I’m usually not the one to complain about ON because you have to admit, it’s a very place to live in. We have 4 seasons, decent roads, state financed health care and it is generally a very accepting and diverse place. It is also a province of nearly 14 million people which fine, unless you are struggling with your gender identity, expression and you are just simply confused about it. Everything I’m about to say here is simply based on my experience and doesn’t necessarily represent problems experienced by others, but they do seem fairly universal for ON.
So people struggling with Gender identity issues or dysphoria have fairly limited options which in all cases comes with lengthy wait times, occasional discrimination and general feelings of talking to the wall, or a rocking horse. At first I thought about saying talking to the cat but that can have certain calming effects so I changed my mind.
Here is what the process looked like when I approached my family doctor with my own struggles. She actually treated it really cool, didn’t even bother asking me very specific questions , she just began to proceed telling me what option(s) I had. The s had to be in brackets because the only official route with OHIP is to get referred to CAMH, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. Now keep in mind that this really is the only official OHIP sponsored institution prepared to deal with people struggling in a province of 14 million. Well population is one thing but the shear size of this great province of ours can also cause headaches considering that it’s in Toronto which can represent a serious issue for some people from up North. Luckily I’m always a two hour drive away from Toronto but I know there are many others who are not so lucky.
Upon presenting my story to my family doctor of nearly 12 years, she seemed to have taken it really well, I didn’t sense any judgment of any kind, she just told me she’s got other patients in the same situation with Vulcan like emotions. It was basically the same experience as when I visited her a few years ago with a nasty back pain. She informed me that the only option we have at our disposal is CAMH, she will have me referred there and that I should hear from them in less than 2 years (!). Now less than 2 years can meat 3 weeks, 9 months or 2 years -1 day. She said it’s obviously not a rush if I waited this long….. Granted I’ve been her patient for a long time and this was the first time I opened up to her about my issues, but still…. Once the flood gates are open, there is rarely ever turning back and this issue of mine has really been my obsession for a very long time. The choice for me to transition never really became clear until about a year ago after 50 or so sessions with my therapist. Up until beginning therapy, it remained just a fantasy really but never imagined it possible even though it has been haunting me since my earliest memories from childhood.