Friday, November 4, 2011

Attention Young People-resources for YOU

To my young readers, if there are any.  You are not alone. I did a quick search for some resources so that you would know you are NOT the only transgender kid or teenager, or young adult out there. We live in a rural community, and support is even popping up out here.  You gotta look for it.  Your generation is way more computer savvy than mine, so if I can find it, you can.

In the meantime-here are a couple of phone numbers:

Trevor Lifeline:

866-4UTrevor or 866-488-7386

Another hotline: this is a nationwide toll free number for the Trevor Lifeline:


If you think that most people in the world won't love you or accept you, it's not true.  Even if you do not find acceptance at home, there are people out there who can confirm to you your worth, your loveableness, your right to exist and be happy.  Go to:

Trans Youth Family Allies is another great organization at:

And if I may, I would like to comment, personally, on young folks who face this challenge.

I know that not everyone will accept you for who you really are and I can only imagine how painful that must be.  But if you harbor fears that no one will ever love you and accept you, please know that that isn't true.  You may have to kiss way more frogs than you care to, but there are lots of people who will love you, accept you, be your friend and supporter.  You are braver than you know in being true to yourself.  There are so many of us who want to help.  Please keep helping yourself and reaching out to the people who want to support you.  Go to the websites I've listed here and under "Links".  Reach out to help yourself and you will be helping someone else at the same time.  Keep the faith.  Live your truth and know that there are plenty of us who are on your side.

You asked for it...more resources

In an effort to be more concrete in my support, rather than accommodating my need to be mouthy myself, to quote one of my previous, angry blog entries, I would like to use today's entry to share some specific information regarding services, health care professionals, and the like.

For folks who are considering or have started the transition process, there are multiple physical characteristics that one must modify, obviously, in some cases, perhaps not so much with others.  Let us just get down to brass tacks and address them head on.

For transgender females anywhere in the puberty process:  has your voice become disarmingly deep?  Have you considered speech therapy?  I believe there are some programs online but if you can go to an actual speech and hearing clinic, these fine folks are trained specifically to help folks with speech issues, which may include voice training.  We were directed to the George Washington University speech and hearing clinic where in a mere 6-8 months, DJ's voice was trained to fall into the "normal" range of a typical female voice.  Their program is fabulous and affordable:  they make use of the grad students to offer the voice training, under the supervision and guidance of licensed professionals, and thereby can keep the costs affordable.  Dr. Adrienne Hancock assisted DJ and she was wonderful to work with.  They charge $50 for a one hour session.  GWU is in Washington D.C. so if you live anywhere in the area, it's definitely worth considering.  But, if you don't, consider going to a University, or speech therapy clinic near you that has a medical program and ask.  Voice training is part of speech therapy so while the folks near you may not have worked with transgender clients before, that doesn't mean they won't be willing or able to help you in your endeavor to sound more feminine.  The training is not just aimed at the voice itself, but also encompasses common mannerisms of speaking, so I imagine this process could be helpful to the transgender male client as well.

Finding a therapist that specializes in this field:  those of you living near urban areas will likely have more success, but even if you live out in the country, like we do, there are still possibilities.  Perhaps making a weekly 50 mile trip isn't feasible, but if you can manage it every 2-3 weeks, many therapists can and will still work with you, especially if you're not having any major issues.  Try Laura's Playground at :

to find a list of therapists, by state.  We found DJ's therapist this way.  The first therapist we went to was Ellen Warren in Alexandria, Virginia.  She is wonderful.  You can do a Google search to find her.  The only reason we didn't stay with her was the drive was too long to make weekly, which we thought was required at the time.  However, I continued to check back with the Laura's Playground website and found DJ's new therapist, Chris McClure, in Gainesville, VA.  She is fabulous as well.  Both are very experienced in helping transgender teens and young adults.  You can Google Chris McClure, as well to find her office location.

