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Posts posted by Chrissy

  1. I'm a little troubled by the title though in relation to the video - it still seems like she might be saying that Gender Dysphoria is a "mental illness." GD is very likely on its way to being included as a medical diagnosis and removed from the DSM entirely, which would be awesome (it has to be in 1 or the other in order for insurance to cover medical transition costs). The DSM is also problematic because it makes it seem like it's all about internal distress, when so much of the issue for most people is the external distress - the bigotry and rejection that we face as a result of our gender identity.

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  2. Hi Christy!

    I offer this with the qualification that this was my experience, things will vary from person-to-person, including based on the surgeon that you use. I'm now over a year past surgery and there is nothing that I have to do on a daily basis, the only thing left relating to the GCS is that I have to dilate once a week (that will be forever). Dilation schedule varies based on the surgeon - my schedule was 4x/day for the first month, 3x/day for the following 2 months, 2x/day for the next 3 months, 1x/day for 6 months, and then 1x/week after that - it was 20 minutes per session.

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  3. From what I understand, pretty soon GD is going to be added medical diagnostic manuals and it will likely be removed from the DSM at that point, which I think is the way to go. That way, doctors can work with trans-identified people who want to pursue medical transitioning. On the mental health side we would then deal with the depression, anxiety, etc. that comes along with it for the individual. Those things are all caused by a host of issues, GD is one of the only ones that gets separated out which adds to the stigmatization. They also separate depression that is caused by substance use and by other health issues, but they don't individually break them out (for example, if you are depressed because you have cancer, it's depression linked to a medical condition, NOT depression linked to cancer).

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  4. Looks like a good resource - though they do the same thing with Gender Dysphoria that the mental health profession loves to do so much, which is to disregard the impact of discrimination. They frame it as if the depression, anxiety and other effects are all caused by the internal dissonance when it's how you'll be received if you mess with traditional gender norms that causes so much of the problem.

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  5. Michael and Emma,

    I just wanted to clarify something - when I referred to "patient" I was referring to the person with respect to surgery, not in therapy - I would never use "patient" as a therapy term, usually "client" :-)



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  6. In the support group that I facilitate (in NYC) we discussed name changes recently, a couple of people who have done it said it went very easily - there's usually a publication requirement, but in both cases the judge waived it for them due to the possibility of it endangering them - so that was nice to hear!  (I had it done in NJ, didn't even think to ask about waiving the publication requirement)

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  7. The Tech Times article should be taken with far more than a grain of salt. It seems to rely on one surgeon (who I never heard of) and dubious correlations of suicide and surgery (trans people are much more likely to try suicide even before surgery, it's unlikely the surgery has anything to do with it).

    The value of therapy is legitimate but overstated. Informed consent should really be the model - which in one variation simply means the patient is capable of making an informed choice,  not necessarily that they do. The WPATH standards are very paternalistic and a serious obstacle to people with limited means.

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  8. Further information towards the "growing consensus" (they use the term in the article, hence the quotation marks) that gender identity is biological and not environmental. They allow for the fact that many people make choices regarding gender and transitioning based on environmental forces, but that "there do not seem to be external forces that genuinely cause individuals to change gender identity.”

    3 people like this

  9. Hi,

    I just noticed that in the blurb at the top of the transsexual forum it still indicates "gender identity disorder." I think perhaps that should be updated to "gender dysphoria" to reflect the current status (the DSM has dropped "gender identity disorder," recognizing that it basically pathologized transgender identity).


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  10. Personally, when I started out I found videos by Stephanie Lange on YouTube (she's Australian, now based in Ireland). These aren't specifically for trans people, but I found her easy to follow (I mainly found her because I have "hooded eyes," and she's done a number of videos on that specifically.

    If it's a possibility (and I know it's not always), ask female friends (trans or cis). I was fortunate that I have a good friend who is obsessed with make-up. I think when I came out as trans to her all she heard was "make-up shopping buddy!" It was a little hard at first - she knows it all so well and I barely knew the basics, but over time I picked it up :-)

    Beyond that, it just takes experimenting and practice! I've found that the brands at drugstores and such is perfectly fine, especially if that's where your budget it (as mine is! I'd love to go to Sephora, but I can't afford it).

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  11. Emma,

    Thanks for sharing that! Yes, relationship is vital to any therapy working. I went to one therapist where we clearly didn't click, I stopped after 3 sessions. You need to feel comfortable sharing everything with the person.

    And you made a really great point about experience - having specific experience working with trans clients isn't necessary, a good therapist can work with almost any population, they'll learn from you and through research.


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  12. Hi everyone,

    There was recently, as part of a discussion in another Forum, some talk about mental health professionals. I thought it was worth putting this out as a separate Forum post, to give people an opportunity to talk about their own experiences working with mental health professionals and what they think is (or isn't) important in looking for one. The information I'm discussing below is specific to the U.S., so there will likely be differences in other countries (it also may at time be specific to New York - so my apologies if I get parochial at all).

