Transitioning - Under 18

How do I know if I’m trans? 

Being transgender (or trans) means that you feel like your gender is different than the sex given (or assigned) to you at birth.

This could mean that someone is assigned female at birth, but feel that their gender identity is actually male, neither male nor female, or a combination of the two. 

 

Although some people know that they’re trans from a young age, others may realise later. Everyone’s experience is different, there is no specific way to know that you’re trans, but some people might feel:

  • Uncomfortable being referred to as a male/female, or when a wrong pronoun is used (e.g. he/she)

  • That their body on the outside doesn’t match who they feel they are on the inside

  • Upset with how their body is changing (e.g. breasts, facial hair, periods, deepening of voice etc)

 

What does it mean to transition? 

Transition is the process of making changes which allow you to be recognised in your true gender identity.

Transitioning is different for everyone. For some people, it will happen quite quickly, for others it may take years.

The process usually starts with a social transition, and for some people, may later involve medical transitioning.

Social transitioning may include:

  • Telling your friends and family that you’re trans (this could also include your school, college or workplace)

  • Changing your name (this doesn’t have to be a legal change)

  • Letting people know your pronouns (she/her, he/him, they/them)

  • Changing your appearance (e.g. clothing, hair, make up)

  • Using facilities (e.g. toilets, changing rooms) which match your gender identity

Medical transition may include:

  • Hormone therapy (to stop/create gendered characteristics such as breasts/body hair)

  • “Top surgery” (surgery to change chest/breast appearance)

  • “Bottom surgery” (surgery to alter genitals)

  • Other surgeries to change physical appearance

Does everyone who is transgender decide to have surgery?

Everyone is different, and although some trans people might have surgery, others might not. Someone doesn’t need to have surgery to live their life as the gender they identify as.

 

I’ve decided I want to start my transition – where do I start?


For social transitioning…
 

  • Tell someone in your life who is accepting and someone you feel comfortable talking to. This might be a family member, teacher or support worker. You can tell others as and when you feel ready.
     

  • Speak to someone at your school/college/workplace about any changes you’d like to make (e.g. name, pronouns, uniform, facilities you use). They may need to ask you questions, but should never treat you badly because you are transitioning.
     

  • Express yourself! Now’s the time to try something new if you feel like it; changing your clothes and hair are easy ways to start (…don’t forget to check out the rules at school or college first though!). There are lots of tutorials online about everything from make-up to tucking and binding. 
     

  • Find out if your school/college/workplace has an LGBT+ society, or come to Galaxy, our LGBT+ youth group in Stoke-on-Trent.


 

Medical transitioning...
 

  • Visit your GP and ask to be referred to a gender identity clinic. You may have to wait some time for a referral for an assessment at a clinic because these services can be very busy.
     

  • Your GP may refer to you another service, to explore your feelings further.
     

  • It is strongly advised not to buy hormones or medication online, or take medication meant for somebody else. This can seriously damage your health.
     

  • Once you reach 18, you can apply for gender reassignment surgery (also known as gender confirmation surgery).


 

Legal transitioning…
 

 

 

Useful links for further reading

Mermaids - mermaidsuk.org.uk

The Gender Identity Clinic - gic.nhs.uk

Gender GP - gendergp.com

Gendered Intelligence - genderedintelligence.co.uk

LGBT Stoke is a service provided by the Sexual Health Prevention Team from Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust