Posted 8th March 2017Counselling can help to address transgender issues.
To ask for information or to arrange an appointment,
please call Kenneth Demsky, PhD on 020 7435 6116
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Media attention has made transgenderism, or gender dysphoria, more accessible and from a subject that was widely misunderstood and suppressed, the realisation of the issue and its emotional and psychological effects is encouraging people to seek gender treatment in increasing numbers.
Caitlyn Jenner, Chaz Bono and Kellie Maloney have recently made transgenderism less of a taboo and television stations are adding transgender characters to their dramas.
The terms gender dysphoria and transgender mean that the sex of a person at birth does not fit their psychology and their identity, the person evaluates that they are of the opposite sex, so a male could feel that they are female in nature and vice versa.
It is not a gender or sexual oriented designation and the term transgendered is not widely and happily accepted because the –ed suggests that something happened to make the person feel as they do.
In some non-Western cultures transgender people are identified as a gender of their own known as third gender. Unfortunately, in Western society transgender people can still experience discrimination despite the Gender Recognition Act in 2004 and the Equality Act of 2010. We can only hope that with newly accrued knowledge and broader acceptance transgenderism will not be subject to negativity in the future.What treatment exists for it?
The treatment depends on the age of the transgender person, one treatment does not work for all. Medical professionals have a code of conduct which they must adhere to concerning all transgender people and resources are available from the World Professional Association of Transgender Health (WPATH).
The NHS approach for under 18’s is that they will be evaluated at a specialist Gender Identity Clinic. Depending on the conclusions drawn by the professionals in a MDT (Multi Disciplinary Team), one or more of the following will take place, with the emphasis on psychological rather than surgical procedures:
- Group work for young people and their parents
- Individual therapy for gender-related issues
- Family therapy
- Parental counselling
- Hormone therapy
- Regular reviews of the child’s gender identity development
Treatments allow the young people and their families to have an opportunity to discuss what is happening in the process. Throughout puberty and beyond, hormone therapy is available as a part of treatment for gender-related issues. These are synthetic hormones - gonadotrophin-releasing hormone analogues, (GnRH)
These hormones suppress the natural bodily hormone developments and the effects of puberty like physical alterations which may distress the transgender person, as they are of the opposite sex to their identity. This means that the choices about treatment can be put on hold until the person is old enough to give direct consent.
From 17 years of age and over people are seen at an adult gender clinic. By this age, doctors are much more confident in identifying gender dysphoria and can offer more permanent steps through hormones or surgical procedures and counselling, support groups, speech and language therapy for voice alteration to match the desired gender and hair removal
While some transgender people will be comfortable at this level of treatment with their gender identity other people will want a full transition to the opposite sex. This can only be decided by the person themselves.
Therapy for gender-related issues can help address issues and aid decisions.
Hormones start the process of changing the body into one that is more male or female according to identity. These are normally required indefinitely and regular check up appointments should be made with the GP or at the Gender Identity Clinic.
The hormones should never be sourced from the internet as these are not guaranteed to be safe.
Before any surgery a transgender person will spend a year to two years living in the social gender role to ensure that the full transition is still wanted and if a surgery can take place. A support team will be with the transgender person throughout this lengthy process.
According to NHS research, over a 20 year time span 96% of people who had genital reconstructive surgery were happy that they’d had the procedure despite any discrimination. Again, therapy for gender-related issues will make this easier to deal with.
Posted 8th March 2017