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First step on a long journey - The day Claire didn't think of the emotional impact on her!!

I'm finding it very difficult to put into words how privileged I feel today. As a support worker, you can work with many different people but there's always that 1 who gets to you and holds a piece of your heart. You may bend the rules a little for them or you go above and beyond for them. Zachary is one of those for me. I first met Zachary 5 years ago when he was at one of the worst points of his life. He had come out as trans a few years before. His family had disowned him and he was put into care!!!! It took months and months of perseverance for Zachary to start to trust and like me. We got there and 5 years later he's still working with me as his support worker he's followed me to my job here at The Rainbow Project. I met Zachary when he was 17 as his keyworker, it took months and months for him to start trusting me and believing that I wasn't going to leave him or abuse him. After the first 4 months, we built a really strong bond. He knew I would always do my best for him and I would always try and protect him. It was in December 2016 that he will tell you I first saved his life. He had taken a huge overdose (enough to tranquilise a horse) I got to him in time and got him to hospital for the medical teams to care for him. There was an incident with his mother but that's for another day. She's not ruining my buzz today. We then plodded along nicely for 2 months until his 18th Birthday, when social services made him homeless. Yep, Happy 18th Birthday Zachary your now homeless now trot along to the homeless department and declare yourself homeless. Yep, we spent his 18th birthday in the council begging for him to be housed all they offered was a night shelter 10 pm-6 am in a mixed dorm. After a gentle push in the right direction, they offered him a temporary flat but it wouldn't be available for a further week so Zachary was set to sofa surf for a week or so. 8 days later he got the keys to the flat it was very basic but it was home and his. He decorated it and made it his own. Now he was 18 and was no longer under the care of his parents or social services it meant that Zachary could go to the GP and get a referral to a gender clinic in his own right due to previous referrals to Tavistock had been blocked by his parents. Zachary was buzzing to get the referral in but it didn't go smoothly as while the referral was going through Zachary's mental health hit the floor and I received a call from the police saying he had left a message for me on the suicide helpline number and they were very concerned for his welfare. 5 hours later, 10+ police officers, 1 police helicopter and a major train line closed. We found Zachary with seconds to spare as we cut him out of a noose hanging from a tree. I'm still numb when I think back to the events of that sunny Sunday evening. I just close my eyes and thank God we found him and he survived. That was the night that I swore to myself we would get Zachary through this and get his medical transition started. I felt so guilty having to put him in the back of a police car knowing he would be leaving on section 136 of the mental health act and not knowing what would happen over the next few hours, weeks or months. Zachary was sectioned to an inpatient acute mental health hospital. I spoke with Zachary regularly but he didn't want me to visit him while he was there. After 7 months he came back into the community met an amazingly supportive girlfriend, got a new flat and started working as a support worker for children in the looked after children's sector. My heart is filled with joy to see that Zachary is doing so well but there was still 1more thing that we had to do to get him started with his medical transition. Due to him being sectioned and moving home his referral to the gender clinic had been messed up. He couldn't wait any longer and chose to pay to be seen by Gender GP. That evening he phoned me and screamed I've done it they are going to give me a prescription for T!!!!! His GP signed a letter saying they would inject and that they would do all the necessary monitoring. He booked a nurse appointment for the following week. Every day he would contact me getting more and more excited as the hours ticked by. He arrived at the GP's with a grin on his face full of excitement and then boom they refused to do it saying the doctor who signed your paperwork no longer works here and no one else is willing to sign it!!!!! 7 years he had been waiting for this day and as quick as that his dream had been shattered into tiny little pieces. He called me in total bits. I knew I had to do something I called every GP in the area they all refused to inject Zachary. We spoke to GenderGP who sent us instructions and a video of how to inject. Zachary asked if I would inject him. I arranged to go and pick him up the following day. I wasn't prepared for the emotions I would feel. My only thoughts were for Zachary. We got the injection ready. I injected him and boom I got a huge rush of emotions that I was not ready for. I hugged Zachary and burst into tears I felt so privileged to be part of this new chapter. We had dreamed of this day so many times and talked about it as a goal for him to aim for at his lowest points and now that day was finally here. I'm still finding it difficult to articulate how amazing this day has been to finally arrive and to know that Zachary wanted me to be part of it. Zachary has taught me so much over these past 5 years now he is teaching me how to deal with this new emotion of privilege.

Thank you Zachary for wanting me to be part of the most amazing day of your life now go forth darling and be your true self. Love you and see you in 3 weeks for your next injection xxx

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