    It's important to know that in most places you don't need any formal training or licensing to call yourself a "therapist."  So if you want to make sure you are going to someone who is properly trained and licensed (and licensing does provide some assurance that the person is responsible for following ethical guidelines, and that they will be properly trained and insured), you should also check the person's credentials (which shouldn't be hidden from view!). Therapy in the U.S. can be done by psychiatrists (who are medically trained), psychologists, social workers, mental health counselors and (other thoughts?). These are all trained, licensed professions (a social worker for example would have an LMSW and possibly LCSW license). To be licensed you have to complete a certain level of approved education, pass a licensing exam and meet other licensing requirements. Typically you also, initially, have to work under another person's supervision and have proper insurance. When it comes to cost, social workers and mental health counselors are typically going to cost less than psychiatrists and psychologists.

    Any of these can be properly trained to work with transgender issues - it's important to look to see if they have that training and/or have worked successfully with clients who are transgender.

    Another consideration is that, depending on what kind of medical transitioning you are thinking about, you'll probably need letters from mental health professionals to do that. It's a good idea to check your insurance (or medicaid, etc.) and/or the doctors you're thinking about working with to see what exactly they'll require (doctors usually just need whatever the insurance company requires). In my case, to get HRT I needed a therapy letter, and one from the mental health counselor I was seeing was sufficient. For my GCS I got a letter from my therapist (a mental health counselor) and had to get at least one from a Ph.D. level professional (a psychiatrist or psychologist). I was referred to a psychologist who met with me for one (90 minute) session and provided the letter (since I had one from my therapist already, he didn't require a lengthy process to provide the 2nd).

    Personally I've worked with 2 therapists in the time since I came out and transitioned, the first was a social worker, the second was a mental health counselor (I had to stop going to the first because he stopped taking my insurance). Both for fully qualified to work with transgender issues. One way of confirming that kind of thing also is to see if there are any mental health organizations in your area that make referrals - both of my therapists were affiliated with the Institute for Human Identity in NYC.

    So other thoughts on this topic?

    2 people like this

  13. I agree that being under a doctor's supervision and getting regular blood work is ideal, but there are (too many) people without access to those resources (I don't know if that is Patricia's situation or not, but it is for many). In that situation herbal substitutes seem like a relatively safe option, when done with research and watching carefully for issues.

    These aren't controlled substances, so it is a different situation than illegally obtaining and using prescription medications.

  14. Patricia,

    That's great that you're seeing positive results!

    Emma, I understand the concern that the rules refer to, but Patricia referred to herbal HRT which probably is not something a physician would be involved with (but I don't know that for sure). In either case, and with all the respect in the world (which I do truly have for you), I don't know that it's appropriate to ask members for confirmation of the sort that you asked about. The site can promote good practices, but askimg that question sounds like an attempt to impose a rule on someone's private life, not just what they are posting here.

  15. I think Emma is correct that it mainly depends on where it is and what laws exist in that area. Another consideration though are medical ethics - if the person is not receiving proper treatment because of their gender identity the ethics of the staff can be called into question. That would be a matter to raise with the medical board in that state.

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  16. Naeka,

    Congrats on the results! My own were not more than expected, I actually didn't get much breast growth at all (until my top surgery that is!). But it's my understanding that results vary significantly from person to person. Of course it never hurts to check with the doctor ☺


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  17. So I'm approaching 2 years on HRT, and 8 months post-GCS. What I noticed when I started HRT, and then each time the dosage went up over the first few months was that my sex drive would basically flat-line for up to a week, then slowly recover.

    It is different now though - I definitely have a healthy sex drive, but it's not as persistent as it was before. It takes more to get me going, but the experience when it happens is more intense. (This is all based on "personal" experience, I haven't had sex with a man yet as a woman)

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  18. True you can talk with anyone about this they might even be of help to you but, in the end most if not all doctors who perform any of the necessary surgeries will not do them unless you have at least one letter of recommendation by a doctorate holding professional of the mental perfesion, ie. Pshycologist or Psychiatrist, plus if you see a psychiatrist you can get them to prescribe your meds killing two birds with one stone.

    Transition smartly, do it your way within the parameters we still have to abide by.

    That's true. In my case one letter came from my therapist and then I was referred to a psychologist for the 2nd, but that only required 1 session, so on the whole it was much less expensive.

    For HRT a letter from my therapist was sufficient. But it's definitely important to know what's going to be required (by insurance, surgeon, etc.)

  19. I'm late to this post but here goes - the conversation with my doctor was pretty easy, I basically just said I'm transgender and was looking into HRT.  But I have been going to him for a long time, making it easier. He congratulated me and asked a out my support system, reinforcing my good feeling about him ☺

    Regardless of how you address it, and this applies to doctors and mental health professionals, if you feel uncomfortable or disrespected by their response, find someone else!!! (I realize that can be easy or hard depending on where you are, but of you have options then look around)

    All therapy should be about figuring out what you want and need and helping you work towards that. It's important that they work with you, not tell you what you want and need (and I know it's tempting to want someone to just tell you, but don't let that happen)

    I've worked with a couple of social workers and a mental health counselor, and they were all well qualified to work with me on my issues, so I disagree that you should look for a psychiatrist or psychologist specifically (and they tend to be much more expensive). I would definitely look for someone with actual professional licensing though (not a life coach, etc) but I might be biased since I'm pursuing a licensed profession 😛