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Trans issues

Most people are usually happy with their gender, or never really think about it that much. However some people have significant issues around their gender, perhaps because they do not feel themselves to be the gender they were assigned at birth, or they want to dress in a way that is not usually considered appropriate for their gender. These people are often described as trans or transgender.

There are a wide variety of different types of trans identities, and trans people live their lives in lots of different ways. Some may consider themselves entirely male or entirely female (even if that isn’t the same as their legal gender) and some may consider themselves somewhere in between, or another kind of gender entirely. Some people may be quite happy with their lives in one gender, but occasionally feel the desire to cross-dress. Trans people may have been born male or female and they may be sexually attracted to men, women, both or neither. Trans people can lead successful, happy lives, including having careers, getting married/civil partnerships and raising families.

It is OK to be trans, and to live your life in a way that makes you happy.
How do I access medical treatment to change gender?
Not all trans people want to change their gender medically, but some do.
If you are entitled to NHS medical treatment, you can see your GP and ask him or her to refer you to a local psychiatrist or mental health specialist. The local mental health specialist will talk with you about your feelings and any other issues you may be having, and can then refer you to a specialist Gender Identity Clinic. It may take some months for this referral process to happen, and you will usually have to have attend a number of appointments at the Gender Identity Clinic before you can be prescribed medical treatment such as hormones and surgery.

If you are not entitled to NHS treatment or prefer private treatment, you can usually book to see a private specialist without being referred. However, if you decide to have medical treatment the private specialist will usually want to keep your GP informed. Private treatment is often quicker but can be expensive.

What legal protection do trans people have?
Those who are having medical treatment to change gender have strong legal protection against discrimination in areas like employment, public services and shops and businesses. In addition, people who have been living in their new gender for two years can legally change gender, allowing them to be treated as their new gender for all purposes, including marriage/civil partnerships and pensions. You do not necessarily need to have had surgery or hormones to legally change gender.

Cross-dressers and those who do not intend to have medical treatment or legally change gender do not necessarily have all the same legal rights. However, it is never acceptable for someone to harass you or act violently towards you, and the police and other public services have a duty to support and protect you if you are being threatened.
Socialising and support

All of Outline’s services are open to the trans community, including our information and support phoneline and monthly socials.
Many parts of the country have specific support groups for trans people, which you can find through an internet search engine or through other LGBT groups. These can be a good way of finding people in similar situations and talking through shared issues, although you should always be careful when making contact online.

 

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