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Questions to ask your child’s health professionals

Visiting a medical professional can be stressful for anyone who is gender diverse. To guide you and your child, we’ve listed some questions you might ask the health professionals at your child’s next visit.

You can simply tailor the wording to suit your situation. 

Medical & Legal Considerations
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Preparing for your visit to the GP

Questions to ask the clinic before your appointment

  • “Does your clinic have an inclusion policy that references gender diverse patients? Do you have any policies supporting gender-affirming care?”
  • “Does <doctor> have any experience working with gender diverse patients? Was it a young person or adult? Has the doctor undergone any gender diversity awareness training?”
  • “Is <doctor> happy to provide gender-affirming care for my child? If not, can you please refer us to a doctor who is?”
  • “Would <doctor> be happy to complete a Statement of Support for my child to have [her / his / their / <other>] [name / sex marker] changed on their birth certificate and other personal identity documents?”
  • “Are your doctors authorised to initiate prescriptions for gender-affirming hormones, or just continue treatment plans initiated by another doctor, or neither? Do you follow the Informed Consent Model for hormones, or would you need a letter of approval from a psychiatrist or endocrinologist?”
  • “Can you please find out if <doctor> is familiar with the care recommendations detailed in the Australian Standards of Care and Treatment Guidelines: For Trans and gender diverse children and adolescents? If they aren’t, may I please request that they review the document before our appointment.”
  • “Can you please forward the following to your doctors and nurses for review:

About gender identity and records at the clinic

  • “I’ve noticed this form only has fields for “male” and “female”. My child is non-binary, so I will create a new box for that. Is there any chance this form could be updated to be more inclusive for your patients?”
  • “There is a fantastic, inclusive intake form available to download and print from the TransHub website (Gender-affirming intake form for doctors). Would you consider making this available to your patients?’
  • “Can you please update my child’s name and pronouns in their file?”
  • “Is there a way you can list my child’s pronouns as [they/them/their / <other pronouns>] in your system?’ … If not: “Can you please tag their file or leave an obvious note in there, so that all staff are aware of and use my child’s correct pronouns?”
  • “May I please request that all staff use my child’s new name and pronouns at all times during our visit?’ [It’s helpful to remind staff of this in person, upon arrival at the clinic.]

Questions for your GP

General questions

  • “I have just found out my child is gender diverse. What do I do?”
  • “How might this impact my child’s general health or medical needs? Will there be any new routine health checks they’ll need?”
  • “What about medical conditions linked to females or males? Will my [trans son still need cervical screening / trans daughter still need prostate exams / <other>]?”

Questions about gender-affirming medical treatment

  • “Are medical interventions safe? Can they sterilise my child?”
  • “Do I have any rights to stop my child from seeking medical treatment?”
  • “My child wants to access gender-affirming medical care. I am not ready. What do we do?”

You may find these factsheets on gender-affirming medical care useful to refer to also.

About the Gender Clinic

  • “Are you happy to refer us to the Gender Clinic / private gender practitioner?”
  • “What will happen at the Gender Clinic?”
  • “What do we do while we’re waiting on the list? Are there any helpful services I can link in with?”
  • “Will my child need to be assessed by a psychologist or psychiatrist?”

About mental health

  • “What mental health red flags or warning signs do I need to keep my eye out for?”
  • “If my child is showing signs of anxiety or depression, what do I do?”

Preparing for your visit to the Gender Clinic

Questions to ask the clinic before your appointment

  • “What child age-range do you treat? Do you have a catchment area?”
  • “I don’t know if my child is actually gender diverse or not. Is it still appropriate for us to see you?”
  • “What do I need to send you to get onto your waiting list? How long is the expected wait time for my child?”
  • “If my child’s dysphoria becomes critical while we’re still on the waiting list, what do we do?”
  • “If I have particular questions for the specialists, could I send them in advance, or should I just ask them at the appointment?”
  • “Does my child have to be at every appointment? Can I meet with you without my child? Can my child meet with you on [her / his / their / <other>] own, without me in attendance?”
  • “Do you do in-person, video or phone appointments? Can we choose?”
  • “Which specialists will be in the appointment? Will I be able to contact them outside of scheduled appointment times?”

