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How to get help and support

You may have to wait some time for a referral for an assessment at a gender dysphoria clinic because of more people needing gender dysphoria services. However, there are things you can do to help.

For children and young people under 18

If your child or teenager is distressed, ask the GP to refer them to the local Children and Young People's Mental Health Service (CYPMHS). CYPMHS may be able to offer psychological support while they wait for their first appointment at the Gender Identity Development Service.

The school or college may be able to offer additional support.

You and your GP can find a wide range of information and support on the Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) website.

For adults

While you're waiting for your first appointment at a gender dysphoria clinic (GDC), or waiting for treatment, there are several things you can do.

If you are struggling with your mental health, speak to your GP about getting support and treatment.

Quit smoking if you smoke

It's advisable to stop as smoking can increase the risks of side effects of hormone treatment and surgery. Get advice on stopping smoking.

Lose weight if you are overweight

Certain risks from cross-sex hormones are increased if you are overweight.

Do not self-medicate with hormones

You do not know what you're being sold and you could harm yourself without regular monitoring. Hormones may also affect your future fertility.

Use contraception if you are sexually active

Ask your GP or sexual health service for contraceptive methods to suit your needs.

The UK Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare (FSRH) has a useful guide to contraception for transgender and non-binary people.

Live in your preferred gender (social transitioning)

For some, this is an important part of managing gender dysphoria at home, work and socially.

You would need to do this before you can have gender surgery. Gender dysphoria clinics need to know the changes you want to make in your social role will improve your life and be sustainable over time, so that they can help you with this process.

As part of social transitioning, most gender dysphoria clinics recommend you change your name by deed poll. You can do this for free and then use it to change your name on your passport and other personal documents, at your bank, work and at the GP surgery.

Once the GP has a copy of your deed poll, they should contact Primary Care Support England to change your name on medical records and issue you with a new NHS number.

Non-binary identities are not officially recognised, but the GP can make a note of your chosen name and preferred pronouns.