You’re Rights using public toilets
In the UK there are no laws about which public toilets you can use, so if you have transitioned then you are perfectly entitled to use female toilets as a trans woman and male toilets as a trans man.
Question I think I might be a transsexual. Where can I get support?
There are numerous support groups for Trans people. We would recommend:
PRESS FOR CHANGE: BM Network London WC1N 3XX
Helpline: 0161 432 1915 (Mon-Thurs 10am – 5pm)
‘The UK’s Leading Experts on Transgender Law’.
Campaign for equal civil rights for Trans people. Provides free legal help and advice for individuals, information and training for professionals, speakers for groups.
Produces a newsletter and publications.
GENDER TRUST: 76 The Ridgeway, Astwood Bank, B96 6LX, Worcestershire
Tele: 01527 894 838
“The Gender Trust is a listening ear, a caring support and an information centre for anyone with any question or problem concerning their gender identity, or whose loved one is struggling with gender identity issues.” Has a membership society and produces a magazine.
Qwest FTM UK (was FTM network): 35a Fore Street, Wellington, TA21 8AG
Helpline: 01823 650 700 or 07811 814 302
Qwest FTM UK publishes and distributes the magazine BoysOwn, written by and for FtM folk; offers an information helpline; hosts a national biennial conference, and puts people in touch with their local support networks.
BEAUMONT SOCIETY: 27 Old Gloucester St, London WC1N 3XX.
Information line: 01582 412220.
The Beaumont Society is a national self-help body run by and for those who cross-dress or are trans-sexual. Provides advice and support, runs local groups and produces a newsletter and publications.
Its sister organisation is WOBS, Women of the Beaumont Society, is a national self-help body run by women for the partners of transgender people who have been affected by the issues their relationship can face.
Helpline: 01223 441246
http://www.gender.org.uk/wobsmatters or http://www.wobs.org.uk/
MERMAIDS: BM Mermaids London WC1N 3XX.
Information line: (0208) 1234819 : Monday to Saturday
3pm until 7pm only, UK Time, when staffed, answerphone at other times – local rates!
Support and information for children and teenagers who are trying to cope with gender identity issues and for their families and carers. Please send SAE for further information.
Gires (Gender Identity Research and Education Society): Melverley, The Warren, Ashtead, Surrey, KT21 2SP
Tel: 01372 801554/ Fax: 01372 272297
Gires is a charity that develops good practice guidelines, education programmes and literature. Its “aim is to generate supportive attitudes among all those who can make those improvements happen, including politicians, other policy makers, clinicians, the providers of commercial and government services.”
DEPEND: BM Depend, London WC1N 3XX
An organization offering free, confidential and non-judgmental advice, information and support to all family members, partners, spouses and friends of transsexual people.
A comprehensive list of support groups and guidance material can be found on the Equality and Human Rights Commission Website http://www.equalityhumanrights.com/advice-and-guidance/your-rights/transgender/transgender-additional-resources/
Gires has a website called ‘transwiki’ where you can find a list all the organisations they know about which support transgender people across the UK, at national and local level http://www.gires.org.uk/tranzwiki/index.php/Main_Page#Support_Groups
The Guardian has an article on its website which lists online resources. It can be added to. http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2012/nov/29/transgender-advice-best-resources-online#start-of-comments
I am 16; can I start gender reassignment surgery treatment?
I want to find out how to have a sex change. I am a 15 year old girl, but I am sure that really I am a boy. Ever since I can remember I have thought I should have been a boy. It is like my brain is in the wrong body. I want to leave school and get an apprenticeship in electrical engineering, but if I am going to do that I want to go as myself, as a boy. How can I do that, and do I need my parents’ permission? I have told them, but they are very upset, and I don’t think they will give me permission.
Please help, Tommy
As you are under 19, the first thing you need to do is visit your GP and ask for a referral to a specialist clinic for young people. If you go to see your GP alone, everything you say there is in confidence and your GP cannot tell your parents. Ask your GP to refer you to the Gender Identity clinic at the Tavistock Portman Clinic. The clinic will help you through determining for yourself whether you are trans, and whether gender reassignment is the way forward. It will also help your Mum and Dad to understand the issues, when you feel ready to get them involved.
The clinic will not be able to start your gender reassignment; you will have to wait until you are 18, although they may be able to provide hormone treatment from the age of 16. Although I suspect at 15 you have probably gone through most physical changes they would be able to provide you with pubertal hormone blockers, to arrest your puberty so that later body changes are easier.
There is also a book I can recommend you give to your parents: ‘The Transgender Debate: The Crisis Surrounding Gender Identity’. It only costs £3.50 incl. p &p. You will find it on Amazon at;
The Family Law Act makes a young person aged 16 no longer a minor for NHS treatment. They are considered capable of making up their own minds and of giving consent. However until someone challenges the system (as they did in Australia) it is likely they would find it difficult to persuade a clinic to provide irreversible treatments (such as gender reassignment surgery) before the age of 18.
As for puberty postponement treatment, the young person should seek a referral to the Tavistock Portman Childhood and Adolescent Gender Identity Clinic. In the Scottish Protocol (which will be used for the time being until the new NHS National Commissioning Board can reach an agreement on treatment protocols) the patient can self-refer to a Gender Identity Clinic or be directly referred by their GP, they do not have to be referred through the local psychiatric service.
The protocol states in relation to Hormone therapy, mastectomy and creation of a male chest in FtM patients that the Gender Identity Clinic must first ensure patients meet the following eligibility and readiness criteria:
- Persistent, well-documented gender dysphoria;
- Capacity to make a fully informed decision and to consent for treatment;
- Aged at least 16 (see Appendix 5 for protocol details for children and adolescents aged under 16)
- If significant medical or mental health concerns are present, they must be reasonably “well controlled”
[Appendix 5 states: ” Children who are under 16 years old can consent to their own treatment if it is thought that they have enough intelligence, competence and understanding to fully appreciate what is involved in their treatment (Gillick Competence)”]
The West London Mental Health Trust provides the major adult clinical service at the Claybrook Centre in Fulham in London. Their publication ‘Gender dysphoria services: a guide for General Practitioners and other healthcare staff, acc. 15/05/2013 at http://www.wlmht.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/Gender-dysphoria-guide-for-GPs-and-other-healthcare-staff.pdf ‘ states:
“As an individual approaches 18, the child & adolescent specialist Gender Service will liaise with the appropriate adult Gender Service to ensure a smooth transfer of care. This may include ongoing prescriptions of oestrogen or testosterone where these have already been commenced, or initiating such treatment without undue delay”
NB they imply that hormones can be given before the person attends the adult clinic. So clearly they come across kids who have received hormone therapy from a private clinical provider or their local services. The ONLY private clinical providers that we would recommend are: GenderCare www.gendercare.co.uk or Transhealthcare www.transhealth.co.uk/
If you have any law related questions please leave them in the comments section below.