“Transgender? Labels suck,” Cree thought to himself. Because he suffered from Gender Dysphoria, Naval Medicine assigned him that label. Transgender, in its most precise form, depends on a binary. That means being born one gender and unable mentally, emotionally, physically, and/or socially relate to members of one’s own sex. However, finding that you check two (out of the possible six) boxes for Gender Dysphoria, you can find relief from the debilitating distress by transitioning to roles of the opposite gender. Cree met all six criteria.

Throughout his life, Cree realized that writing things down felt therapeutic. So, he created yet another blog to write his experiences and feelings about this label.

How the Transgender Label Began

Thinking back to the months after his deployment, Cree remembered April 2017 vividly.

“Good morning Sir, I need to talk about something that’s been bugging me for a while,” Cree began, taking out the folder he’d collected with all of his thoughts and issues. “I’ve put this together so I don’t forget anything.”

“All right, let’s see.”

Once they’d reviewed everything, Dr. D immediately picked up his phone and dialed a number he seemed to know by heart.

“Hey, so that thing we were talking about? I have one here that really needs your help. I think he… or she… might actually be the real deal. All right, I’ll have ’em call your office immediately.” The physician hung up and handed Cree a slip of paper with a phone number written on it. “Make an appointment as soon as you get outta here, they’re expecting your call.”

Interview Barrage – Distrusting a Transgender Diagnosis

The first interview with Dr. Cowan took almost ninety minutes, longer than any Naval Health appointment Cree knew of. Dr. Cown reviewed everything Cree had shown his physician, and finally decided to send him to another psychologist, Dr. Sawyer for a second opinion. He also recommended getting a case manager.

Dr. Sawyer seemed totally enthralled, but instead of offering a firm diagnosis, she sent Cree to both a Traumatic Brain Injury clinic. At the clinic, a technician asked Cree to draw three pictures. After he finished, she asked him to draw one more. The technician then politely excused Cree and, sent him back to Dr. Cowan.

Gender Therapy

Since Dr. Cowan didn’t want to hold onto the hot potato, he sent Cree to speak to a gender specialist. At the first appointment, Cree spoke to a nurse for about forty-five minutes about the same set of information he’d originally given his physician. Then, he got to speak to the Gender Therapist for about five minutes before she told him to make the earliest available three-hour appointment.

The day of the appointment, Cree sat down, bracing himself for the inquisition. The gender therapist showed him the folder of he’d put together and asked if it were true.

“Yes ma’am,” Cree said, feeling much less confident at her approach.

“Then you’re ready to start treatment.”

Why do you look like a woman?

As Cree stared down at his now-massive chest, he contemplated the odd choices that got him here. Once Navy Internal Medicine received the official diagnosis, and command approval to begin a treatment plan, they began a variation on Hormone Replacement Therapy, with a twist. Cree had to administer everything.

He’d felt terrified on September 29, 2017 when he’d injected 4mg of concentrated Estradiol-cypionate into his leg. At first, he felt completely at ease with himself. Then, a second puberty started and, almost overnight, his entire body changed.

Even though “overnight” actually took about nine months, Cree woke up one day and didn’t recognize himself in the mirror. That startling realization made him deeply question the events that led him to that point.

Transgender Empathy

Cree shuddered as he recalled the first day realizing that he could feel what Crystal felt and vice versa.

He’d woken up quite suddenly, realizing something felt wrong in a way he’d never experienced before. At first, it felt like a pressure building in his chest that wouldn’t allow him to move. Then, he felt an overwhelming sense of hopelessness. Not certain what was happening, Cree looked at Crystal and realized those were her feelings.

“I’m sorry,” Crystal began.

“What’s going on?” Cree interrupted, trying to offer help.

“I don’t want to do it anymore, I’m done.”

Cree immediately made a call and drove Crystal to the ER. The doctors there diagnosed Crystal with depression and she needed more than a little help to overcome it.

Not long after, someone asked Cree if there might be a more divine reason he had been born with Gender Dysphoria. While he highly doubted it, the changes had allowed him to catch and help a devastating issue.

Lessons Learned

Since he knew deep down that the sudden changes were hurting him, Cree sought out a real endocrinologist.

Dr. Barr carefully helped him balance his endocrine system. Cree still felt at ease, but the insane changes stopped. Then, she helped him understand what the changes meant. Essentially, Cree used to only worry about the remote possibility of colon or testicular cancer. Now, he had a full set of women’s health issues to deal with too.

Things Done Well

  • Recognizing when things were wrong
  • Overcoming fear and getting help

Things To Fix

  • Speak honestly, and so others understand

Count Your Blessings

  1. Not being one of the 43% of adults with Gender Dysphoria who’ve attempted suicide due to associated depression.
  2. Dr. Sharma and Dr. Barr, who helped me stay sane as I worked through so many issues.
  3. Crystal, my eternal companion, and truly my best friend in the whole of eternity.

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