Gender identity, gender transition, and letter-writing for hormones and surgery

You have the right to claim your gender identity! The world is changing, and although not everyone is accepting, more and more people are coming to realize that gender is not a cut-and-dry issue.

Being trans is increasingly in the mainstream. People now see that being born as one gender doesn’t mean that you will feel right in that gender for your entire life. People now realize that gender is a spectrum. Moreover, you may find that even with this interpretation of gender as a spectrum, you don’t identify with any aspect of that male-female spectrum.

At various stages of life, you may find that you have questions and challenges that arise in relation to your gender identity. Perhaps you want hormone therapy and a letter of support for your gender transition surgery. Maybe you simply want to work through relationship challenges that have arisen as a result of your being trans or another gender identity. Or perhaps you just know that your relationship with your own gender is in transition and you want to gain a deeper understanding of where you are at with it today.

Understanding Gender Identity

Understanding gender identity is complex. We know that gender isn’t as simple as being male or female. In fact, if you draw a line with each of those polarities on either side, and you ask people in a group to mark a spot along the spectrum that feels right for them, the majority of people will end up somewhere in the middle. Increasingly, some people realize that they don’t fall anywhere on that spectrum, and they are working to identify an entirely different relationship with gender.

Wherever you land (or don’t) on the spectrum, you might have to reckon with your gender identity at some point, or many points, along the way. So many factors contribute to how we understand our gender identity. Race, class, dis/ability, sexual orientation, and age are some of the lenses through which we understand what gender means to others, which informs our sense of what our gender means to us. Because society accepts cis-gendered people more readily than trans people, those whose gender identity isn’t the same as their gender assigned at birth may have to grapple with these questions more publicly.

Understanding your gender identity is ultimately about understanding yourself.

However, being trans or going through a gender transition often means explaining yourself to the people in your life. Therefore, understanding your gender identity can also mean working to understand how society views you and what role that plays in your own self-acceptance. It’s a nuanced, subtle, multi-layered, and very personal experience.

What Is Gender Transition?

If you ask the average person what a gender transition is then they’ll probably say something about how it relates to being trans and having surgery so that your outsides match your insides. While there’s some truth to that, it’s certainly not the whole story. Gender transition is a process, and it’s as emotional and psychological as it is physical.

If you’re going through a gender transition, then you might be processing what gender means to you. Although some people clearly know their gender identity from a very young age, many people go through a process of figuring it out.

You may go through different stages of realization, where you start to notice different truths about yourself that relate to gender.

This can go on for years, and sometimes it can be comfortable whereas other times it can present challenges. Your gender transition starts the moment your mind starts trying to figure out what your true gender identity is.

The gender transition is your personal journey.

It’s what happens to you on the inside. However, there’s also an external aspect. Your gender transition may include both social and physical revelations and alterations. For example, if you change your name to reflect your gender, that’s part of your gender transition. Gender transition might also include changes in wardrobe, makeup, hairstyles, voice, affectation, behavior, and pronoun usage. Your gender transition may or may not include hormones and/or surgery. It might include legal changes including getting new birth records that reflect your true gender.

Therapy to Help You on Your Journey

Many people mistakenly assume that you go to therapy because something is wrong with you. That’s not the case at all. No matter where you are in your gender identity journey, you’re exactly where you need to be right now. There’s nothing wrong with who you are or where you are in this process. However, life is challenging, and the gender identity process can be particularly challenging for some people. When life challenges us, it’s a sign of strength and resourcefulness to ask for help.

Get the Help You Need Today

As therapists, we are happy to help you and support you on your gender identity journey. If you want hormone therapy and/or surgical procedures, we can support you in that, including writing the necessary professional letters to help you on that journey. However, we don’t have any agenda, so we aren’t going to tell you that you need those things. There are many different ways to approach gender identity, and we wholeheartedly believe that you are the one who knows what’s best for you. We want to help you work through any conflicts or questions that you might have, assist you in challenges that might arise socially or professionally, and provide the resources you need at every step along the way.

Reach out to us so we can learn more about you and how we can be helpful to you right now.

Couples with a Partner Who is Transitioning

Whenever there is a big change in a relationship, the couple has to adjust. Sometimes that means that there is a period of crisis or stress. Even in the best of times, change usually brings about a lot of anxiety. Change is obviously at the forefront of the relationship when there is a transitioning partner. Getting therapy doesn’t mean that there’s something wrong with either of you or with the relationship. It means that you are doing all that you can do to support your relationship during this time of change.

Transgender Couples

The trans community is gaining more and more visibility and support. However, it’s still not an easy road for transgender couples. Trans couples still face a lot of bigotry, judgment, and misunderstanding. We understand that and want to provide you with a safe space where none of those things are present. We offer understanding. We come to you with curiosity and open-mindedness.

One of the things that we value is respect for who you are as an individual and as a couple. We understand the unique challenges facing transgender couples. We recognize that these challenges may play a role in your journey, and we are ready to help you work through them. However, we also understand that you are more than just your trans identity. We understand that you are unique individuals in a relationship, and we don’t assume that being trans, or that the process of transitioning, is necessarily a problem for you.

Understanding the Journey of Both Partners

Many couples facing the transition of one partner seek therapy to navigate through this time together. One of the first questions they have to answer is whether this transition will push them apart or draw them together.

