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
When you’re ready to start transition, you will need to see specialists doctors, like endocrinologists (hormone doctor) or surgeons. Sometimes you might need to a psychiatrist.
To start hormones, you can start through 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.
This is not a test. Describe yourself in your own terms. Don’t try to ‘second-guess’ what your GP might or might not want to hear. You might have heard some talk that doctors want to hear ‘certain phrases’ or descriptions. This is not true. There are no ‘right’, ‘wrong’ or ‘better’ answers. Speak your own truth.
It’s okay to admit your fears or worries to your GP. If you’re worried about side effects, risks or the long-term effects on your health on testosterone, tell your GP. It doesn’t mean they’re going to talk you out of starting treatment. Being honest with your doctors about any concerns or fears you might have shows you’re thinking about your risks and your health. Your GP should listen to you and take you seriously.
FTM Australia offers an online searchable Health and Service Providers (HSP) List which is regularly updated by others just like you. This HSP list can help you find either a ‘gender clinic’ or an endocrinologist who is familiar with treating others like yourself. The HSP will have names of GPs who can help you get started with your medical transition. To access the HSP List, you will need to join OzGuys (only for people who want to transition FTM in Australia)
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.