Trans man who paid £10,000 for treatment calls for ‘more funding’ to help people ‘start to live their lives’
A transgender man has called for greater support for the NHS so that people who need to transition can do so sooner, without languishing for years on waiting lists at Gender Identity Clinics.
Taylor Jay Burden, a 20-year-old trans man who transitioned privately because of the long waiting times for NHS treatment, said that he’s “100 per cent happier” after surgery and that it’s “unfair” that people who can’t access private treatment have to wait years for an appointment at NHS Gender Identity Clinics (GICs).
More than 13,500 trans and non-binary adults are currently on a waiting list for a GIC, with a national average waiting time for a first appointment of 18 months and some people waiting three years for that critical first appointment.
There are just seven adult gender identity clinics in England, and as awareness of trans identities grow so do their waiting lists.
Burden, a fleet administrator from Luton in Bedfordshire, knew he could not face the wait to begin life as a post-surgery man, and went to the private London Transgender Clinic where he underwent top surgery less than a year after his first appointment.
And now he’s calling for greater support for trans people through the NHS, so more people can transition as soon as they need to.
“I have a lot of respect for the amazing work the NHS does on a daily basis, but the reality is that it is understaffed and underfunded, especially when it comes to transgender issues,” Burden said.
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He added: “It is unfair that people have to wait years just to be themselves and to start to live their lives as they deserve to.
“It’s a lengthy process to see a GIC. After the long wait to be seen in the first appointment, it’s then another long wait to discuss further treatment.
“I believe if there was more funding and more education, it won’t be under as much of a strain. It would allow transgender people to begin their transitions a lot sooner, without the wait of years and years.”
Burden, who began hormone treatment after having surgery, also offered some advice to other trans people consider medical transition.
“By the age of 15, I was questioning if I was a girl or a boy and it was eating me alive. I told my girlfriend at the time I wanted to transition and it went from there,” he said, but emphasised that there is “no rule book” when it comes to transitioning.
“It is an individual thing and everyone does it differently,” he said.
“A lot of people think you have to do it a certain way, but that isn’t true. I have done it differently to a lot of people in that I started hormone therapy after my surgery, rather than before.
“You just need to take your time, find what is right for you and don’t compare yourself to everyone else.”