Doncaster transgender man launches surgery funding appeal to beat five year NHS wait

A Doncaster transgender man has launched a crowdfunding appeal to pay for gender surgery after being told he faces a five year wait on the NHS.

Tuesday, 29th September 2020, 12:16 pm
Updated Tuesday, 29th September 2020, 12:17 pm

Joel Groves, 25, is aiming to raise £8,500 to pay for the cost of surgery after being placed on a marathon waiting list.

Joel, who was born a girl, says that such a lengthy wait is ‘unacceptable’ and launched the funding appeal in desperation so he can achieve his dream of his true identity.

He said: “The waiting times are absolutely ridiculous.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Joel Groves has launched a fundraising campaign to pay for gender surgery.

"We are looking at 2024-25 before anything can happen. That’s far too long in this day and age, especially as more transgender people are coming to terms with their situation, realising who they are and wanting the surgery they need.”

Joel, who lives in the York Road area with his wife Lily, says he began his quest for surgery two years ago after realising he was transgender.

He said: “I was assigned the gender of female at birth and I was raised as a little girl.

"But I always knew I wasn’t. My parents were very good and never had a problem with me having short hair or being into boyish things, most people assumed I was just a tomboy."

Joel with wife Lily and the couple's pet dog Venus.

"It wasn’t really talked about back then. I presented myself as a bit of a butch tomboy but it didn’t feel right.”

However, he had a revelation after meeting a transgender man in his late teens.

Added Joel: “I realised that what he was telling me was exactly how I felt. That was when I came out.”

He then approached his GP to enquire about surgery – and was told of the lengthy wait he is now facing.

"My GP is very sympathetic,” he said. “But her hands are tied."

Joel has been referred to a gender clinic and is now awaiting his first appointment.

In recent months, he has been taking testosterone and is also ‘binding’ his chest to help him in his transformation.

But he says the binding process is difficult and explained: “I’m asthmatic and do a demanding job and the advice says that you shouldn’t wear binding for any length of time.

"It does cause me pain and breathing difficulties so it’s not exactly the best solution.”

"I need the surgery as soon as possible. I can’t be waiting five or six years for it to happen but gender identity clinics are chronically underfunded.

Joel has been told that because of a history of breast cancer in his family, all of his breast tissue will have to be removed, pushing up the cost of surgery to more than £8,000.

"That’s just a ball park figure as well,” he said. “It doesn’t take into account any complications or additional surgery costs.

"My wife Lily is very supportive. She just wants the best for me and to see me happy.

"To me, such a long wait is a form of transphobia. Many transgender people have committed suicide because they can’t get the access to the surgery they need.

"As well as myself, it helps draw attention to others in the same boat as me.”

You can contribute to Joel’s fundraising campaign HERE