me, and I'm really hoping that they'll prescribe hormones and anti-androgens at that point. I'm also looking for voice therapy, but I guess that might take longer.
(At some point, I'm sure some people have calculated that there are 184 days between May 10th and November 10th, and will therefore correctly say that it is not, in fact, a difference of exactly half a year - after all, 184 * 2 = 368, which is a full 3 days away from the real number of days in a year, at least in non-leap years. And yes, you are correct, but you know...)
(...or was it only me that did that? Oh well, never mind.)
Anyway, I asked (with trepidation) about the moving thing. I think they'll accept it for now, but they'd want me to move back when I can, if I'm remembering correctly. I do remember that I didn't need to worry about anything for now, though. I hope they're right.
So yeah, next appointment is in November. I wish it wasn't that far away.
In other news, I'm preparing to return my laptop for a bit of repair (it's under warranty), so I may have limited Internet access for a while; most of my activities are done using this laptop. On the plus side, it may encourage me to actually get out a little!
...meh, who am I kidding?
I'm sorry for the delay in talking about how my GIC appointment on the 10th went. It went fine with no real problems to speak of, but right now I'm not feeling up to talking about it. I'm not sure why. But I did want to reassure you all that it was okay. :)
I've been meaning to make this post for a few days now.
I have finally - *finally* - managed to get an appointment at the Charing Cross Gender Identity Clinic. It's on the 10th of May with Dr Andrew Davies.
Before I go there I'd like to get as much information on what to expect as I possibly can. Does anybody reading this have experience with Dr Andrew Davies at all? I've been searching and from what I've read, my initial impressions are not favourable. :/
I'm also getting concerned again about the NHS and the Charing Cross GIC. People alternately tell me good and bad things about it and I'm not sure who to believe. I'm sure they're all telling the truth about their own personal experiences - why would they not? - but it doesn't really help me much. If anything, it makes me nervous about going into a place where basically anything can happen, from what it sounds like.
Does anyone have any knowledge of any of this?
Well, my issue with Steam about my username has been resolved. After you guys spread the word - via Twitter, journal posts, and even Reddit (twice), a support person replied to the ticket I quoted from in my post to tell me that I could create a new account and they would transfer the games from my old account to my new one.
This is a great outcome, and I want to thank Valve for allowing this to happen, as well as everybody who spread the word, thereby bringing it to Valve's attention. I've now created the new account and the games have been transferred over, and they seem to work fine - in particular, one of the games I expected to have issues with (GTA4) has had (so far) no issues at all, despite its SecuROM protection and Games for Windows LIVE setup. (I did get issued a new key to use for it, but I expected that, since I was effectively a different user.)
( I also want to respond to some of the stuff that was said about me by others. )
One thing I asked in the ticket after all this happened was whether there were any plans to change the policy, and I suggested that Steam could allow it for people who have legal name change documents, which should pretty effectively prevent fraud or ban/VAC evasion. Their reply was, and I quote:
We appreciate your suggestion, however I have no information on upcoming Steam client changes or updates.
I've asked that the suggestion be submitted to management, if possible. (I'm assuming that they didn't actually mean *client* changes or updates.)
So, it seems that this was likely a one-off, especially as they didn't actually ask *me* for my legal name change documents. I do hope that they change their policy, though, because I suspect I'm far from the only person in this situation.
Thank you to everybody who spread the word about this, and thank you to Valve for a quick, helpful response! (Although I wish I hadn't needed to get it this way.)
I've received a response from Steam. It sounds like it's going to be positive. :)
I'll update you all when it's all resolved.
[edited 26th January 2011: Just woke up to see that some people think I believe this is discrimination against trans people. Let me make it clear that I do not agree with them, and please let anyone who is saying this on my behalf know this. Thank you.]
[edited 27th January 2011: I have received a response from Steam, and it looks like the outcome will be positive. I'll update you all once it's resolved.]
[edited 28th January 2011: All resolved! Please see my followup post, which also responds to some things people were saying about this.]
Alright, this is a post that I've been meaning to write for ages, and haven't. The reason I haven't so far is because I wanted to try to resolve this in another way, but I really haven't been able to get up the energy to work out how best to do it.
As I suspect many of the people reading this are, I'm a user of Steam, Valve's game distribution platform. Or rather, I was; I haven't logged on to it for a while now. The reason for this is simple; I cannot bear to do so, because I've had the Steam username for long enough that it uses my old name, and this causes me distress. Unfortunately, Steam's policy is that usernames cannot be changed.
Why can't I just create another account? Because I have a number of games that I bought using this account, and Steam's policy is that you can't transfer games between accounts. (I'd link to an official knowledge base page stating this, but I can't find one that deals with the issue.)
This, of course, creates big problems for me as a transgendered woman. (My old name is tied to my male identity and causes me grief.) Sure, Steam allows you to edit your account settings such that everybody else sees only the names you want to give out, and they offer the option to add people to their friends list by email address rather than username. However, this doesn't stop me from seeing the cursed name every time I use the service. :(
I've contacted Support about this three times now. I'll share the last of these exchanges with you. Be warned: It may cause rage
( Our last exchange. )
I'd like to be able to play the games which I paid for. Right now, I can't without being forced to use a name that does not belong to me any more, and which has a clear impact on my mental health. I should not have to do this; it should not be this hard to change it, given the circumstances.
I'm making this as a public post. Feel free to link this where you want - in fact, please do link this where you can. I'm not sure how much impact this will have, but hey.