Considering hormone therapy?  Prior to the recent changes in the WPATH Standards of Care,  it seemed the only path worth considering was going to a Pediatric Endocrinologist for teens who want to transition in this way.  However, we were fortunate enough to have a colleague who recommended another colleague in New Jersey who worked with DJ's primary care physician, here at home, to manage her pharmacological needs.  Dr. Carla Enriquez in New Jersey is a doctor who specializes in pediatric neurodevelopmental issues, among other things.  She assisted DJ in writing prescriptions for her hormones.  Our insurance did not cover her care, so it was pricey because Dr. Enriquez will conduct an exceedingly thorough exam including interviews with the patient and parents of the minor patient.  But she is a brilliant doctor who, by the way, transitioned quite a long time ago and was a true trailblazer in her state.  Her actions led to legislation to protect transgender people from discrimination and harassment in New Jersey.  We enlisted the help of DJ's primary care physician to authorize periodic lab work, which our insurance did cover.  He then forwarded the results of the lab work to Dr. E so that she could be sure DJ's hormone levels were in the appropriate range.  You might be able to enlist the assistance of your PCP in this way, thereby keeping visits to the specialist who writes the prescriptions to a minimum.  I simply downloaded and printed a fair amount of scientific data describing DJ's condition and brought it in to her PCP and we discussed his informing his staff that the client formerly known as JD, was now DJ. He was glad to help and thankful for the information I provided so that he could read it in his spare time.

Another great doctor to consider who just brought a physician's assistance to her practice to help manage her increasing numbers of clients with hormone management needs is Dr. Christine McGinn in New Hope, PA.  You can Google her, as well.  My understanding is Dr. McGinn had quite a long waiting list for patients who wanted her to help them manage their pharmacological needs,which is why she brought the physician's asst. on board.  Whether or not she is taking new clients for this purpose, I'm not certain, but it's worth trying.  Dr. Christine McGinn is also a superbly gifted surgeon, as I understand it, and performs gender confirmation surgery for both male and female transgender patients.  She has a wonderfully unique set-up to care for her surgical patients, particularly post-op.  Her demeanor is friendly, caring, and professional.  Her staff is excellent.  Her office also performs electrolysis AND will numb the area with a blocking agent via injection, which is a service that is hard to find.  Most electrologists work independently from doctors and cannot therefore offer the numbing injection, only numbing cream, which may not be as effective in controlling discomfort.  Additionally, Dr. McGinn's office offers laser hair removal too.

Go to for all kinds of resources for transgender folks.  It is incredibly comprehensive.  I've said this before, but the first time I went on the website, I was a bit taken aback because the graphics were what would normally appeal to children and I was worried what kind of website it was.  DO NOT let the graphics sway you one way or the other.  This website is very helpful, complete with chaperoned chat rooms, blogs, and all kinds of references for services.  This was, literally, the first resource we made use of when DJ first came out.  DJ and I accessed the chat rooms together so I could be sure it was on the up and up and it is.  There are folks who monitor the chat rooms to protect the users from folks who are there for the wrong reasons.

If you're considering coming out at school or at work, www.imatyfa. org and www. have resources to help educate peers at work, or at school.  I've even been given to understand that a rep from their organization may come to your place of work, or school, and educate the folks there to assist with your transition.  It's worth looking into.  They have a pamphlet online that you can print up and bring to your school or place of work to illustrate what services they offer to help make your transition as a student or employee easier for everybody.

If you're considering surgery, be careful of where you look.  For example, we looked into Johns Hopkins Hospital.  Last time I checked, they perform gender confirmation surgery but the patient has to go through the Sexual Behaviors Consultation unit.  In other words, my child would be mixed in with clientele that may have had erectile dysfunction issues, inability to perform issues, sexual deviancy issues, as well as gender identity issues.  Any "sexual" issue was treated there.  I was not about to mix my child in with such a varied clientele.  For all I know, they could be treating pedophiles there since that is a sexual behavior, whereas gender identity is NOT a sexual behavior.  I thought their process was alarmingly conservative and cast the transgender person in a negative light.  Just my opinion, but worth considering when you are evaluating resources for your family member or yourself.

There is a surgeon in Canada, Dr. Brassard, who comes very highly recommended.  You can Google him as well as there is a plethora of information on him.  Very highly regarded and is supposed to have a gentle bedside manner in addition to excellent skills as a surgeon.

I will endeavor to find out more if I can and share it with my readers.  If you have resources that you can share, please send me a comment and maybe we can then share e-mail addresses and correspond.