Considerations for Transgender Female Patients

If you are considering a transgender female series of procedures, then you know how complex gender identity is, as it works its way into every fiber of your being. The good news is that there has never been safer and more effective technology available for people to undergo this transition than there is today.

However, even with effective surgical and hormonal protocols, there are other considerations that you want to bear in mind before beginning your transgender female journey. A lot of people ask us why you have to wait so long before you can have the surgery itself. Transgender surgeons follow a set of standards put in place by WPATH to safeguard the interests of all transgender persons — as well as people who believe they identify as transgender but in actuality have a different condition.

In some cases, such as with schizophrenia and undiagnosed bipolar disorder, patients sometimes think that they are transgender, but the issue does not boil down to gender dysphoria but instead one of these other conditions. If these patients were to receive transgender female hormonal and surgical treatments, their underlying symptoms of depression, anxiety and confusion would not go away, as they do with people who are transgender.

This is why patients are required to go through such a lengthy period of psychotherapy, hormone replacement and the real-life experience, or the RLE, before they are eligible to undergo surgical interventions that will complete their transgender female journey. It’s during this real-life experience that a transgender person frequently selects a new name that matches her desired gender and then starts the process of changing her name legally. Even getting used to the new pronoun (“she” rather than “he”) by which people will now address you takes some adjustment.

In addition to taking on a new name, transgender females are also expected to dress as members of the female gender while remaining either part of the workforce or pursuing their education. At this time, some transgender women choose to have cosmetic procedures designed to cut down on body hair and start to take vocal training classes or speech therapy sessions to help them sound more feminine. The purpose of this is to help the patients discover the societal and psychological issues that can come up if gender reassignment continues. At this point, patients find out how supervisors at work, parents, siblings, friends — and significant others — are likely to react once they find out that the patient identifies as a member of the other gender and wants to live that way.

It’s during this time period that some prospective transgender female patients realize that the transition might not be for them, and they opt to continue to live as men. Others decide that the changes wrought by hormonal replacement therapy are sufficient, and so they do not choose surgical procedures that will change their genitalia or the chest/breast area on their body (known as “bottom” and “top” surgeries, respectively). In other cases, patients decide that they want both hormone replacement and surgical procedures that are designed to make them physically and sexually as much a member of the opposite gender as possible.

While the possibility of fulfilling one’s dream to live as a transgender female is a powerful one, it is one that causes a significant level of change in just about every area of the patient’s life. Some patients realize that living as a woman has a number of disadvantages — harassment in the workplace, performing the same job for a lower amount of money. Some patients, on the other hand, find that the transition represents a liberation far beyond anything they would ever have expected. The purpose of the real-life experience is to keep people from making a decision that, while not irreversible, is extremely costly and takes several years to accomplish successfully.

Please use our website to educate yourself and make your transition as stress-free as possible. Click here for more information about male to female transformation or click here to search for a gender reassignment surgeon.