A good family doctor is one of the more important things you need to consider as a transgender person. This medical professional will be your first line for everything from referrals to necessary prescriptions for your transition. In addition to all of the transgender related items, they will also be there for your non-transgender related issues. They, quite literally, are going to be one of the more important people in your life. It is for this reason that it is really important to ensure that you find the right doctor and not just settle for the first one you find. This is your life; you deserve to be a little picky.
The first thing, and one of the most important factors, to consider is how they feel about transgender people. It is important that you weed out any transphobia because doctors are human too and can be very transphobic. A good question to ask them is if they treat any other transgender people. In a big city you would expect that they would have and if they have not then I may wonder why. In smaller cities it is more statistical probable that they may not have treated another transgender person. Listen to what they say. If they use backhanded compliments like ‘I would have never suspected you were a man/woman’ I would be cautious. Also if they refer to transgender folk as a collective like ‘you people,’ or some similar term, I would also be wary. If the potential doctor misgenders you, then they are not the right doctor for you.
Once you have determined that the doctor is trans friendly, the next step is to access their knowledge of transgender medicine. Ask questions. Find out if they are up to date on medical transition needs. They may be trans friendly but if they have no idea what to do with you, then you have a problem. If they are shaky on some of the information, are they willing to learn? Are they going to listen to you? A good many of you are subject experts on the topic of transgender people and a great opportunity for the doctor to learn more about the community and their potential new patient.
Of course, before you even meet with a potential doctor you want to begin by weeding out some potential doctors based on various rate your MD sites. Most regions have doctor directories and if you are lucky, their patients have the ability to leave comments. If you see a comment about a potential doctor that does not sit right with you, you can eliminate them right away. Especially if there are patients complaining that he or she is insensitive to trans or even gay issues. Depending on your city, there is always the chance that you do not have a lot of doctors to work with. In Canada, for example, there is a shortage of family doctors in most communities.
There is a chance that there isn’t a trans friendly doctor in your area that is accepting new patients. Luckily there are still options available for you. If you reach out to the local trans community and talk to some people who already have trans friendly doctors, they may be able to help you. Some trans friendly doctors will make exceptions to the new patients rule once they realize your situation. They are often well aware how difficult it can be to find a good trans friendly doctor. If they can’t take you, they will often know another trans friendly doctor who might be able to take you on as a patient.
It may be at times frustrating as you hunt for the right doctor for you. It really is one of things you may have to accept because it is worth the time investment. There are great doctors out there who are trans friendly and more are becoming trans friendly everyday as the transgender awareness wave continues to hold and gain momentum. Have faith that you will find that doctor and if you choose poorly, you can still shop around for a new one. You should never settle on your health or your personal dignity.