How do I start?
Wherever you live in Australia, your very first step is always your GP (general practitioner). In Australia,
- GPs are your best advocates when you need help
- GPs are the ‘gate-keepers’ to the rest of the medical system
- only GPs write referral letters (introduction letters) to any other medical providers you need to see
How you transition is up to you.
Most people start with testosterone and have chest reconstructive surgery (also called ‘top surgery’). Some men also choose to have reproductive surgery (also called hysterectomy and bilateral oophorectomy).
A small number of men seek out genital reconstructive surgery (also called ‘lower surgery’). At the present time (2018) this surgery is only available overseas (Canada, Belgium, Belgrade or the UK).
When you’re ready to start transition, you will need to see specialist doctors, like endocrinologists (hormone doctor) or surgeons. Sometimes you might need to a psychiatrist.
To start hormones, you can use a ‘gender clinic’ (in Sydney, in Brisbane or in Melbourne), or you can ask your GP to write you a referral letter directly to an endocrinologist who specialises in sex hormones and can get you started on testosterone treatment.
Your GP will ask why you want the referral letter. Tell your GP honestly what you’re feeling, why you want to start hormones and a little bit about how you came to this decision.
There are no ‘right’, ‘wrong’ or ‘better’ answers. Speak your own truth. Your GP won’t tell you how to transition or what to do. You need to know what you want to do. So make sure you know what you’re looking for and why before you start.
Male sex-affirmation surgery
This is a series of surgeries which have a number of different options, as well as a growing number of techniques being performed around the world. You need to research all your options (surgeries, surgeons, costs and techniques) carefully to be sure you will get the results you want to have.
If you plan to have surgery, you will need to think about how you’ll pay for your surgery. Medicare will cover some of the surgeon charges/costs for Australian residents. If you intend to have surgery, it is recommended you get health insurance as soon as you can. Health insurance covers your hospital costs and all the equipment costs (food, bed, stitches, drips, bandages, etc). Any Australian Health Fund that offers Top Hospital Cover will cover these costs after you have been in the fund for 12 months.
Today, it is not necessary to have any surgery you don’t want to have. Most of these surgical procedures can be done in Australia with the exception of genital reconstructive surgery.