I have frequently heard the following questions asked at support group meetings. There are a million more. Here are some answers to questions often asked by cis-people. If you don't find the answer to your question here - send me an email and ask. I will give you a personal reply with my best answer. Mind you, I am not a doctor or a licensed therapist. I can only tell you what has worked for me or for others whom I have known. Just think of me as Aunt Trannie.

Definitions: Click Here

Common questions:

Q.: How can I tell if I am ...?
A.: A thorough medical examination by a physician can determine if you are intersex. Trust your own sexual preferences to determine your sexual orientation. Only a trained therapist can determine whether you are a cross-dresser or a transsexual. Take your time to work out what you truly feel, seek out a support group, ask questions, and see a trained therapist.

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Q.: What can you tell me about hormones?
A,: For the latest information about hormones for the transsexual, click here.

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Q.: Where can I get hormones?
A,: From a qualified medical doctor, preferably an endocrinologist, but most doctors can handle the job. There is no other safe source! While you are taking hormones, even those originally prescribed by a physician, it is imperative that you have regular blood tests to determine just what the hormones are doing. If you are a veteran, you can get hormones at a VA pharmacy for a nominal co-payment.

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Q,: Are the effects of hormones reversible?
A.: The effects of testosterone-induced changes are generally permanent. Some of the effects of estrogen-induced changes can be reversed, if the testicles are still in good working order.

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Q.: Do over the counter (OTC) [hormone, hair-growth] supplements really work?
A.: In a word, No. Some people may report changes induced by OTC substitutes, but these are few and far between.

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Q.: What about insurance?
A.: Insurance benefits are generally determined between the employer and the insurance company and policies with the same insurance company can vary from employer to employer. More and more policies today are covering SRS. If insurance coverage for SRS is important to you, check out your employer's policy carefully. Both Aetna and Cigna issue policies that cover SRS, but that coverage may not be in every policy they issue. Blue Cross/Blue Shield and Medicare will consider SRS, but coverage is not guaranteed. The VA has been known to perform orchiectomies for FTM individuals, but will not agree to do so in every case or in every hospital.

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Q.: How do I tell my employer that I am transgender?
A.: This is an especially delicate question, as your job may depend on your employer's reaction. One individual had some success feeling out the employer's attitude by sending an anonymous e-mail to the company's Human Relations department. If you are interviewing for a job, failing to disclose that you are transitioning could be cause for firing, if it were later discovered. If you have worked for an employer for some time and have a good work record, you could still be fired for suggesting that you want to transition on the job. Some locales do have an anti-discrimination policy if effect, but these are still few and far between. If you do decide, you will find detailed suggestions at the web sites we have listed in our resources. One indispensable action is to keep detailed records of every conversation, meeting, harassment, etc.

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Q.: How do I tell my spouse/family that I am transsexual?
A.: It is a very rare spouse that will be able to continue in a marriage with a transsexual. No matter what they may say when you first tell them, expect the marriage eventually to end. If there are minor children, expect your spouse to turn the children against you and to take steps to prevent you from having any further contact with them. Yes, that is harsh, but it will happen in 90% of all transsexual marriages; be prepared for it to happen and rejoice if it doesn't. You know your family members best, so no one will be able to give you detailed instructions for this delicate operation. Some go at it slowly, leaving books or movies laying around in the hopes of generating some interest in the subject. Others just call a family meeting and lay it on the line. There is no one sure approach.

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Q.: When do I tell my date that I am transsexual?
A.: Obviously, before any intimate contact, even just kissing. Many men react violently and irrationally if they discover they have had sexual thoughts about another man. Use your best judgment as to the qualities of your date, but if you have any thoughts at all about pursuing a sexual relationship - even in name only - the sooner the better. Expect your date to feel betrayed, angry and ashamed. Pick the best venue to be safe.

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Q.: What is the most important thing about being transgender?
A.: If you are just entering the world of the outwardly transgender, there is one thing that you must take with you: confidence. You are going to be faced with many new and unfamiliar situations. If you face these with timidity and trepidation, they will be twice as frightening as they need to be. The first time you go out in public as your true self, the first time you use a public restroom, the first time you face a clerk or waiter you need to do so with absolute confidence that you have every right to do this and that you have done it all your life. Every successful encounter will build your confidence and make the next one easier. If you goof, learn from your mistake and don't do it again.

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Q.: What steps should I take if I am transsexual?
A.: Follow the standards of treatment laid out by the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH). See our link to their website. But first and foremost, find a local transgender support group. Go to the group, listen, ask questions and learn. Remember that all of the members of the support group are people just like you. They were each just where you are now. They can give you advice and friendship, take you on shopping trips and out on the town to trans-friendly establishments.

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