Information concerning Gender identity issues
Information concerning gender identity
Useful web links:
The Gender Centre is located in Sydney (Annandale) and is committed to
developing and providing services and activities which enhance the
ability of people with gender issues to make informed choices. The
Gender Centre is also committed to educating the public and providers
about the needs of people with gender issues. They offer a wide range
of services to people with gender issues, their partners, families and
friends in NSW including counselling services.
Transgender Victoria (TGV) was founded in the late 1990s to achieve justice, equity and quality health and community service provision for transgender people, their partners, families and friends.
This website represents young people who experience transsexualism and a
network of their parents, families and supporters throughout Australia.
The Seahorse Society of NSW is a non-profit self-help organisation established in Sydney in 1971. The Society's purpose is to provide mutual support for Crossdressers, Transvestites and Transgendered people, their partners and families
FTM Australia provides reliable, medically accurate, accessible information and a range of perspectives when people are researching their options for medical transition female-to-male in Australia.
The Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome (AIS) Support Group
Australia Inc. is a peer support, information and advocacy
group for people affected by AIS and/or related intersex variations, and
their families. We support members (both in Australia and overseas) that have
any grade of Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome, and support any issues
relevant to living with AIS. These issues include infertility,
disclosure, hormone therapy, gender identity, surgical intervention of
children with intersex variations, sexual intimacy, etc.
GQ: Gender Questioning is a resource produced by GLHV in conjunction with the Trans Melbourne Gender Project. It is designed to provide information and support to young people between 16 and 25 who are questioning their gender or supporting someone who is doing so.
Some DEFINITIONS you may find helpful:
GENDER: our gender is, for the majority of people commonly defined, as male/masculine or female/feminine and is based upon our biological and physical appearance of being male or female.
INSIDE GENDER: people who identify as transgender sometimes refer to their real gender, not the gender they were born with (biological) or appear as, being their inside gender. Their inside gender is the gender they self-identify with as being their true gender.
OUTSIDE GENDER: people who identify as transgender sometimes refer to the gender they were born (biological) with as being their outside gender or the gender they physically appear to be.
PASSING: means to make your outside gender look as masculine or as feminine as possible to match your inside gender and have the self confidence to go out in public.
TRANSITIONING: means to start taking step, such as telling your friends and family and taking hormones or preparing for surgery, to start living the rest of your life as female or male, matching your inside gender.
TRANSPHOBIA: an irrational fear of transgender people involving a lack of understanding and acceptance and can include abusive, harassing and discriminating behaviour against transgender people.
TRANSGENDER: an umbrella term used to describe all those people whose gender identity is different to their birth or biological gender.
CROSSDRESSER: a person who likes to dress as the opposite gender to their birth or biological gender. This may be an irregular and social activity or for some it is an intense desire to dress in a way that matches their inner gender. Many crossdressers go on to transition to their inner or self-identified gender.
TRANSSEXUAL: a person who identifies as a member of the 'opposite sex', that is, opposite to their birth or biological sex. Transsexuals usually transition to bring their gender in line with their inner or self-identified gender.
TRANSVESTITE: a person who wears the clothes of the opposite sex for sexual excitement. Some transvestites will transition to their self-identified or inner gender others simply enjoy the sexual arousal of wearing the clothing of the opposite sex.
BI-GENDERED/ANDROGYNOUS: a person who does not exclusively identify as male or female, no matter what their biological or birth sex is.
INTERSEX: a medical (genetic) condition where a baby is born with both male and female reproductive organs or with sex chromosomes which are not exclusively male or female.
A great resource for parents
A New Canadian resource released June, 2008
You can upload the PDF by going to: http://www.ctys.org/category/resources/#ctys-publications
TEN THINGS TRANSGENDER PERSONS SHOULD DISCUSS WITH THEIR HEALTH CARE PROVIDERS
Following are the health issues GLMA's (Gay & Lesbian Medical Association, )healthcare providers have identified as most commonly of concern for transgender persons. While not all of these items apply to everyone, it's wise to be aware of these issues.
