A trans woman is using crowdfunding to raise money for surgery because of long waits for NHS treatment.
Sarah O’Connell saw her GP in March last year – but has only just met for a consultation at a gender identity clinic.
The 35-year-old is now trying to raise £20,000 through online donations and has set up a GoFundMe page to aid her progress.
She says the money will cover all aspects of transitioning – including gender surgery, hormone treatment, laser treatment and voice coaching.
“Transitioning can be incredible expensive, this is a last resort. I haven’t had NHS support yet. The waiting lists are very long,” she told the BBC.
“It is a long process, it is like being in prison for something you didn’t commit and I want to get it over as quickly as possible.
“I just want to get on with my life, I don’t want to spend my whole life doing this.”
Mrs O’Connell – who has a wife and five-year-old daughter – said her partner had known she was trans from early on in their relationship.
“I have known who I am since I was three years old, so it has been the biggest relief telling my family,” she said.
The NHS acknowledged the “urgent need to bring down waiting times” and said that further funding is being made available.
“The NHS has put additional funding into gender identity services for the last two years and will continue to do so,” said Will Huxter, chairman of NHS England’s gender identity task and finish group.
“We recognise the urgent need to bring down waiting times, and to this end we have met with all the gender identity clinics to agree plans to increase capacity from April 2016.”
In January, a report from the Women and Equality Select Committee called for radical reforms to the UK’s gender laws – and strongly rebuked the government for failing to make progress.
After an inquiry on trans issues lasting several months, a report released last month called for drastic changes across a number of departments – from the healthcare system to gender laws to prison reforms.
In an exclusive interview with PinkNews, Mrs Miller said that transgender people were being “failed” by the law, health services and other public bodies – while the report itself directly accused the NHS of breaking “legal obligations” to trans patients.