Here is where I plan to put all of the dribbles of information I've found online about transitioning, at least stuff useful to me. From that, it's focused around M2F transitioning in the United States.
If anyone has input or suggestions on stuff to put in (or updates) please use the Contact Me link at the top of the page to let me know.
Q: What prescription are you on?
A: I usually don't answer this question. A lot of transgender people I've talked to online like to self medicate, having a difficult time finding a doctor in their are, are uncomfortable going to a doctor, or just can't afford it. Self medicating without the blood tests to monitor liver levels and such can be very dangerous, even lethal. So, what works for one person won't necessarily work for others.
Q: How do you feel when people ask you questions about being trans?
A: For the most part, I'm glad to answer their questions as best I can. My personal thought is that there are enough stereotypes out there already. If someone wants to learn from me and hopefully dispel any of the negative ones, I would rather people base their thoughts on me from the truth and not what they've seen on TV and movies.
The actual definition is very long and wordy, and varies from person to person. I prefer the DSM-IV definition (which can be found here
There are some very strong stigmas out in public, which makes it difficult for someone with this disorder to be able to treat it or to find acceptance from others. Many think that it's just people being odd, or a freak (my own parents feel that what I'm doing is 'sinful', and have even told me that I'm not allowed in their house as long as I'm doing this)
People naturally want to feel like they belong, and when they are given the cold shoulder for trying to be who they feel most comfortable being, it can be very devastating. Add to that the scores of beatings and killings of trans people, it can be dangerous for us.
Please keep in mind, I'm not saying that everyone who comes out as transgendered is going to be killed or anything like that. But some areas are more understanding than others. For instance, if you watch the US news, there's been a lot going on the last few years about gays and lesbians getting legal marriages. The sociopolicial environment of the world is changing, somewhat drasically in the last 50 or so years, and more noticably since the advent of global real-time communications, mainly the internet.
For those who think they are transgendered, you're not alone. There's a ton of information and support both on the Internet and in the regular world. Some areas are more isolated than others, but the community is global. I've had a lot of people tell me how brave they think I am for being out like I am, my response usually is that I'm just being who I am.
For those who aren't transgendered, remember that trans people are people too. They may have a mental condition, but they are not retarded, not a freak, and not helpless. They are people, just like you and me, and deserve to be treated as such, as humans.
NOTE: This information is very much up for debate. You have to deal with not only federal, state and locals laws, but the rules and regulations of your employer and their contractors. Please, PLEASE don't do things that I mention in here, then try to hold me accountable if you get in trouble for it. First off, I'll deny any claims, and secondly, employers usually don't care =^_^=
Q: Is transitioning covered by insurance?
A: The basic answer is no. It usually depends on your insurance company and your employer. My last employer that I worked for and had insurance ended up being a no, but it was an odd road until I found out. I had Aetna, and they have a Clinical Policy Bulliten (CPB 0615, available here). I had called up Aetna to ask them if my particular plan excluded it or not. After a good deal of research, they determined that any procedure that was deemed medically necessary by a doctor would be covered, even if it was on the exclution list of my insurance program. So, in theory, anyone with Aetna could get it covered. Here's the rub. My employer denied it. Apparently some companies will 'lease' the insurance companies provider list and a portion of their support services, but manage their own health coverage. What that means is the company can make their own rules about what is covered and what isn't. Remember, whoever is paying the doctor gets to have the final say on if a procedure is covered, and that includes your employer.
A: Insurance may or may not cover prescription or mental health appointments. If GID is causing you depression or something along those lines, that may have an impact on how the doctor codes your visit and how the insurance company pays out.
Q: How do I know how to transition at work?
A: Basically, ask. I would go to an HR representative versus your immediate supervisor. HR will have more detailed information about your company's policies generally. When I was trying to transition, I ran into a huge runaround, generally because what I was told seemed to change every few months. I recommend if you go and talk to someone, prepare to take notes down, so that you know exactly what was said. Doesn't mean policy won't change, but it'll make you feel better. Here is a letter (slightly edited) that I had given to HR in an attempt to get a written copy of the policy, something that I could take to a doctor or put back down in front of them if they tried to change the rules. It didn't work for me, but that doesn't say it won't work for you.
