Verley says he's "lived with depression for a really long time and that mindset has never served me." The photos, he adds, "were a way to get away from a headspace that is such a slippery slope."
Varley is having surgery this week, and he shared another TikTok about the upcoming procedure that's also gone viral. "Time for the ol' slice n dice," he joked in the caption.
Varley says he's "confident that I'll be okay" and "excited to see what my body actually looks like under there." He's also feeling "grateful" for his support network. "I can't wait to get this thing out and be able to walk up my stairs without needing to take a breather," he adds.
While he's joked about his experience, Varley says he hopes other transgender people learn from what he went through. "Stop ignoring your body," he says. "It's a practice, but you need to start paying attention when things aren't right and doing something about them."
"For trans people, it can be so much easier to avoid medical care because of the lack of knowledge surrounding trans healthcare and the very real discrimination we face in these settings," he continues. "But if my situation is any indication of what can and does regularly happen, it's essential to explore it and advocate for yourself when you're concerned." Varley also recommends bringing a friend to appointments, adding, "it helps a lot."
Dr. Rodriguez stresses the importance of finding a good care provider. "It is crucial to use resources to source out a competent and trans-friendly [ob-gyn] provider," she says, noting that patients should ask questions that are specific to their concerns and how to best address their needs based "not only on your 'organ inventory' but also on your family history and sexual activity."
"It goes without saying that trans men may find consultation with a gynecologist to be dysphoric and incredibly triggering," Dr. Rodriguez says. "This is why it's crucial to find a provider who is sensitive and competent to address your unique needs."
Varley ends on this note: "I hope medical professionals will ensure they're creating an explicitly safe space for trans people to feel comfortable seeking help. Be conscious of language when discussing reproductive health—it's not just a women's issue."
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