• Frequently Asked Questions

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    What is Gender Dysphoria?

    Gender dysphoria refers to the discomfort or distress that is caused by a discrepancy between a person’s gender identity and that person’s sex assigned at birth. Being transsexual, transgender, or gender nonconforming is a matter of diversity, not pathology. This is not a disease or disorder. But it can cause extreme discomfort and, like other medical conditions, there are ways to address this.

    There are so many ways to be transgender. How will I know which treatment options are right for me?

    Our providers will work with you to explore your unique gender identity and choose treatment options that fit your preferred gender expression. Yes, there are many ways to experience and express one's gender, and treatment may include psychotherapy, group therapy, social transition, pubertal blocking, hormonal therapy and gender confirming surgeries.

    Search locations in the United States that offer clinical care programs for gender nonconforming children and adolescents.

    What do I need in order to begin cross-sex hormone therapy?

    Our office follows the treatment guidelines proposed in the World Professional Association for Transgender Health’s (WPATH) most recent version of the Standards of Care (SOC 7). We require a gender assessment for all patients who wish to undergo treatment with cross-sex hormones. The purpose of a gender assessment is to assist our patients with the complex aspects of gender transition and to enable our providers to tailor care to our patients based on individual needs. We can refer you to a number of qualified therapists who are skilled in this process. We understand that there are some patients who, for whatever reason, are unable to meet with a therapist, and our office can make appropriate accommodations in this event. Please speak to a member of our team to decide which option will work best for you.

    What are pubertal blockers and how are they used for the treatment of gender nonconforming youth?

    Pubertal blocking drugs have been used for many years in the treatment of precocious puberty. More recently, they have been used to delay puberty in youth with gender dysphoria. The pubertal blockers halt the irreversible changes that would occur during puberty in the assigned gender, and allow youth and families time to decide on an individualized course of treatment. We follow the WPATH guidelines to determine which youth qualify for pubertal blockers and recommend that all youth in this program receive ongoing support from a qualified therapist.

    What is the process for getting a referral for gender confirming surgeries?

    Our providers will meet with you to discuss your plans for surgery and will assist you in navigating the complex process of choosing a surgeon and completing the appropriate paperwork for your insurance. Some surgeries can be performed locally (see below) and some require referrals to specialized gender surgeons in the United States or abroad. We can refer you to support networks online, as well as conferences where you can discuss surgical concerns with people who have already had gender confirming surgeries.

    What gender confirming surgeries are offered through the Bassett/Fox system?

    At this time, we are offering male-to-female (MTF) and female-to-male (FTM) top surgeries, as well as orchiectomies through the Bassett/Fox network.

    How do I change my documents to reflect my preferred gender?

    Our staff will provide you with the appropriate letters needed to change gender markers on your social security card, your driver’s license, your passport, your birth certificate and other documents. Planned Parenthood in Ithaca has put together a helpful guide to assist with document changes. Additionally, the Pride Center in Albany has a free document changing service.

    Will you coordinate care with other people who are involved in my gender transition?

    Our providers will keep in contact with other important members of your treatment team that you wish to include in your care. This includes, but is not limited to: mental health providers, school personnel, human resources personnel, other medical providers involved in your care, legal providers and staff at institutions. We can also refer you to professionals who can provide trainings on transgender cultural competence in your school or work place.

    How can I get assistance with my gender dysphoria if I have no insurance?

    Please contact a member of our staff to explain your situation. We will work with you to accommodate your needs.

    What kinds of screening tests are required for transgender patients?

    Health care screening tests for transgender people are based on the body parts present, rather than gender identity. For example, all patients who have a cervix should have PAP screening, and all patients with breasts should have mammograms after a certain age. Your provider will work with you to determine which screening tests are appropriate for your body. We understand that gender dysphoria can make physical examinations and testing difficult for some patients, and we are committed to creating a safe space to address these concerns.