Treatment of Gender Identity Disorder

Getting Ready For Transition, if that is what is needed...

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Artist-Philosopher Chriss L. Pagani, statement and biography
Artist's Statement & Bio


        Try to resist the temptation to rush things too much. If a therapist seems to have an agenda which precludes transition, find a new one, but don't be in a rush to get started before you are sure it is the right thing for you. Be prepared to spend several months working through issues of gender stereotyping, and treatment for depression or Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder before transition, hormones, and eventual surgery. If your doctor doesn't ask you about these issues, it is YOUR responsibility as the patient to bring them up. Many therapists believe that the patient should be helped toward whatever goal they have set for themselves. If you happen to have one of these therapists, and he/she believes that what you really want is to transition and become your "chosen" gender, you may never get the opportunity to address the underlying issues - unless you bring them up.

        Before you begin the transition process, you will need to resolve issues such as; "what happens to my family?" " job?" "My friends?" You should experiment with crossdressing in a relatively safe environment (such as on a vacation) where you can make a realistic determination of your ability to pass and your actual comfort with the role you've chosen. Bear in mind, however, that such limited-contact situations do not accurately reflect what your real life will be like in your chosen gender. For an accurate assessment of your ability to live as the sex opposite your birth sex, all ethical therapists and surgeons require you to go through at least a year living and working in your new gender.

        On the ability to pass, Dr. Harry Benjamin, the founder of the process of getting a sex change as we know it today, has recommended that you get an unbiased second opinion. He says that for this second opinion, you should choose someone with no stake in the answer. It cannot, therefore, be the opinion of someone who is already part of the "gender community," as members of this group have already made their stand on the issue clear. You'll probably have to out yourself to some neutral person whom you feel will not cause problems for you, and ask him or her to judge you dressed, in person. This will help you know whether you can really successfully transition or not. This is a somewhat risky procedure. On the other hand, if your intent is to go through the transition process to live as the opposite gender full-time, then you will be taking such risks every moment of every day. You need to determine whether or not you can handle this risk on a daily basis before making a one-way commitment to it. Follow medical advice, however, NOT my opinions. Don't risk your safety and don't blame me if it doesn't go well.

       I should also add that, in my experience, many friends will be initially positive: They've never seen you dressed as a woman before and they may be surprised that you look better than they would have expected. So hearing "you look good!" is very common. Later, when it becomes clear that you are going to keep doing this, they might have more critical comments. If you want a clear opinion initially, you have to insist that they try to take an unbiased look at you. Ask them to consider whether others would be likely to "read" you as transgender or if they really think that most people would just assume you're a woman. It's important.






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