Imagine if you went to a restaurant and ordered a burger from the menu and the chef came out from the kitchen and asked you to teach him how to make that burger. He goes on to say that he knows there is beef involved but that’s about it. Chances are you would find some other place to eat – or in the very least, something else to eat!
A therapist may be a great clinician but if he or she doesn’t specialize in gender related issues, chances are some things may be missed. And, let’s face it, the last thing you want to be doing during therapy is spending time educating your therapist!
So, here are the top 6 reasons to seek out a gender specialist to help you through your transition:
- 1. To begin with, a gender specialist spends a lot of time working with the transgender community. Because of this, they understand the many different types of gender expression. You will never be forced into a binary box and you can rest assured that you will be affirmed and supported wherever you are and wherever you want to go with your transition. Gender variance will never be seen as a psychosis.
- 2. For those where medical transition is an option to explore, a gender specialist is familiar with and works within the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH). WPATH are ethical guidelines providing the support you need in order to move forward in your journey in a safe and efficient way. Chances are that a general therapist probably has no idea that WPATH even exist.
- 3. You may need referrals for everything from finding the best doctors to finding the best binder. A gender specialist will have all of the up to date information.
- 4. Transition doesn’t happen in a bubble. While you may be ready to begin expressing your gender in a way that is congruent with who you are inside, a gender specialist can help determine if your life is ready to support your transition. Together with a gender specialist you will explore how to deal with your family, your job, your social life and the other aspects of your life with the knowledge that you are being supported by someone who has been down these particular roads many times before.
- 5. Transitioning may also include legal issues such as name and gender marker changes on legal documents. A gender specialist will know exactly how to navigate these waters.
- 6. If you are a parent of a young child who is transitioning, a gender specialist is most important. You will be dealing with issues pertaining to school, to family and to social situations. You may even be exploring when and what types of medical interventions to seek out. These are all issues where a gender specialist has exceptional experience and knowledge.
So, while general therapists are great for most things, when it comes to transitioning, a gender specialist is essential. Let’s face it, even though the Maytag repairman can fix motors, you wouldn’t want him working on the engine of your Ferrari!