Just over 2 years ago, I got my dream job working at BHC Assessment and Consulting. I added to my repertoire a specialization in transgender issues and, since then, have become somewhat of an expert. I assist clients with coming out to family, friends, work, and school. I can easily recite to you the doctors here in Orlando who provide HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy) to transgender clients, have been to each of their offices, and have their fax numbers practically memorized. I am more than prepared to assist clients with any aspect of transition.
We, as a whole, take great pride in serving this community with professionalism and integrity. That’s why it totally took me by surprise when I first learned that there are other professionals in the mental health field who have learned enough about the transgender community and their needs to take advantage of them.
When a transition becomes a medical necessity, the client will need a therapist to write referrals for various procedures. Unfortunately, I’ve heard of therapists who charge exorbitant fees for these referrals, and may even require a certain amount of sessions before they will give it consideration.
I was astounded to learn that therapists, of all people, would take advantage of a client in a time of need. I was even more taken aback to realize that, while this is unethical, it is totally legal. To the best of my knowledge, there are no boards or associations to report this behavior.
My purpose here is to make sure that readers are educated and informed before seeking referrals and therapy. Therapists are required, by law, to follow the WPATH (World Professional Association of Transgender Health) Standards of Care, Version 7.
The criteria to begin HRT, as defined by WPATH, are: “1) persistent, well-documented gender dysphoria, 2) capacity to make a fully informed decision and to give consent for treatment, 3) age of majority in a given country (age 18 for the U.S.), and 4) if significant medical or mental concerns are present, they must be reasonably well controlled.”
The criteria for mastectomy and creation of a male chest for female-to-male clients, or breast augmentation for male-to-female clients is the same.
For gender confirming surgery, the criteria are also the same, with the addition of “12 continuous months of hormone therapy as appropriate to the patient’s gender goals (unless hormones are not clinically indicated for the goal), and 12 continuous months of living in a gender role that is congruent with their gender identity”.
Any other criterion a client has to meet is up to the discretion of the therapist.
If you, or someone you love, is ready to transition – know your/their rights and be familiar with the WPATH Standards of Care, Version 7. We provide therapy sessions via skype and don’t make people jump through hoops to get referrals, as long as they are ready. If someone is not ready, we help that person come up with a plan. Our services are affordable and our knowledge is invaluable.