Q: I’ve asked my doctor for help but he/she wasn’t very forthcoming and seemed unsure as to what to say or do. What do I do now?
A: Unfortunately, some GPs can be quite uncertain (or unwilling) to deal with trans issues even in today’s society and sometimes just refer you to the NHS Gender Clinics. While you do want to be referred, it’s also much easier if you have an understanding and supportive GP. My original GP wasn’t able to offer me the support I needed, so I when I moved house I also made sure that I moved GP surgery to one that was much more supportive.
You do need to be clear in the path you wish to take. If it’s a private one, you need to tell your GP you need support with blood tests etc.
There are some very good GP’s who do understand trans issues, so it would be worth phoning around surgeries in your local area asking whether they have doctors who specializes in transgender treatment or have transgender patients and if they have any patient vacancies. It makes the whole process a lot easier with a GP who understands
Q: I’ve been referred to one of the NHS gender identity clinics but this was a few months ago and I haven’t heard anything.
A: Unfortunately, the current waiting lists are reported to be around 5-6 years (slightly less in Wales), but I’m afraid if you don’t want to wait then you’ll need to consider using a private Gender Identity Clinic. You’ll be seen in a matter of months but of course this does cost money.
Q: Is it true that you have to live and work full time as female for at least 3 months before the NHS will even consider you for hormone treatment?
A: Yes, at the time of writing I’m afraid this is still one of the NHS guidelines. However, over recent years there have been various studies showing that this puts unnecessary stress on individuals and there has been some relaxing of the criteria. I think it may depend on the consultant you see and how they view your case, so go with an open mind as the NHS are changing.
Q: I’m considering using a private gender identity clinic and there’s a few to choose from. How do I make the right choice?
A: I would suggest phoning them up or emailing them and asking for a consultation, looking at their pricing and testimonials. A personal recommendation is always good. I used a private clinic throughout my transition due to the NHS waiting lists and I found them very helpful and they made sure that I was closely monitored once I started on hormones.