Questions for your gender specialist

General questions

  • “Can you please explain the difference between “sex” and “gender”?”
  • “What has caused this to happen to my child?”
  • “How do we know this is real and not a phase?’ How can we be sure [she’s / he’s / they’ve / <other>] not going to change their mind?”
  • “How many children think they’re gender diverse but then go back?”
  • “Why does my child need a mental health assessment?”
  • “If my child goes downhill with [her / his / their / <other>] mental health between scheduled appointments, what do we do?”
  • “Can you recommend and refer us to any other services that would be helpful or relevant to their care and needs? E.g.: Endocrinology/Mental health/Fertility preservation/Peer support/Family support/Speech therapy
  • “Is there anything my child needs to know about having sex? [Does he / Does he / Do they / <other>] need to use contraception?”

Questions relevant for any gender-affirming medical treatment

  • “What are the potential risks of these treatments?”
  • “What are the potential benefits?”
  • “What happens if my child doesn’t undertake this treatment at all?”
  • “Do both parents need to consent before my child can start treatment?”
  • “My child’s other parent will not consent to [her / him / them / <other>] being treated. What are our avenues?”
  • “How do we know when it’s the right time (or wrong time) to start medical treatment?”
  • “What drugs are used? What are their side effects?”
  • “What is the typical process for this treatment?”
  • “What can we expect and when, after starting treatment?”
  • “What does treatment cost? Are the [medications / appointments] covered by Medicare or private health funds? Are the medications on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS)?”
  • “What aspects of treatment are reversible?”
  • “Will this treatment stop my child from becoming fertile? What are the fertility preservation options available for my child if [she begins / he begins / they begin / <other>] this treatment?”
  • “Does this treatment act as birth control?
  • “Do I have any rights to stop my child from starting medical treatment? Do I have any rights to stop them if [she’s / he’s / they’ve / <other>] already started?”
  • “What happens if my child starts treatment then stops?”
  • “What are the rates of young people who start this treatment then decide to stop?”
  • “At what point is [her / his / their / <other>] medical transition finished?”
  • “Does my child need to continue seeing a gender specialist once [her / his / their / <other>] medical transition is finished?”
  • “Once [her / his / their / <other>] medical transition is finished, what happens if [she decides she wants / he decides he wants / they decide they want / <other>] to have a baby?”

About Stage 1 (puberty blockers / puberty suppressants) treatment :

  • “At what age should we start? How do we know when [her / his / their / <other>] puberty is beginning?”
  • “When does Stage 1 treatment end and Stage 2 treatment begin?”

About Stage 2 (hormone therapy) treatment :

  • “What happens if my child undertakes Stage 1 but doesn’t want Stage 2 treatment?”
  • “My child has used hormones without a prescription. Will that affect Stage 2 treatment?”
  • “How long will my child need to take the hormones for? Is it for life?”
  • “If my child decided to stop taking the hormones when they’re a fully grown adult, what will happen to [her / his / their / <other>] body?”

You may find these factsheets on gender-affirming medical care useful to refer to also.

At the hospital emergency department

Get to know your local hospitals ahead of time. Find out whether they have an inclusion policy, and whether they offer gender-affirming care. Keep a letter from your doctor about your child’s gender identity handy in case of emergency.

  • “Here is a letter from our doctor regarding my child’s gender identity. May I please request that all staff use [her / his / their / <other>] preferred name and correct pronouns while we’re here?”
  • “My child is [transgender / gender diverse / non-binary / <other>] . May I please request that [her / his / their / <other>] correct gender identity and preferred name be written on a sticker, and use it to cover the legal name and sex marker listed on their ID bracelet?”
  • “While my child is here, [she / he / they / <other>] would like to use the [female / male / disabled / unisex] bathroom and change rooms please.”