What to expect during transition

Transition involves a profound change in your life; this may seem daunting but we are here to help. There are a range of challenges to be addressed during your transition, so we’ve prepared a checklist to help you prepare.

This list is not exhaustive. Transition involves much, much more than the obvious medical interventions of hormone therapy and surgery. You will also need to consider its social and legal implications, from formally changing your name through to dealing with the emotional aspects of informing family and friends.

Helpful hints for transition

  • You will be provided with a great deal of new information about gender identity issues by the clinic. We recommend that you keep this and all correspondence relating to your treatment in a file, to support your Gender Recognition Certificate application in the future, should this be required. 
  • Living life in your new social role may be very different to your current life and you are likely to have many new experiences; be ready for change and for some challenging situations. Ask your Named Professional for help if you feel overwhelmed by everything; difficult challenges can be overcome with help.
  • Medication and hormone treatment may be offered. We strongly discourage self-medication with irregularly sourced drug treatments. Internet-sourced hormone therapies can be dangerous and are sometimes contaminated. Their use is likely to affect blood test results and, if our medical team are unaware of your self-medication, they may inadvertently offer inappropriate advice or recommend unnecessary investigation. Please, be honest with us. 
  • Gender reassignment surgery (GRS) cannot be provided until you have lived in a social role appropriate to your gender identity for at least twelve months. 
  • At some point, you will want to tell other people about your transition. We can advise you on how to carefully and sensitively inform all those who need to know about your transition, from family members to employers. Employers have legal responsibilities to protect you and Unite have written a guide on Trans Equality at Work, click here to view the Trans Equality at Work Guide
  • You may be eligible for NHS-funded treatment to reduce your facial hair (epilation).  There is a limit to the amount of treatment funded by the NHS and there is no guarantee that this will reduce your facial hair to your complete satisfaction. If you want additional or future epilation treatment, you will have to pay for this yourself. We can advise you about this.
  • Your pension and any benefits arrangements might be affected if you’re a transgender. Seek advice from your private provider and/or the Department of Works and Pensions.  
  • Appropriate use of pronouns may become an issue. Politely advise people of your preferred pronoun.
  • Transphobic hate incidents may happen and can take many forms including verbal and physical abuse through to threatening behaviour and online abuse.  Transphobic hate crime is a criminal offence.
  • As you prepare for your new life you may require assistance with clothing, footwear, wigs, and cosmetics. You may also need guidance with this, your Named Professional will be able to provide advice on all these matters.