We provide you with all the basic information you need to know about gender affirming healthcare for transgender people. This is to help you as well as your family and friends navigate your gender journey with more compassion and understanding.
What is Gender Affirming Healthcare?
The World Health Organization defines gender affirming healthcare as any care that is designed to affirm your gender identity when it does not align with the sex you were assigned at birth. This includes a wide range of social, psychological, behavioural, and medical interventions. Research has proven that transgender healthcare improves trans people’s mental health and overall well-being.
Gender affirming healthcare is designed to support you in your journey with your gender identity. Whether you identify as a binary transgender man, a transgender woman, or with any non-binary trans identity, trans healthcare can help you feel more aligned in who you are and how you present yourself.
Your gender affirming journey may include: socially transitioning, such as changing your wardrobe, hairstyle and trying out a new name and pronouns, counselling, puberty blockers, hormone therapy, and gender affirming surgeries.
Gender affirming healthcare can help decrease feelings of gender dysphoria. However, it is important to remember that not all transgender people experience gender dysphoria. You do not need dysphoria in order to be transgender.
Transgender children and adolescents who have not started or not yet completed puberty may want to take puberty blockers to suppress their sex hormones, such as testosterone and oestrogen. This is part of their gender affirming healthcare journey.
For transgender people who have testes, puberty blockers will help lower your levels of testosterone. This will stop your overall hair growth. Alternatively, for trans people with ovaries, blockers will help lower your levels of oestrogen and progesterone. This will stop your menstruation and breast growth.
The effects of puberty blockers are reversible. If you decide to stop taking blockers during your puberty, your hormone development will resume. Puberty blockers are safe when used as prescribed.
Transgender people who have already completed their puberty may wish to go through hormone therapy as part of their gender affirming healthcare journey. Trans people who prefer to present in a more feminine manner can go through feminising hormone therapy. Whereas transmasculine people may go through masculinising hormone therapy. The end goal of hormone therapy is for you to develop your desired sex characteristics and minimise the development of your current sex characteristics.
The most common effects of feminising hormone therapy are the reduction of body hair, the augmentation of breasts and changes in libido and body odour. During feminising hormone therapy, you usually take oestrogen in combination with an androgen blocker. Progestogen may also be used.
The most common effects of masculinising hormone therapy are an increase in body and facial hair, muscle growth, and changes in voice, libido, and body odour. During masculinising hormone therapy, you usually take different forms of testosterone.
Transgender people who fall outside of the binary of male and female, such as but not exclusive to non-binary, agender, genderfluid and gender non-conforming people, may also wish to feminise or masculinise their appearance. This can also be done through a smaller dose of either testosterone or oestrogen. You can find more information about microdosing on the GenderGP website.
Gender Affirming Surgeries
Many transgender people who undergo gender affirming healthcare treatment may wish to have gender affirming surgeries. The most common gender affirming surgeries are known as ‘top’ and ‘bottom’ surgery. Please remember that unlike puberty blockers, gender affirming surgeries are irreversible.
Trans people assigned female at birth may wish to undergo top surgery. This procedure refers to a double mastectomy, surgically removing your breasts in order to have a flatter chest. Alternatively, transfeminine people may want to have surgeries that add breasts to their upper body.
Bottom surgery usually refers to a surgical procedure that changes your genitals. Transmasculine people may undergo a phalloplasty, surgically creating a penis, or a hysterectomy, removing their uterus. On the other hand, transfeminine people may wish to have vaginoplasty, the surgical creation of a vagina.
These are only a few examples of gender affirming surgeries. However, there are many more types of surgeries transgender people can go through to affirm their gender.
While we do not offer surgeries at GenderGP, we can provide you with a surgery referral letter to give to your doctor. You can book a surgery referral assessment directly via SimplyBook.
Starting Gender Affirming Healthcare
Access to trans healthcare depends on where you live. Criteria for gender affirming healthcare is usually provided following the guidelines from organisations, such as the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) and the Endocrine Society.
Unfortunately, many governments, especially in the US, are implementing bills that would prohibit young trans people from accessing this life-saving care. However, we are here to help.
GenderGP offers gender affirming healthcare services to transgender and non-binary people around the world. We want to ensure that every trans and gender diverse person has affirmative, timely and free access to trans healthcare.
If you wish to start your gender affirming healthcare journey with us, visit the GenderGP website for more information. Alternatively, you can book an Ask Us Anything session where we answer any questions you may have about our services before starting gender affirming treatment. We are here to support you through your gender journey!