<<Current Day's Date>>
<<Full address of your employer>>
Dear <<Name of whoever you've been working with, or HR Supervisor if needed>>
Subject: Employee Policy Request
I am writing a formal request for copies of any and all written policies concerning employment of transgendered employees, or similar employees that are diagnosed with Gender Identity Disorder (as described in the DSM-IV 302.85) as well at the company’s plan for allowing completion of treatment for said disorder in accordance with established medical standards of care (as documented by the Harry Benjamin International Gender Dysphoria Association).
This information can be sent to me via e-mail, at <<the rest of this paragraph was contact options, I recommend putting enough to give them a variety, but all ways that can be traced back to them. I used my email, home address, and my supervisor's interoffice mailbox number>>
I eagerly look forward to receiving this information in a timely manner so that I can coordinate what needs to be done to be able to continue with my planned transition.
<<Your legal name>>
<<position within the company>>
In my case, I got a call down to HR a few days later saying that they were under no obligation to give me a written policy (to this date I still think it is wrong for such a policy-oriented business to conveniently not have a policy when asked for it)
I need to preface this by saying that a lot of is unofficial and is my personal experiences. If someone has actual policies or information, please let me know, I'd like to fill out this part especially. I'm also writing this from the standpoint of the United States armed forces, as that's where I was.
That being said, I used to be in the Air Force, active duty. I was in from 2000 to 2005, which meant I was around for 9/11. Scary times for me, definitely.
When I was a kid, I had been to see a counseler about my crossdressing issues (as they were thought at the time). That issue right there caused me to be unable to get a good security clearance, which can lock some jobs out for a person. At the time, I had been in repression, so they didn't have a problem with me going in. Remember, at this time Don't Ask, Don't Tell was the rule of the day.
It wasn't until I was in for about a year and a half and was settled in at my first permanent base, living on my own (even though I was in a dorm, I had a private room) I started experimenting a little bit with wearing girls clothes. Cheap, poorly fitting things I had gotten from the base thrift store. That was when I started to figure out that something was definitely different about me, and having free reign of the Internet for the first time of my life, I learned that what I was first off, wasn't a hideous freak of nature, and that there were others and help for me.
I also knew, however, that DADT was not my friend. The military, from what I've heard, doesn't recognize Gender Identity Disorder as a mental condition, they lump it in with Transvestism, and that's close enough to being gay or lesbian to at best, get you a medical discharge, or at worse, get you a general or dishonorable discharge (which means you wouldn't get any veteran benefits). So I hid things, and through a stroke of luck, I was able to get out a year early with an honorable discharge in hand.
Now, here's where I made my biggest mistake with this. Whatever you've heard about the VA hospitals, ignore it. I have a few service connected disabilities, which gives me generally free health care. I have a small co-pay on medications that are not connected to my service disability, but the savings are still incredible. I didn't do any of this until 3 1/2 years after I got out. When I had my first visit with my regular physician, I explained about the transgenderism and that I was planning to start hormone therapy once able to financially and I found a doctor willing to prescribe them (A lot don't seem to like to, at least in Idaho). The physician contacted to local hospital to find out the process, who set up an appointment with their mental health specialist.
Now, I had already been through a good bit of counseling, which sped things for me a bit probably. It was a once done meeting, going over my history of GID, my knowledge of the treatment and what it would do, and a personality test to make sure I wasn't bi-polar or shcitsophrenic or anything like that. If you have paperwork from another psycologist or anything like that, bring it with you!!! It really will help.
After that, they put me in for an appointment with the hospital endocrinologist, who went over the effects of the medication again, gave a quick exam (both chest and testicular, which is a bit odd to get used to). Later that day, I got my perscriptions from the hospital pharmacy and was back on my way.
My monthly cost? Up to $16 for two perscriptions
There are a few things that may cause your individual circumstances to be different. My disability rating, the area I'm living in, my income, they could all cause differences between what I have and what someone else may have. So again, if you have more information, please contact me and let me know!