Transitioning is an exciting and challenging time in life where an individual begins to embrace their identity and discover who they are. This period of time may involve coming out to friends and family, changing one’s name, changing one’s outward appearance to match their gender identity, and finding professionals to help with gender-affirming care. For those individuals who choose to transition medically, certain steps have been put into place to ensure that safety and health are kept in high priority.
Before beginning hormone therapy transgender people must have consistent and long-lasting variant gender identity that allows for them to meet the DSM-V criteria for gender dysphoria. Additionally, any other medical conditions must be well controlled to avoid complications with the hormone therapy. The individual seeking this treatment must also sign an informed consent form detailing the treatment, risks, benefits, and liability. A primary care provider must ensure that physical health is good enough to begin treatment, answer questions, and provide follow-up care.
Receiving mental health counselling is not always a requirement to begin hormone therapy. It can be beneficial for the person transitioning as it can help reduce internal conflicts and tumultuous emotions. Counselling may be required if the primary care provider determines that the individual’s mental health is not in good enough condition to undergo hormone therapy. Once mental health is back in peak condition, hormone therapy may begin. Regardless of mental health status, transgender people seeking hormone therapy should expect to be encouraged to seek counselling.
When the individual seeking to transition is not an adult, the steps look somewhat different. Minors who identify as transgender are typically placed on puberty blocker medications, and they usually must receive counselling throughout adolescence. In some cases, the minor is allowed to begin hormone therapy at a young age. In other cases, the minor makes the choice to begin hormone therapy once they are legally an adult. From there, the process is identical to that experienced by other adults.
For many transgender people, hormone therapy is often one of the first steps into their transition period. Before beginning hormone therapy, one must understand what the treatment entails, including its risks and benefits. Importantly, monitoring is vital to remaining in good health as hormone therapy can have harmful complications. Transitioning is a highly personal and fulfilling time that will look different for everyone. Call us today at 205-352-9141.