Question: I identify as transgender and would like to begin hormone replacement therapy. Can any endocrinologist do this? or should I go through a gender identity clinic like CAMH? I am hesitant to go through CAMH because they are very strict with rules and wait time is very long.
The Toronto-based Sherbourne Health Centre has a history of working with Trans clients through their variety of LGBT primary health care programs and services. After receiving many calls from physicians about how to support their Trans clients, they published a document called “Guidelines and Protocols for Comprehensive Primary Health Care for Trans Clients” in 2009 (available for download off their homepage).
The Guidelines is broken into two parts, Protocol for Treatment Hormone Therapy and Guidelines for Social Supports, containing a wealth of information useful to family physicians seeking resources on how to support their Trans clients.
Regarding the role of an endocrinologist, on page 8 it states:
“Many family physicians seek consultation with an endocrinologist; this is often an appropriate and helpful referral (especially if there is an endocrinologist available with experience treating transsexual clients). However, it is certainly within the scope of family physicians to provide hormone treatments to their transsexual clients.”
As an individual considering hormone therapy, it may be a good idea to read the Guidelines. The second part highlights some resources that may be helpful throughout the transitioning process.
If possible, providing a copy of the Guidelines to a trusted family physician for review would allow them to assess their level of familiarity and comfort with the protocols. They could then seek professional support from an experienced colleague, endocrinologist or from the staff at Sherbourne Health Centre if needed.
The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) in Toronto would be the only option at the current time if you are seeking support from the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP). More information can be found in the previous response How does one begin the process of transitioning?