Saturday, March 1, 2014

Selectivity in choosing professionals

I heard from Disc Jockey this week, which was wonderful.  She informed me that she has been seeing more transgender young folks recently.  This is quite encouraging-parents are realizing the importance of taking their kids to the right people.  The wrong therapist can be disastrous to a transgender person.  Recent changes in the WPATH standards of care indicate that therapists are NOT meant to be the "gatekeepers" of access to hormone therapy or surgery, but rather are meant to assist the transgender person as they navigate the process of transition.  Therapists who are experienced with the transgender community, its challenges and the challenges of physical transition, understand this.  Those who aren't, simply may not.  After all, we do not expect podiatrists to understand how to take care of a person in cardiac arrest…..or do we?

Who is called over the intercom when a person's heart stops beating?  "Is there a doctor in the house?" is frequently broadcast in those instances.  We all think that all doctors are experts in all issues related to life and death and they are not.  A doctor who works in a pediatric practice seeing the typical variety of sick kids may not have worked a cardiac arrest situation in YEARS.  Doctors have their own specialities, and once they specialize and begin to practice in their specialty, they may not be as likely to be skilled in other specialties. Take CPR for example-the science and technique has changed multiple times in the last 2 decades.  If a doctor hasn't taken a CPR class in recent years, he may make incorrect treatment decisions.  This applies to therapists too.  They also will specialize in certain patient populations.  It's worth doing the searching to find the right one.

Please visit the following link for a sanctioned list of therapists who are experienced and skilled in helping transgender people:

And guess what?  Many therapists are using Skype for visits.  How awesome is that?  It's still face to face therapy in real time.  This can make your lives easier and open more options to those of you who don't live in areas where experienced therapists reside.

Back to Disc Jockey-she indicated that she's working with an 18 year old who is scheduled for rapidly upcoming gender confirmation surgery.  I prefer this phrase, that Dr. Christine McGinn of the Papillion Center coined, in lieu of the term gender reassignment surgery, as it seems more appropriate and accurate. After all, you are born with the gender(s) you are, or are not, as the case may be.  The surgery provides outward confirmation what you already know to be true.

This 18 year old is nearly identical in age to DJ and Disc Jockey thought that DJ might be a helpful advocate, if she felt comfortable acting in this way, to this young lady.  I'm not sure how DJ will respond but I plan to discuss it with Bulldog and he and I can bring it to DJ's attention.  I'm not sure how she'll respond.  On the one hand, I think she wants to rapidly put all that behind her and perhaps forget her "origins" as it were;  I can't say I blame her there.  On the other hand, I simply do not know how she might feel and do not want to pressure her because she has a tendency to feel inappropriately guilty about what she perceives as something that perhaps she "should" do.  We'll tread delicately on the subject and see what happens.

But this begs the question to those of you who have transitioned-what are your experiences?  Once you have transitioned, do you NOT want to revisit that time in your lives?  There is no judgement or blame being assigned here.  Your information might be helpful to family members of transgender people in understanding their needs of either wanting to acknowledge their pre-transition lives, or not.  I know DJ doesn't want any pictures of herself, even as a small child, unless she's so young that there is no possibility of identifying the gender that we were raising her as, i.e., infancy.  Up until her first haircut, I can take photos and make them black and white so as not to refer to any gender stereotypes and at least I can display those photos.  I've been hearing from more parents and youth-I'm hoping that those of you who can lend your voices will do so.  You can always email me at and perhaps, with your permission, I can share some of what you've experienced. Otherwise, you can certainly add your comments in the section provided.  I hope you all have a good weekend :)