For those who are still questioning their gender, take some time to read this site, to surf the Internet and watch video clips uploaded by transwomen, to read some of the excellent personal accounts of transitioning available as books from Amazon, and to feel comfortable with the idea that you are trans*. This is an important step and not one that should be hurried. It can take years to reach a point of ease with who you are.
However, it is worth reaching that point before you more forward with your transition, especially in Jersey. We all know how quickly news travels in small communities, more so than in a big city. You are unlikely to be able to keep your transition a secret in the island. You need to be prepared to ‘out’ yourself to all sorts of people in order to get their help and you can only do that if you are proud and confident about who you are.
Having reached a place where you know that you are transgender, your first point of contact is your doctor/GP in Jersey. Explain to them that you are unhappy with the gender assigned to you at birth and that you would like to start the process of transitioning. Ask your GP to write a letter of referral to a gender therapist (if going the privately funded route) or to a psychiatrist within the health services in Jersey (if going the publicly funded route).
There are no gender therapists in Jersey so you will have to go to the UK for counselling. Your GP can either refer you privately to a gender clinic of your choice or your Jersey psychiatrist can refer you through the NHS to the Charing Cross Gender Identity Clinic. The advantages of going private are that you control the timetable and can get things moving as quickly as you need to. The disadvantage is that you pay for private consultations (see the finance page). The NHS route is free but you are stuck with their timescale.
Remember that your therapist is not there to ‘judge’ you. They are there to help you make sure that transitioning is what you want to do. Therapy is a time for you to ask questions about transitioning, to be honest with yourself and answer the therapist’s questions as openly as you can, to think about alternatives to transitioning and to understand why they are not an option for you, and to double-check your feelings with an impartial and skilled observer.
Depending on how you and your therapist feel about your readiness to transition, the next step is either to change your name by deed poll to the name by which you want to be known going forward or to commence hormone therapy.
For more information about changing your name and all your documents, see the change of name page.
Jersey has the necessary skills on the island to administer your hormone therapy, which will be a lifelong commitment to taking estrogen, progestogen and antiandrogen in some form. Your therapist will need to provide a letter to your GP or psychiatrist recommending that you commence hormone therapy, the appropriate delivery method of the hormones and the doses that you require. Your GP or psychiatrist can then refer you to the island’s endocrinologist. This can be done privately, for which you will pay, or you can be referred through the States system, which is free.
For more information about hormone therapy, see the hormones page.
This may be as far as you wish to go in your transition. You may consider the changes made by the hormone therapy sufficient to allow you to pass as a woman. However, you may elect to undergo one or more surgical procedures to further feminise your body. If so, you will need to leave the island again for your operation(s). Jersey has no surgeons who can perform this specialist surgery. You will need to decide whether you wish to pay for surgery privately or whether you are prepared to wait for surgery in the UK through the NHS.
If you elect to have surgery through the NHS, you need to ask your NHS therapist to place you on the NHS waiting list.
If you elect to have private surgery there are two advantages: you can choose your surgeon, so you can choose to see anyone in the world who takes private patients, and the timing of your surgery is your choice. You should research your surgeon carefully, taking time to read testimonials from transwomen who have had surgery with them. If you are unsure about your choice, ask your GP for their opinion.
Once you have selected your surgeon, contact them directly. You do not need to go back to your GP for a referral. However, the surgeon will undoubtedly want a letter from your therapist or GP referring you after you have made the initial contact.
For more information about surgery, see the surgery page.
Finally, take ownership of your transition. If you are not getting the answers you require from your health professional, keep asking until you do. Research as much as you can and prepare the questions you want answered before every consultation. Your Jersey GP may never have taken a patient through a transition process so you may need to guide them on what they need to do next for you.