Queries from 'trans' people skyrocket in the province
«I am 20 years old and, although biologically I was born a boy, I always felt like a girl». These are the first words of the story that, very kindly and courageously, Kara has offered to the Daily to make visible and name a vital experience that many young people in our province go through who identify with a different gender from the one they were assigned at birth.
The parliamentary processing of the 'trans law' by the central government –waiting for the end of the period of allegations for its final approval– has brought to the fore a reality that was hidden until a few years ago, but that little by little is becoming visible plus. This is demonstrated by the data provided by the Health Department: the Camp de Tarragona i Terres de l'Ebre Transit Unit, which launched the Catalan Health Institute four years ago in the CAP Sant Pere de Reus, has multiplied The number of first visits since 2018 has increased by seven, going from 11 in the first year to the 68 it has been during this 2022.
This unit, among the different perspectives from which it helps the 'trans' person, offers psychological support to whoever requests it. And it is that, as Kara explains from her own experience, people who go through this process do not have it easy from a psychological point of view. «When I arrived at the institute it was a bomb. They bullied me because of my appearance and, although I did not show it openly, it was clear that I was not the same as the other children", says this young woman, who adds that "it was a critical moment in my life, with a suicide attempt, depressions etc.
«In high school they bullied me. It was a critical moment in my life, with a suicide attempt," Kara explains.
Regarding the psychological support of these people, the dean of the Col legi Oficial de Psicologia de Catalunya, Guillermo Mattioli, is very clear that “it is essential and must be present at any stage of the transition process. It is not at all about pathologizing, nor about opposing the perceptions that the people who consult us have about themselves. Because good psychotherapeutic practice does not include the aversion, conversion or counterconditioning of transitions, as well as the modification of people's sexual orientation or identity or gender expression».
And what does a psychology professional bring to a young person who may be suffering this transition period negatively? Mattioli specifies that «as psychology professionals, yes, we welcome and contain anxieties, we dialogue and help to generate the questions that the people who consult us sometimes find it difficult to ask, always with the objective agreed with them to clarify the issues or conflicts that cause them suffering.
Fortunately, Kara started studying a computer cycle and “I got out of my comfort zone. I met people with whom I felt comfortable and I took the opportunity to investigate myself and I realized that I was bisexual. I also met my current partner, a trans guy who taught me a lot about identity, gender, etc." From that moment on, Kara made a 'click' in her life: «I realized that I had been living a lie for 19 years and it was time to make two decisions: first, explain it to my family and, second, start a medical treatment".
"Psychological support is essential at any stage of the transition process," says Guillermo Mattioli (Dean of the Official Col·legi de Psicologia de Catalunya)
These two very brave decisions have been worth it, although the road is not being easy. «I spoke with my family and it was great. The reaction of both my parents and my brother and my grandmother was spectacular. I had the problem with my friends, many of whom did not accept it”, explains Kara, who adds that “now I am in the middle of the hormonal process (I have been 8 months) and in the process of changing my gender. I am very happy, although there have been difficult moments and mourning, both for the friends who leave you aside and with yourself, because you notice that in the past you were a person that you are no longer ». However, this young woman insists that "the best of all is that I can show the world how I want and this allows me to know who really wants to be with me."
A unit that turns 4 years old
All those young people –or not so young– who are going through the same thing that Kara has gone through and don't know who to turn to, have had the Camp de Tarragona i Terres de l'Ebre Transit Unit since 2018, a unit that is part of of Servei Trànsit, which was centralized in Barcelona, but which in 2017 began a process of deployment throughout the Catalan territory, with the aim of improving accessibility to care for trans people.
It is a unit with a care base that starts from the premise that 'trans' people, due to this condition, do not suffer any alteration or pathology, but are part of the human diversity in which everyone participates.
In this sense, the Unitat de Trànsit offers accompaniment and attention to 'trans' people from a biopsychosocial perspective, which includes specific medical, surgical, psychological and social attention, if requested. It is also important that this same help is transferred, if necessary, to the families of 'trans' people, an important part of the gender transition process.