Charring Cross Gender Identity Clinic: Caution
My first appointment at the Gender Identity Clinic in London was with Dr James Barrett in April 2012 (a little over a year ago).
Useful context: I am autistic, asexual, aromantic, I am becoming more and more settled in my sense of self. I am in receipt of DLA and ESA. I have been aware that I am agender since 2011. I have consistently wanted chest reconstruction since I found out it was possible for transgender individuals on the NHS.
I’ve just received the letter he sent to my GP following my appointment; I can see why they took more than 6 months in sending it to me.
- He starts by referring to me as “this” (ie: it), and then switches to “she”. (I told him that people close to me call me “they”, but if he doesn’t like that he can just use my name.)
- He refers to my gender identity as “gender identity problems”, “uncertain”, and “a disturbance of gender identity”.
- He judges that I “would probably attract a diagnosis as a schizoid personality”. He fails to mention my seeking an autism diagnosis, which we discussed in some detail.
- He told me that I probably wouldn’t be eligible for treatment, “because lots of women call themselves bisexual in their 20s and by their 40s they’ve got married and say they’re straight.”
- He told me that I would lose my benefits and have to get volunteer work to stay on jobseeker’s allowance. This has not happened, but he frightened me by saying it, and it was entirely inappropriate because the appointment was about my gender and not my disability. He then says in the letter to my GP that this would be a good thing, because it would give me a chance to see whether or not I can “sustain” a nonbinary gender identity outside of social situations. (Ie: he clearly thinks that this is a whimsical phase and I am just pretending to have no gender, as if I would give up when it got difficult.)
- He implies that I will change my mind about wanting kids, and refers to the “ticking biological clock”.
He has passed judgement on aspects of my health in which he is not specialist. He has consistently misgendered me and calls me “it”. He frightened me by promising that I would have my little financial support withdrawn. He implies that my gender is something I am trying out, rather than something I am.
He might not be this way with other patients, and I don’t wish to discredit him. I am too tired to make a formal complaint; I have explained to another doctor at the clinic that I don’t want to see him again. But this seems to me like something that it’s important to share. I’d like to add that my treatment by other doctors at the same clinic has been extremely good and very helpful, and I would recommend seeing them if you have gender stuff going on and have the option of a referral.
Edit: I have since found out that he’d written a chapter called “Third Sex” about third gender people back in 2007; it seems he’d already decided he knew all about people like me.