Does being transgendered mean I’m mentally ill?

No. Transsexualism and Gender Identity Disorder are listed in psychiatric manuals because of the distress the unresolved condition can cause, which sometimes leads to suicide. This severe distress consequently requires NHS funded interventions aimed at resolving a person’s conflict between their body and their sense of self.

However, a person can be transgendered and function exceptionally well in society. If a person is functioning well it may seem inappropriate for them to receive a diagnosis of (what is technically) psychiatric disorder, however such a diagnosis may be made so that they can receive the appropriate treatments,to prevent future problems.

Seeing a psychiatrist or psychologist does not in itself mean that one has a psychiatric illness.

Does being transgendered mean I won’t be able to get a job?

No. The vast majority of transgendered people have jobs and many employers have policies in place to deal with trans related issues that may arise. People who transition at work are also protected under employment law. Being transgendered is not enough in and of itself to justify seeking incapacity benefit.

Does being transgendered mean I won’t be able to get a partner?

No. Just as with anyone else many transgendered people are in long term relationships, some are married, some are in a civil partnership and some have relationships with more than one partner. Often the relationships that last longest are those where the transgendered person is openly so, but their being transgendered is not the reason their partner is with them. Every relationship is different.

What causes transgender feelings?

There are so many different ways of being transgendered that it is extremely unlikely that there exists one single “cause”. The literature suggests that it may be any (or any combination) of: genes, pre-birth conditions, hormones, neurology, learning, choice etc. Speculating on causes doesn’t, however, tell you as an individual what to do.

Can being transgendered be cured?

Being transgendered is not a problem in and of itself. The distress that is often caused by being transgendered in a sometimes misunderstanding society can be, and the ‘cure’ for that distress will be different for different people. We do know that for significant numbers of transgendered people, talking therapies do not resolve their gender issues and, for some, the appropriate course of actions is for the body to be altered to fit the mind through hormonal and surgical interventions.

Is there a ‘right’ way to be transgendered?

No. There are as many different ways of being a transgendered person as there are transgendered people. A big part of the work done at the GIC is in exploring which is the best way for you. You do not have to have hormones or surgery to be transgendered.

Should surgery be funded on the NHS?

Yes. Genital Reconstruction Surgery is necessary for many transgendered people to live their lives; and for some denial of access to treatment can be life-threatening.

However, as NHS surgery is funded by the taxpayer it is important that only people who would benefit from it are given it. This is one of the reasons, aside from the great number of ethical considerations, that we have a process of diagnosis and evaluation.

Where can I get clothes/wigs/binders/packers/electrolysis? Do you know any good clubs?

As we are part of the NHS we don’t recommend any private outlets/providers. We do, however, provide information on support and campaigning groups. If you search the internet or get in contact with some of the support groups below they should be able to point you in the right direction.

Which transgendered groups do you recommend?

We can’t take responsibility for the content or approach of other websites or groups. This list is for your information only:

  • Press for Change (campaign/lobbying)
  • The Gender Trust (support – with telephone helpline)
  • FTM Network (newsletter)
  • Trans London (monthly meetings)
  • Spectrum London (monthly meetings)
  • FTM London (monthly meetings)
  • NuttycaTS (online support)
  • CX Gender Identity Clinic Yahoo group (online support)

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