1. Access to Health Care
Transgender persons are often reluctant to seek medical care through a traditional provider-patient relationship. Some are even turned away by providers. A doctor who refuses to treat a trans person may be acting out of fear and transphobia, or may have a religious bias against GLBT patients. It's also possible that the doctor simply doesn't have the knowledge or experience he needs. Furthermore, health care related to transgender issues is usually not covered by insurance, so it is more expensive. Whatever the reasons, transgender people have sometimes become very ill because they were afraid to visit their providers.
2. Health History
Trans persons may hide important details of their health history from their doctors. Perhaps they fear being denied care if their history is known. Even many years after surgery, they may omit the history of their transition when seeing a new provider. Patients should see their provider as an equal partner in their health care, not as a gatekeeper or an obstacle to be overcome.
Cross-gender hormone therapy gives desirable feminizing (or masculinizing) effects, but carries its own unique risks. Estrogen has the potential to increase the risk of blood clotting, high blood pressure, elevated blood sugar and water retention. Anti-androgens such as spironolactone can produce dehydration, low blood pressure, and electrolyte disturbances. Testosterone, especially when given orally or in high doses, carries the risk of liver damage. Hormone use should be appropriately monitored by the patient and provider. Some trans people tend to obtain hormones and other treatment through indirect means, bypassing the health care system. Taking hormones without supervision can result in doses too high or too low, with undesired results.
4. Cardiovascular Health
Trans persons may be at increased risk for heart attack or stroke, not only from hormone use but from cigarette smoking, obesity, hypertension, and failure to monitor cardiovascular risks. Trans women may fear that a provider who finds them at risk for cardiovascular disease will instruct them to stop their hormones, and so they do not seek medical attention even when they have early warning signs of heart disease or stroke.
Hormone-related cancer (breast in trans women, liver in women or men) is very rare but should be included in health screening. A greater worry is cancer of the reproductive organs. Trans men who have not had removal of the uterus, ovaries, or breasts are still at risk to develop cancer of these organs. Trans women remain at risk, although low, for cancer of the prostate. Furthermore, some providers are uncomfortable with treating such cancers in trans people. Some cases have been reported in which persons delay seeking treatment, or are refused treatment, until the cancer has spread.
6. STDs and Safe Sex
Trans people, especially youth, may be rejected by their families and find themselves homeless. They may be forced into sex work to make a living, and therefore at high risk for STDs including HIV. Other trans people may practice unsafe sex when they are beginning to experience sexuality in their desired gender. Safe sex is still possible even in transgender relationships.
7. Alcohol and Tobacco
Alcohol abuse is common in transgender people who experience family and social rejection, and the depression which accompanies such rejection. Alcohol combined with sex hormone administration increases the risk of liver damage. Tobacco use is high among all trans persons, especially those who use tobacco to maintain weight loss. Risks of heart attack and stroke are increased in persons who smoke tobacco and take estrogen or testosterone.
For many reasons, trans people are particularly prone to depression and anxiety. In addition to loss of family and friends, they face job stress and the risk of unemployment. Trans people who have not transitioned and remain in their birth gender are very prone to depression and anxiety. Suicide is a risk, both prior to transition and afterward. One of the most important aspects of the transgender therapy relationship is management of depression and/or anxiety.
9. Injectable Silicone
Some trans women want physical feminization without having to wait for the effects of estrogen. They expect injectable silicone to give them "instant curves." The silicone, often administered at "pumping parties" by non-medical persons, may migrate in the tissues and cause disfigurement years later. It is usually not medical grade, may contain many contaminants, and is often injected using a shared needle. Hepatitis may be spread through use of such needles.
10. Fitness (Diet & Exercise)
Many trans people are sedentary and overweight. Exercise is not a priority, and they may be working long hours to support their transitions. A healthy diet and a frequent exercise routine are just as important for trans persons as for the public. Exercise prior to sex reassignment surgery will reduce a person's operative risk and promote faster recovery.
Author: Rebecca A. Allison, MD