Coming Out as Trans to Your GP 101
11 Tips on how to approach your GP
1. Your GP should be your first ‘port of call’ for any serious medical problems or worries. Most GPs may not be an expert in transgender issues but they ARE experts in looking after the whole you - body and mind. They will very likely want to discuss the ‘big picture’ of what is happening in your life overall and how this relates to your thoughts and feelings about being transgender.
2. You don’t have to have everything sorted out in your mind before seeing your GP. GPs are good at listening so if you are not sure about your thoughts about your gender use your GP to help you start to make sense of them.
3. Don’t let your opening sentence be “ I want you to refer me to .....”. As a general rule, GPs don’t like this!
4. GPs are also good at helping with issues such as low mood and anxiety. If you think your gender identity is affecting your mental health, this may be a good way of introducing the subject of gender identity into the discussion with your GP.
5. Your consultation with your GP is completely confidential. They will not tell anyone about it without your permission. You can attend by yourself or bring a friend or family member with you. You don’t need your parent’s permission to see a GP about anything, but if you are under 18 and your GP needs to refer you to a clinic it would be usual to have a parent or guardian involved. This is not a firm rule and if there are particular reasons in your case why you think a parent or guardian should not be involved, then discuss this with your GP.
6. GP appointments are normally about 10 minutes long. If your GP seems keen to finish the conversation earlier than you would like they are probably thinking of the rest of the people in the waiting room. Be prepared to come back and some GPs may ask you to make a ‘double appointment (ie 20 minutes) next time.
7. If the first GP you approach seems unhelpful or uninterested - hopefully not a common problem – you can ask if there is another doctor in the practice with a special interest in this area.
8. After discussing all the issues with you, perhaps over more than one appointment, your GP will likely refer you to a specialist NHS gender identity clinic. The procedure for this referral may vary depending on your age and the part of the country you live in. The specialist clinic will talk and listen to you and tease out your thoughts. It is this specialist clinic that will then refer you on to an endocrinologist (hormone doctor) or surgeon if needed. Unfortunately the waiting lists for specialist clinics can often be frustratingly long.
9. Even when attending the specialist clinic you will often be in close contact with your GP. They can support you through the process and help you deal with any other medical or psychological issues in your life. They will prescribe any hormone medication which the specialist clinic suggests.
10. In your dealings with your GP there may be a few ‘bumps along the road’. GPs are human beings and like everyone else don’t always get everything perfect. However they WILL want to be on your side and hopefully you will find your relationship with your GP of huge importance in supporting you through your life.
11. Good luck!