Although sometimes individuals come to therapy to work through those feelings on their own, couples therapy for couples in transition offers something very different. It is a space where the experiences of both individuals can be seen, heard, appreciated, and understood by their partner. Transition affects the identity and self-perception of both people, not just the trans partner. While the transitioning partner is facing the challenges of feeling so spotlighted in their life, often the non-transitioning partner can feel somewhat invisible. This is just one of the many shifting dynamics that couples in transition experience.

It is not uncommon for couples to feel more distant from one another in some ways, at the same time that they feel more connected than ever in other ways. Conflict can occur, and conflict may feel different than it did pre-transition.

As one partner transitions, so too does their relationship. Transition forever changes how the relationship functions physically, sexually, emotionally, and psychologically. And just like the social and physical changes that are happening, these relationship changes will also stabilize at some point. It can be helpful to seek therapy to help support and shape your relationship during this time of challenge and change.

Understanding the Journey of Both Partners

Many couples facing the transition of one partner seek therapy to navigate through this time together. One of the first questions they have to answer is whether this transition will push them apart or draw them together.

Although sometimes individuals come to therapy to work through those feelings on their own, couples therapy for couples in transition offers something very different. It is a space where the experiences of both individuals can be seen, heard, appreciated, and understood by their partner. Transition affects the identity and self-perception of both people, not just the trans partner. While the transitioning partner is facing the challenges of feeling so spotlighted in their life, often the non-transitioning partner can feel somewhat invisible. This is just one of the many shifting dynamics that couples in transition experience.

It is not uncommon for couples to feel more distant from one another in some ways, at the same time that they feel more connected than ever in other ways. Conflict can occur, and conflict may feel different than it did pre-transition.

As one partner transitions, so too does their relationship. Transition forever changes how the relationship functions physically, sexually, emotionally, and psychologically. And just like the social and physical changes that are happening, these relationship changes will also stabilize at some point. It can be helpful to seek therapy to help support and shape your relationship during this time of challenge and change.

If you are interested in learning more about how LGBTQ+ counseling can help if you or your partner are transitioning, please contact us.

Sexuality and LGBTQI+ Communities

Understanding sexuality is no easy feat. First of all, society sends you a whole bunch of messages starting from when you are very little. No matter how much you try to define sexuality for yourself, those messages seep in, and they can cause you at times to feel confused, frustrated, or othered. If you’re working to understand sexuality and LGBTQI+ communities, then you might feel like it’s a lot to puzzle through.

Even once you’ve come to a solid understanding and acceptance of your own sexuality, it can change.

The dynamics at play in each new relationship can help you see new aspects of your sexuality. Changes in your body due to age, hormones, or life transitions (such as having children) can alter your experiences of your own sexuality. This can be particularly confusing for LGBTQI+ individuals who might have worked hard to define their sexuality and feel like these changes are tied up with their identity. We offer LGBTQI+ support and help for all people seeking an understanding of their sexuality. Additionally, we also help support partners and families including non-nuclear families.

Understanding Sexuality

We are very interested in working with sexuality issues and LGBTQI+ individuals because we know that this is a very important aspect of a person’s life. Everyone is a sexual being. Even people who identify as asexual must work through their sexuality to come to understanding and acceptance of that truth. We hold no judgments or preconceived notions about what your sexuality, gender, or identity should be or will be.

Understanding your own sexuality is not a milestone but rather a process. We want to work with you to feel empowered in the exploration of this journey. We want to start where you are, not define where you need to end up.

For example, we provide LGBTQI+ support, but we don’t assume that we know exactly what that needs to look like for you. We believe that you are deeply knowledgeable about your sexuality and identity, even if you feel confused, frustrated, or overwhelmed at this moment. We trust you to be able to find the answers for yourself and simply want to provide guidance, support, wisdom (and maybe a little humor) along the way.

Regardless of your orientation, relationship status, gender identity, or other factors, sexuality plays an important role in your life. Understanding sexuality can be a lifelong, ever changing process. If you want to continue deepening your relationship, comfort level, and possibilities for your own sexuality, you can take this journey as far as you’d like. That said, if you have a specific challenge and understanding your sexuality better can help, you might work through that and feel done. Either way is an okay way to be.

Understanding Sexuality

We are very interested in working with sexuality issues and LGBTQI+ individuals because we know that this is a very important aspect of a person’s life. Everyone is a sexual being. Even people who identify as asexual must work through their sexuality to come to understanding and acceptance of that truth. We hold no judgments or preconceived notions about what your sexuality, gender, or identity should be or will be.

Understanding your own sexuality is not a milestone but rather a process. We want to work with you to feel empowered in the exploration of this journey. We want to start where you are, not define where you need to end up.

For example, we provide LGBTQI+ support, but we don’t assume that we know exactly what that needs to look like for you. We believe that you are deeply knowledgeable about your sexuality and identity, even if you feel confused, frustrated, or overwhelmed at this moment. We trust you to be able to find the answers for yourself and simply want to provide guidance, support, wisdom (and maybe a little humor) along the way.

Regardless of your orientation, relationship status, gender identity, or other factors, sexuality plays an important role in your life. Understanding sexuality can be a lifelong, ever changing process. If you want to continue deepening your relationship, comfort level, and possibilities for your own sexuality, you can take this journey as far as you’d like. That said, if you have a specific challenge and understanding your sexuality better can help, you might work through that and feel done. Either way is an okay way to be. Contact us today to get started.