“If trans people can safely change their bodies to become who they truly are, they will protect those bodies because people who are happier in their bodies tend to take better care of them.”


-Nathan Levitt, educator at Callen-Lorde Health Center, 2008

General Information

Transgender Hormone Therapy is available at Equality Health Center. Someone gets HT when a medical provider gives them hormones that their body doesn’t make and/or when they get medicine that blocks the hormones that their body does make. We developed our protocols based on a review of current standards of care. We recognize that individuals are able to make sound medical decisions regarding their bodies when given the appropriate health information to do so. As such, counseling in not necessary to initiate hormone therapy. That being said, some individuals would and do benefit from counseling. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to this transitioning process.

What to Expect at Your Appointment

At your initial appointment you will meet with the practitioner to review your medical history and to discuss your goals for hormone therapy.  If you have had a recent physical exam elsewhere it is very helpful for our practitioner to review these medical notes prior to meeting with you. Of particular use/importance are any labwork results (lipid profile, liver profile and hormone levels) and a list of prescription medications that you are already taking.  If recent lab results are unavailable then the practitioner will order any necessary lab tests at this first visit.

The most commonly prescribed hormone regimens are testosterone and estrogen and spironolactane. Other medication regimens may also be considered as needed.  These medications are usually very safe and effective.  Every medication has risks and benefits, and side effects that are important to understand before starting. Some need to be taken continuously to maintain their effects, while some other effects are permanent, even if one discontinues hormone therapy. It’s especially important to know how they work. When an individual takes hormones to transition it is sort of like going through a second puberty. The time period for seeing changes is varied for different individuals. Some folks see changes really quickly and sometimes change can be a slow process.


Estrogen is the female sex hormone that makes certain features appear typically female. Estrogen should not be taken by anyone who has a history of an estrogen-dependent cancer or blood clots that could or did travel to the lungs. It is usually taken along with Spironolactone, which blocks testosterone, the male sex hormone.


Testosterone is the sex hormone that makes certain features appear typically male. It builds muscle and causes the development of facial hair and a deeper voice. It is usually given by injection every 2 to 4 weeks. It is not used as a pill because the body cannot absorb it properly.

There may be some unwanted swings in hormone levels which can be controlled by changing the timing or amount of the testosterone dose. Testosterone should not be used by anyone who is pregnant or has uncontrolled coronary artery disease

These two links from a medical association in the UK,  describe the effects  hormone have and are really great, even if some of the language and protocols are slightly different.

Testosterone hormonal effects http://www.tht.org.uk/~/media/8F7D70D8C3B643109351E3D9A633529A.ashx

Estrogen hormonal effects


Additional Resources

The following are also excellent transgender and gender non-conforming resources:

Transgender Bibliography list

http://www.apa.org/topics/lgbt/transgender.aspx  Informative information & resources for transgender individuals

www.transequality.org  “The National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) is a non-profit social justice organization dedicated to advancing the equality of trans gender people through advocacy, collaboration, and empowerment.”

www.wpath.org “WPATH Mission is to promote evidence based care, education, research, advocacy, public policy and respect in transgender health. Highly respected international org who set standards of medical care”

www.transhealth.ucsf.edu  “Increasing access to comprehensive, effective, and affirming healthcare services for transgender and gender-variant communities”

http://community.pflag.org/Document.Doc?id=202 “PFLAG: Welcoming Our Trans Family and Friends: A support guide for parents, families & friends of transgender and non-conforming people”

www.forge-forward.org    “Forge works to educate and advocate for the rights and lives of transgender individuals and SOFFAs (Significant Others, Friends, Family, and Allies).  helping move fragmented communities beyond identity politics and forge a movement that embraces and empowers our diverse complexities.”

www.GLBThotline.org/transteens  The GLBT National Help Center is a 20 year-old non-profit organization, which operates the GLBT National Youth Talkline. The Trans Teens Online Talk Group is a live, moderated group chat for trans youth ages 12 thru 19, operating each Wednesday from 4-6 pm, pacific time. This new program is designed to be a safe place that allows trans youth to talk freely about concerns and issues, with others their own age, providing support for one another, and helping each other know they are not alone.
Please call our office to learn more about this program if you would like to schedule an appointment.