10 helpful ideas when working with transgender or gender non-conforming patients

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Goodfellow Gems

10 helpful ideas when working with transgender or gender non-conforming patients  

  • Gender is self-determined.1
  • Not all trans people want to move from one end of the gender spectrum to the other.1
  • Each transgender person’s experience is unique.1
  • Use the patients preferred name in the waiting room.1
  • Use the correct pronouns. This could be she/her, or he/him, or they/them. Check with the person about their correct pronouns, do not assume you know how to refer to them based on their appearance or medical records.
  • Seeking medical help may be crucial to enable a trans person to live authentically.1
  • Hormone therapy can greatly improve transgender people’s mental health and quality of life.1,2,3
  • A psychological assessment is not mandatory before prescribing hormones and only delays/denies access.1,3
  • A diagnosis of Gender Dysphoria or Gender Identity Disorder is not necessary before prescribing hormones.3
  • Conversations about risks and effects of hormones are necessary and useful, and supports are available.

This Gem has been checked by Joe Macdonald, Rainbow Community Liaison & Training, Affinity Services. 


  1. Ker A. Taking transgender care seriously. Atlas (a medical literary journal) 2016;1:42-45. Click here 
  2. Colton Meier et al The Effects of Hormonal Gender Affirmation Treatment on Mental Health in Female-to-Male Transsexuals Journal of Gay & Lesbian Mental Health 2011. Click here
  3. Doctors are failing to help people with gender dysphoria BMJ 2016. Click here

      Gems are chosen by the Goodfellow director Dr. Bruce Arroll to be either practice changing or practice maintaining. The information is educational and not clinical advice.

      As published in NZ Doctor 21/6/2017