ADVICE TO PARENTS - The Antijen Pages

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ADVICE TO PARENTS

Mom

After searching for the perfect way to raise a transsexual, I have found that every transsexual has a different set of problems with, accordingly, a different set of solutions. The following points are my personal opinions only and should be added to any other information available and to the parent's own common sense.  Demand good care! do not consider yourself a beggar, a victim, or a second class citizen. Let your teen set his or her own pace.  Discuss options, but let your teen make the decisions about his or her life whenever possible. Keep a sense of humor, and use lots of hugging.

HIGH SCHOOL

Moving to a new neighborhood and a new school during the summer worked really well for us although I know of a few transsexuals who have survived transition at their current school.

Ask the school district about alternative schools, home schooling and alternative PE programs in your area.

Ask the school district if they have a Gay / Lesbian / Bisexual / Transgendered student union on any of their school campuses, or if there are any openly gay teachers at any school. These campuses are more likely to be accepting of diversity.

Have your teen decide which bathroom he/she would feel more comfortable using and then encourage him/her to just go ahead and use those facilities. If you let the school administrators make a choice, they may choose something that is not acceptable to you and your teen.

Unless your teen is ready and strong enough to be an activist, the fewer people in the school who know, the better.

COUNSELING

Questions to ask a prospective counselor:

What educational degrees do you have?

Are you licensed by the state in which you practice, and licensed by which state agency?

How many teen transsexual clients do they have? (seeing them on TV talk shows does not count). If they have seen none, or only one, this lets them know that you know that they are not an expert. Since you will be teaching them, maybe you can negotiate a better per hour price. (Don't count on it.).

Do you know the difference between sex and gender, gender and orientation, crossdressers and transsexuals?

How do transsexual teen issues differ from those of an adult?  (some differences teens must address are problems with school, parents, dating, sexual orientation, peer pressure, self-esteem, while adults face problems with employment, family, marriage, children, finances, learning feminine mannerisms.)

Do you have a current copy of the Harry Benjamin Standard of Care, do you follow them, and if so, how strictly?

Do you require psychological testing? Which tests? How much do they cost? Who will administer them? Will the client or parents receive written results?

What is the minimum number of visits before you will write a surgery referral letter?

Do you know the side effects of hormones? (Be sure the counselor mentions or knows about the emotional side-effects.)

How do you feel about prescribing Prozac and why?

An experienced counselor should:

Know at least one endocrinologist.

Know one transsexual friendly electrologist.

Know the local support groups.

Be able to give you names of relevant books on the subject.

Know the requirements and forms for changing the Drivers license, and Social Security.

Know contacts in the local school district.

ENDOCRINOLOGIST

Questions to ask:

How many transsexuals have you treated?

What do you charge for a new patient physical exam'?

Do you give a discount for cash payments?

Is your staff understanding of the issues?

What laboratory tests do you require and at what intervals? Who does your laboratory work, and do you have a financial interest in the lab?

What is your usual regimen for treating transsexuals?

Do you use an androgen blocker?

What are the side-effects of hormones, emotional and physical?

Will you work with us if we want to try different things, such as injections versus oral hormones, or synthetic versus animal origin hormones?

What happens if hormones are discontinued?

What hormones do you prescribe post sex reassignment surgery?

ELECTROLYSIS

IT IS AN ART NOT A SCIENCE. The skills of the practitioner are more important than the method, or the type of machine that they use.

Electrolysists are required to be licensed in some states, but not in others.

Costs can range from $25 to $100 per hour. Some offer discounts for multiple hours paid in advance. Electrolysis schools are a less expensive option.

One should begin to see permanent result after 20-25 hours of treatment in one area.

A full beard may take up to 300 hours of treatment or more.

Any marks from weekly electrolysis treatments should be gone after to three days.

Ask other transsexuals for referrals and look at their skin to see if they have scars or pitting, especially on the upper lip area.

Shaving is the preferred method to use between electrolysis treatments

All electrolysists should be using a new disposable needle for each appointment.

He/she should have and use a sterilizer to sterilize the tweezers after each client.

Before and after pictures are sometimes used, but taking full nude pictures is not an acceptable practice.

Laser hair removal has mixed results: it works better on some types of hair, on some people. I personally know people who have had to go back to electrolysis after laser treatment to complete their hair removal. No transsexuals that I know have had complete, permanent hair removal through laser treatments.

I am often asked about home electrolysis units but I have had no hands on experience with them. I have seen pictures and read the instructions and seen the scars as a result of infection on one client that had used such a machine. It is very hard to use these units on oneself. They are very slow in comparison to what an electrolysist can do, and the needles that are used repeatedly are less safe than the disposable needles used by electrolysists today. These small machines may be useful if there are only a few hairs that need to be removed.

SURGEONS

Questions to ask the surgeon that is being considered:

Do you do sex reassignment surgery on teens and how many have you treated?

Do you require consent for minors from both parents?

How much does the surgery cost, and what is included? (This and other routine information may be available in a brochure.  Transportation costs are in addition to the cost of surgery.)

Do you require genital area electrolysis? If so, why? What have been the complications that you have seen that were caused when genital electrolysis was not done? What percentage of patients have had complications from hair in the wrong place post surgery.?

What percentage of your patients need donor skin?

Are there visible scars after surgery and where are they? Do you have pictures of persons with the post-surgery scars?

Is the surgery done in one step, or is a second surgery necessary
(labiaplasty)?

Is there a care facility for post surgical patients, or do they go to a motel for a few days?

What is the dilating schedule after surgery? What kind of dilator do you recommend?

Do you have a waiting list?

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