Trans Health

The information below has been gathered by a dedicated group of professionals to be accessible and person-centered. It is by no means an exhaustive list or meant to answer all possible questions. Please utilize the drop-downs below as an opportunity to get some preliminary information and direction for the next steps for gender-affirming care.

  • I am interested in learning more about medical transition for gender affirmation.

    If you are curious about gender-affirming medical care, it can be overwhelming trying to find a place to start learning about the options available to you. Generally, gender-affirming medical treatment can, but doesn’t necessarily, include the components of hormone replacement therapy and gender-affirming surgery. All gender-affirming medical care is used to help you feel more comfortable, so it is tailored specifically to your needs. Generally speaking, you can choose to use all available treatment options (hormones and all types of surgery) or various combinations of available treatments (i.e. only hormones; only surgery; hormones and some surgery), to address your individual needs.

    Generally speaking, here is a list of the most common types of medical treatments that can be used to help you achieve a maximum level of comfort:

    Feminizing gender-affirming medical care options:

    • Hormone replacement therapy includes estrogen and progesterone
      *There are several different ways that HRT can be administered; to get details on what types of HRT are available to you, please consult with your medical provider.
    • Facial feminization surgery
    • Chest surgery: including implants and reconstruction of a more feminine-appearing chest
    • Genital reconstruction, to achieve functional and/or aesthetic feminine genitalia: can include removal of the testes and/or other reconstructive procedures to reconstruct the perineum and create a vagina, labia, and clitoris from tissues in the genital area.

     

    Masculinizing gender-affirming medical care options:

    • Hormone replacement therapy includes testosterone, and sometimes progesterone and/or estrogen if indicated.
      *There are several different ways that HRT can be administered; to get details on what types of HRT are available to you, please consult with your medical provider.
    • Chest surgery: includes mastectomy and reconstruction of a more masculine-appearing chest. One resource commonly shared within the community (but not necessarily endorsed by MSU) is, https://www.topsurgery.net/
    • Removal of internal reproductive organs: can include removal of the uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries, cervix, and vagina
    • Genital reconstruction, to achieve functional and/or aesthetic masculine genitalia
    • Simple masculinizing genital reconstruction procedures can include reduction of the feminine components of the external genitalia, including reconfiguring or removing all or part of the inner and outer labia, release of the clitoris from surrounding tissues, and reconstruction of the perineum
    • Urethral rerouting and/or urethral lengthening can be performed to change the location you urinate from (the urethral opening). There are many ways to do UL and location of the urethral opening is based on your preference. Many people choose UL with the goal of being able to urinate standing or stand to pee (STP).
    • Scrotoplasty can be performed to create a scrotum from tissues in your genital area. You may or may not want testicular implants, depending on your personal goals for surgery and on what your surgeon thinks is possible with your natal anatomy.
    • Metoidioplasty is the construction of a penis using the growth of the clitoris that is caused by HRT. The neophallus can become erect without a device. UL can be completed as a component of metoidioplasty. One resource commonly shared within the community (but not necessarily endorsed by MSU) is, https://www.metoidioplasty.net/
    • Phalloplasty is the construction of a penis using a flap of skin and deeper tissues from elsewhere on the body. UL can be completed as a component of phalloplasty. A device is often implanted to help achieve erections. One resource commonly shared within the community (but not necessarily endorsed by MSU) is, https://www.phallo.net/

    For more detailed explanations of gender-affirming medical treatment options, and what changes to expect, you can visit the following resources commonly shared within the community (but not necessarily endorsed by MSU):

    University of California-San Francisco (UCSF) Transgender Care webpage:
    https://transcare.ucsf.edu/welcome-0

    The Medical Care of Transgender Persons-Information from Fenway Health's Transgender Health Program (THP):
    https://www.lgbthealtheducation.org/wp-content/uploads/COM-2245-The-Medical-Care-of-Transgender-Persons-v31816.pdf

    or click here to download a pdf of the information.

  • I want to begin the process to start hormones.
    1. Before starting hormone replacement therapy (HRT) the medical provider will want you to secure a referral letter from a qualified mental health professional, as required by the Standards of Care (V. 7) of World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH)
    2. MSU students can visit the MSU Counseling and Psychiatric Services (CAPS) on the third floor of Olin Health Center. If CAPS is unable to accommodate your request at this time or if you would like to see a community provider, a CAPS provider can refer you to a community partner for your referral letter. Contact CAPS at (517) 355-8270 or come in during drop-in hours (https://caps.msu.edu/services/index.html#Walk-in
    3. Other Referral Options 
    4. If you are already seeing a mental health provider in the community, you can request a letter and referral to be sent to Olin Medical Records to initiate services. 
    5. Once you have the HRT referral letter, drop it off or fax it to Olin Medical Records at (517) 432-9460. Once your letter has been reviewed, you will be called to schedule an appointment.
    As noted, Olin Health Center currently operates on a required letter from a WPATH (World Professional Association for Transgender Health) mental health professional model to initiate treatment. There are other options known as an “informed consent” model. If you are interested in pursuing services locally/elsewhere under this model, please consider contacting the following clinics:
  • I am currently on HRT, how can I transfer care to Olin?

    If you have started hormone replacement therapy and would like to continue your HRT while at MSU, we have providers who are able to provide ongoing medication refills to students with a documented treatment plan. Please have records sent to Olin Medical Records department to initiate transferring your HRT care.

  • I need a letter and/or referrals for surgery and transition-related specialty care.

