There is no one way to transition and there are many options for transitioning that are not medical. Below you will find information on Social Transition
Not everyone who socially transitions wants to medically transition, and social and medical transition timelines do not always align. Do what works for you!
It’s okay to have questions around your social transition. Speaking to your Primary Care Provider and/or Mental Health Provider is a good place to start seeking support. You may be seeking support to access gender-specific medical services or information, or mental health support.
Your Primary Care Provider may begin by asking you some general questions related to your social transition goals. It can be helpful to start thinking about some of these before you go in for your appointment. - Remember, it’s okay to not have all the answers!
- What name and pronouns are you currently using (and if these differ across settings, how so?)
- What are your goals for transition?
- How do you want to be perceived in terms of your gender?
- What are your current top priorities?
- What are your future goals?
- Have you taken any steps to change your outward appearance to make it more closely match your identity?
- Do you bind, tuck or use other gender affirming gear?
Your Primary Care Provider will also want to gain an understanding of your support system and may ask the following questions:
- Do you live alone/with others?
- Do you work/go to school?
- Who makes up your support system?
- Do you have a partner/spouse/dependents?
- Have you talked to your support system about your transition?
- How have they responded?
- If you have not disclosed, what is your plan to ensure you are supported?
Remember also that administration at your clinic will be utilizing your information to contact you, leave voicemails, send you mail, and send out referrals about you to other clinicians. You can talk to your provider about ways to do this respectfully and safely for your current situation.
You can also ask to be referred to the services listed below if you feel they will be beneficial to you.
If you choose to wear Gender Affirming Gear there are some health considerations to think about because being safe while being comfortable is important! Gender affirming gear can be expensive, so if finances are a barrier for you there may be local organizations that provide programs and support. Contact your local Pride Centre for more information
Please note when exploring external resources please be aware that many of the services linked to gender affirmation gear also provide education and gear related to sexual health.
Your Primary Care Provider may ask you questions about the gender affirming gear you wear and may also want to know about any negative health outcomes you may be experiencing. It’s important to be aware of what your body may experience and when you should be connecting with your Primary Care Provider. Below are 2 examples of gender affirming gear but many others do exist:
Binding involves wearing tight garments to flatten out your chest. It’s a do-it-yourself option for changing your appearance so that it matches your gender expression. You may bind to feel more at ease in your body, feel more comfortable in your clothing or help others read your gender correctly.
To avoid negative health outcomes from binding you can try binding for shorter periods of time (no more than 8 hours per day), finding looser alternatives such as a well fitting bra or medical compression shirt and taking time off binding if possible. It is not recommended to use things such as duct tape or medical tape to bind your chest.
Contact your Primary Care Provider if you experience pain, difficulty breathing, ongoing tingling/numbness, skin rash, or sores. You can find more information on this topic by visiting our Binding
Tucking involves hiding external genitalia so that they are not visible in tight clothing. Tucking is a do-it-yourself option for changing your appearance so that it matches your gender expression. You might tuck to feel more at ease in your body, to feel more comfortable in your clothing, or to help others read your gender correctly.
To avoid negative health outcomes from tucking you can try tucking for shorter periods of time, switching between different methods of tucking and staying hydrated.
Contact your Primary Care Provider if you experience aching, tingling or numbness that continues even when you aren’t tucking; blood in urine or orgasmic fluid; a feeling of inflammation or infection inside the genitals; skin rash or sores; pain with urination; or pain in the bladder or lower back.
Pads and breast forms
Pads and breast forms are often used to achieve the appearance of a fuller chest. An alternative, especially for those with some chest or breast tissue protruding already, might be padded bras. QMunity’s “I Heart My Chest” includes advice for matching your bra and chest size to your body.
Hair removal can be done at home, or professionally to different parts of the body to achieve the kinds of gender expression you feel best with. Some kinds of hair removal are temporary, while others are more permanent. The kind of hair removal you choose will depend largely on your budget, level of comfort, hair type, and area for removal. Please discuss further with the healthcare provider you feel most comfortable exploring this with if you have questions or are unsure about how to approach hair removal.
As a parent/guardian, it is important to support your child’s social transition as it decreases anxiety, depression and suicidal ideation.
If you are looking for support or information regarding your child’s gender health, or if you would like to connect to a network of parents, visit Gender Creative Kids Canada or your local PFLAG chapter. Visit Family Support Resources for more information and speak to your child’s Primary Care Provider if you have questions.