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‘I felt like I had a ticking clock behind me’: How NHS waiting times are leaving trans people bankrupt and on the brink

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gender identity clinic (GIC) appointment, she had been waiting for more than two years. Having experienced gender dysphoria as a child, and suffering from severe depression due to a lack of testosterone, Emma was 17 when she first began to feel detached from her body, and was diagnosed with depersonalisation disorder.‘I was worried about going through male puberty,’ recalls the 25-year-old data analyst. ‘I would cry every night imagining I would wake up with facial hair, and I remember praying every night that I would wake up as a girl.‘It felt like I wasn’t alive, as if I was living in a dream.

It was like watching someone else live my life, as if I were in a dark room looking at a screen of another person.’Soon Emma found herself unable to cope and with the torment of her feelings getting darker each day, she suffered a mental breakdown.

Eventually, after finding the strength to come out to her mother, she had an appointment with her GP in September 2017, where she was referred to the North Region Dysphoria Service in Newcastle.It took two years for Emma to get an initial appointment at the clinic, where she spent an hour answering questions about her childhood, but since then she has heard nothing further.

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