I'm currently on my way to World Youth Day in Krakow, Poland. We've been travelling for 6 hours or so now and are currently in the ferry queue at Dover. The delays haven't affected us too much so far, but the queue for security checks here is pretty slow. Understandably they've heightened security following the recent attacks.
However, I've realised that this journey will be a very long time to be wearing a binder and I will need to find some occasions to take it off. I'm currently very unsure how I'm going to do this, as we'll be sleeping on the minibus and I really don't want to be around other people if I'm not binding.
So what is WYD?
It's an international Catholic event bringing together young Catholics from around the world. It takes place every three years in different countries, with the last one taking place in Rio de Janeiro in 2013.
I've wanted to go since I was around 13 or 14, but have always been prevented due to cost. This year due to having Polish members of our Catholic chaplaincy we have managed to get a really good deal on travel and accommodation which has enabled me to go. I'm very excited to experience Krakow, to spend time with members of my chaplaincy as well as gathering with thousands of other young Catholics.
I'm very lucky to be travelling with such a lovely supportive group of people and I'm hopeful that this will further strengthen our friendships. We'll have the chance to visit some historic places and attend different talks and workshops, with the week ending in an overnight vigil with Pope Francis followed by Mass.
We have a blog which may be updated more often with news from our group: http://sheffieldwyd.wordpress.com.
I exhausted myself back in January writing and analysing the trans inquiry report and haven't written anything since. I was intending to write a second part to my thoughts on the trans inquiry covering the sections I'd neglected but I simply ran out of time and never finished it. I had exams I needed to revise for and then life has been hitting me pretty hard since then.
It's not all bad news, I've had several great things happen in the past few months including finally getting testosterone prescribed and getting a place on a prestigious summer school scheme. I'm also off to Poland in a few days to attend World Youth Day and I'm very excited about that.
However, I've also had to deal with my mood fluctuating and this affecting my concentration and energy levels as well as trying to fight and navigate my way through the nhs mental health services in my area. It's quite a minefield and at the moment I'm playing the waiting game (again) to find out if they are going to offer me treatment. It's quite possible they could turn round and tell me I'm too complicated and that I need to wait until my 'gender issues' are sorted before they'll treat me for anything else. It's frustrating because although I'm sure as I get further on in my medical transition my mental health will improve, I need support now. The mental health service I was under however, decided that there was nothing more they were willing to do for me and discharged me rather abruptly.
I had university exams as well, and despite struggling with my mental health I managed to pass them all. A few modules I only just scraped a pass but overall my average isn't too bad and most importantly I have been allowed to continue on my integrated masters course. This had been making me quite anxious so I was very happy to receive these results.
We've had a very weak response from the government inquiry which many people have felt let down by. I've not had much time to reflect in depth on their response myself, but many other people have including the NUS and UK Trans Info. I also especially enjoyed this blog post which asks the question: A good month to bury bad news?