Dear Kuya Allos: Getting ready to transition

Opinion & Analysis Nov 23, 2018 at 3:36 pm

113474w_1_origDear Kuya,

I want to start taking testosterone but I don’t know where to go. I have been thinking about it for a long time even when I was still in the Philippines and I think I’m ready now. When I think about it, I get excited! I started telling my close friends to call me “Francis” outside of school and to use he/him pronouns. My family doctor is Filipino and I told him I’m trans and he said he doesn’t know how to give me hormones. Also I’m scared he will tell my nanay. I live in Mississauga, I am not sure if there is anything here. What should I do?

Francis, 18

Dear Francis,

Thank you for reaching out to me! Feeling ready is a good feeling and I am sure you have been doing a lot of research. I think it will be great if you meet other trans youth like you, maybe other newcomers and other Filipinx too. It will be good for your well-being and honestly, doctors who can help want to see that you are connected to the trans community and other supports to help you in your transitioning!

Unfortunately, there are no groups that I can recommend for trans youth in Mississauga right now. If you are willing to come to Toronto, there are really great groups that you can check out. There’s a group in Sherbourne Health Centre (333 Sherbourne Ave) called “Trans Fusion Crew,” every Thursday at 6-8PM. I know the person who runs the group, he’s trans too and really cool! They have different workshops and activities every session or you can just hang out and meet people. They give away TTC tokens so you just have to worry about the MiWay tickets. Honestly if you feel shy you can bring a good friend and you can check it out together.

If Sherbourne is too far, there is also a new drop-in at the George Churvalo Community Centre (50 Sousa Mendes Street, near Dundas West subway station). Also on Thursdays, 5:30 – 8PM. They give away tokens too! Same deal, you can go, hang out and talk to the staff there. Groups like these also have resources on how to talk to your nanay about transitioning and connect her with other parents who have trans children.

The staff and volunteers in these two groups can help you find a doctor that are trained to assess you if you are ready for Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT). Sherbourne has doctors who are trained in HRT. Ask them how you can get on the waitlist to see a doctor.

Unfortunately, there are many doctors in Ontario who still refuse to get training to help their trans clients. Rainbow Health Ontario offers short training courses for doctors and other health care providers. Conservatism in the community is strong and many Filipinx youth do not have good experiences with Filipino doctors when it comes to sexual health and gender identity. If you do not feel comfortable with your doctor, it is totally OK to look for a new one.
This is an exciting time in your gender journey and remember that there are many Filipinos in the community who support you! Good luck and keep taking good care of yourself!

Ingat,
Kuya Allos

If you are a Filipinx youth and you have any questions about mental health, sexual health, gender identity, school, and even employment, write to kuya.allos@gmail.com and I will try my best to answer on the next issue of the Philippine Reporter!

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Allos Abis was one of the coordinators of the Centre for Women and Trans People at the University of Toronto and worked as a Settlement Worker in Schools serving the Dufferin Peel Catholic School Board. He is currently a volunteer at the Migrant Resource Centre Canada (MRCC).