I'm also planning to write an email to Gabe Newell, the managing director of Valve, but I don't really know how to write it. If anybody wants to help me write such an email, I'd love to hear from you.
Thanks for reading.
Today was the Transgender Day of Rememberance. I forgot about this fact until just now, when here in the UK there's only about 80 minutes of it left, which I'm not proud of. But I wanted to post about it because I know there's still a lot of time left in some parts of the world. And really, even if it's not the 20th where you are, the main aim of TDOR is to promote awareness of the issue, not to get everybody to do something on one specific day.
I, as many of you already know, am transgendered myself; I'm a trans woman. A lot - and I mean a lot - of transgendered people have had their lives cut short the past year. I say a lot even though there are 'only' 27 listed (page lists causes of death and links to articles) because to me, it is a lot, and there are almost certainly a whole lot of others not listed.
None of these deaths were necessary, and they speak to a big problem in this world. We need to be able to accept people; that's all it takes. The fact that we can't even do that makes me really sad. :(
Like my friend rho (who has written her own piece on this year's TDoR), I'm public about my transgendered status. That's not to say that everybody I interact with will know, but that if it comes up or is relevant, I'll tell them about it. That's a personal choice I've made, because in order to prevent this sort of thing from happening, people need to know that we exist, and that we're not freaks; we're just normal people, like everybody else.
But I completely support those who don't want to do that, because some people don't want to be known as 'that girl who thinks she's a guy' or 'the weirdo in the skirt'. And I can't say I blame them - that sort of crap hurts. And, of course, this is speaking from a position of privilege; I have it really easy compared to a lot of others.
Yet even in the privileged world I live in, the threat to trans people is a lot greater than to cis people (cis- being the opposite to trans-). Quite frankly, it sucks in a lot of ways to be trans. No, we are most emphatically not "getting the best of both worlds", and if you think we are, let me know so I can point you to some resources and explain why that isn't the case.
But it doesn't have to be this way. You can help, by spreading the word. Let people know we exist, and explain to them why it's not okay to think of us as freaks. Don't let the deaths of transgendered people in the last year be in vain.
Our time will come.
So, it turns out that my hopes that I would be more motivated to move out because of my situation were kinda misplaced. I have absolutely no motivation. :(
Worse, my CPN is telling me that as I no longer live in their area, they need to discharge me, although they can transfer me to the Community Mental Health Team here. This is bad for a number of reasons, but first and foremost is that I'm not sure what this means with regard to my GIC referral. I have mail redirection in place so there's no problem there, but if my psych care is being transferred here, presumedly that'd mean that the GIC would need to re-secure funding from *this* PCT instead of the Berkshire one, which would add more delays and possibly more psych appointments, I suspect.
And then, when I move back, I assume the whole thing would need to start over a third time. I really, really, really do not need this. :( It's bad enough that I'm here in the first place, I don't need salt rubbed into the frickin' wounds.
It's times like this that I wonder just what *is* the point in carrying on. :/ I'm not happy and I'm not going to be happy for a long, long time. In the meantime there's just a whole bunch of stress that I don't need.
Can it be happy time nao plz?
Updating from my parents' place!
So, things are going much better than I could have hoped for. There were no disgusted looks, no comments on my appearance. There are name slip-ups, but that's to be expected and while I correct them on it each time (otherwise it won't sink in), it's obvious that they're really trying and I'm not angry at them.
My big Christmas gift was actually sent to me about a week prior via Amazon - a new GPS receiver to replace the old one that I lost! It's a really nice one, too. I knew it would be coming because my parents asked me what I wanted/needed for Christmas and I explained about how I lost my old one. (I wouldn't normally have asked except that they had said they were willing to spend more than usual on me this year as I was away from home.) I did give them a bunch of different options, and said that while I'd prefer the 550t, it was their money and I would be happy with the others I listed. They were happy to go for the 550t, so that's the new GPS I have. :D
So, for obvious reasons, when I came down there wasn't much else in the way of gifts, but I did get a lot of chocolate from different people (I had brought the Christmas presents I'd received from others down with me, unopened, so I could open them here). And my parents have evidently told my aunt and uncle about things as their card and present were addressed not only to the right name but the right title, too, as well as the card being correct. When I wrote an email to thank them for the present, I also made sure to thank them for this, as it means a lot more to me than they might realise, and I'm so glad that they're apparently cool with it.
Anyway, back to my parents... I haven't felt uncomfortable or stressed at all, and I haven't noticed any stress on Mum's part either, though she tends to be good at internalising it, I think. Dad says that he doesn't think she's stressed either, though, which is good. And like I say, it's so clear to me that they're trying.
So, I'm going to be staying here overnight. I wasn't originally planning to do this; I felt that one day would be enough as any more might stress us both out. And while it's true that I didn't bring any makeup with me for tomorrow, I'm also not going to be seeing anyone else tomorrow when I go back, and anybody who would see my face is going to do so as my car goes hurtling past them, so I don't really feel there'll be *too* much of a problem there. But I feel comfortable being here for the night. (It's also nice to be in my bed; the things you miss!)
That said, I still wouldn't be comfortable staying for too much longer, and I think it would be asking too much of my parents anyway. Sure, Mum isn't stressed right now, but she could become so given a day or two more. And I wouldn't want to stay in any case right now... so I'll go home tomorrow. But it's still longer than I planned to be here. :D
In short, all seems to be well and good. I cannot tell you how relieved I am that this is the case, seriously. I didn't know what to expect, really, but it wasn't really this. <3
A good Christmas day, for sure.