    Many doctors require a letter from a mental health provider in order to move forward with surgery or other transition-related specialty care. Mental health providers conduct a psychosocial assessment to gather information for the letter of support for surgery. For referrals to on and off-campus mental health providers contact Ginny Blakely, LMSW at blakelyv@msu.edu or go to CAPS Connect drop-in hours at the LBGT Resource Center

    For specialists who provide transition-related medical care, you may look for OBGYNs, fertility specialists, urologists, ear, nose and throat doctors, or providers of electrolysis or laser hair removal. For referrals to specific providers contact Ginny Blakely, LMSW at blakelyv@msu.edu or go to CAPS Connect drop-in hours at the LBGT Resource Center.

  • I want to talk to a mental health provider who has training/experience working with TGNC clients.

    We understand why many transgender and gender-nonconforming individuals may want to work with mental health providers who have experience and training in gender identity and expression. Whether you want support in your exploration of gender identity, you are pursuing gender-affirming medical care, or you have concerns unrelated to your identity such as anxiety, depression, or stress management, it can be helpful to work with a mental health provider who has training and experience with the transgender and gender-nonconforming community.

    All mental health providers at CAPS are expected to adhere to the MSU anti-discrimination policy and are expected to provide culturally competent, affirming care to all students. We are currently working on developing and implementing programs to train CAPS providers on best practices in competent mental health services for transgender and gender-nonconforming students as well.

    CAPS has providers with a designated focus and in-depth experience working with transgender and gender nonconforming as well as LGBTQ students.

    To meet with one of these providers, you may email them directly, or go to CAPS for a drop-in screening and request one of these providers.

    For referrals to additional on and off-campus providers with expertise in serving the TGNC and LGBTQ community contact the LBGT Resource Center or Ginny Blakely, LMSW at blakelyv@msu.edu. Additionally, you can utilize online tools such as, Psychology Today to find a provider directory to search for local therapists who indicate they work with the transgender and LGBTQ communities.

  • I identify as TGNC and would like to participate in a support group or learn about community resources.

    The LBGT Resource Center is a student-centered campus resource that works to celebrate, affirm, and empower LGBTQ+ members for the Michigan State University community. The center provides an open drop-in space for LGBTQ+ students to spend time, connect, talk to staff and obtain resources. Visit the Resource Center Monday-Friday from 9-5 in Suite 302 of the Student Services Building (556 E. Circle Drive). Furthermore, the LBGT Resource Center hosts events, community dinners, educational workshops and programs. Visit their website for more information about how to get involved.

    CAPS hosts a Gender Identity and Attractionality (GIAA) therapy support groups for LGBTQ+ students as well as a facilitated support group for Queer folks of color. For information on upcoming CAPS groups go to https://caps.msu.edu/services/groups/index.html

    MSU offers multiple Registered Student Organizations as well as Neighborhood Caucases that provide space for networking, events, support, and advocacy for LGBTQ and Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Students, for more information contact MSU’s LBGT Resource Center.

    The Salus Center is Lansing’s LGBTQ community center and hosts many events, support groups, and activities for the off-campus LGBTQ community including support groups for transgender and gender-nonconforming individuals. For more information on community resources, contact the Salus Center.

  • What are my options for changing my name and gender marker?

    Visit the LBGT Resource Center website’s page for Resources for Trans Students. Their FAQ provides step by step instructions for name change in the state of Michigan, as well as the process for a name change and gender marker changes with the university.

    Additionally, the National Center for Transgender Equality provides an ID Documents Center with online information about Michigan law and processes for name and gender marker changes.

  • As a TGNC person, how am I protected from discrimination?
  • What are housing options for TGNC students at MSU?
  • I am a friend/family member of a TGNC student, consider the resources below for more information:

    Welcoming Our Trans Family and Friends: A Support Guide for Parents, Families and Friends of Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming People:

    https://lgbtrc.usc.edu/files/2015/05/Welcoming-Our-Trans-Family-and-Friends.pdf

    Download a pdf file here.

    Family, Friends, & Allies information page (hosted by Amherst College):

    https://www.amherst.edu/campuslife/our-community/queer-resource-center/trans-resources-campus/family-friends-allies

  • Where can I find all gender restrooms on campus?
    • Find on-campus restrooms be scrolling to the Inclusive Restroom Map found here: https://lbgtrc.msu.edu/trans-msu/
    • Most restrooms at Olin Student Health Center are all-gender and single occupancy; binary restrooms are on the first floor, with a single-occupancy restroom next to the main elevator.

    • All Neighborhood Clinics also have all-gender restrooms.
  • Insurance

    You may also be considering health insurance coverage for your gender-affirming medical care. Many insurance plans cover gender-affirming care, but the specific details of what is covered and how to access that coverage will be specific to your plan.

  • Other resources for trans and gender non-binary students

    Please see the MSU LBGT Resource Center page: https://lbgtrc.msu.edu/trans-msu/

     

If you’d like to talk with a provider to get your questions answered, please contact Ginny Blakely, LMSW (blakelyv@msu.edu), you can go to CAPS Connect hours or the LBGT Resource Center.

Note: The resources provided on this page include some resources developed and maintained by communities seeking these services, not solely developed and maintained by medical providers. These are general guidelines and informational resources and do not constitute medical advice or serve as a substitute for talking to your medical provider about your care options.

Special credit and thanks go to the University of Wisconsin-Madison, University Health Services for providing logical structure and accessible content for underserved populations.