Transgender resources in SF and the BA?
January 13, 2009 9:36 PM   Subscribe

Transgender resources in San Francisco and the Bay Area?

I've hit my wall and I can't take it any more. I need help. I don't have a fetish - well, except for the fact I love clothes like many women. I'm not closeted gay boy who simply wants to be flamboyant. Oh, I wish it were that easy.

I have severe gender dysphoria and it's slowly killing me and poisoning my relationships with just about anyone in my life. I'm envious and jealous of the women in my life and resentful of the men who expect me to meet their standards of emotional and physical masculinity.

Above all I'm tired of hurting. I'm tired of hiding. I'm tired of trying to live two lives and keeping the best parts of me a secret. I'm tired of lying to myself and the people I love. It's well past time to deal with this.

I'm looking for MTF transgender resources in SF and the Bay Area and I'm scared and feeling alone and a bit lost.

To begin with I need counseling, therapy and someone professional to talk to.

I also need any and all information about HRT and SRS that I can get.

Where do I start? Is The Center (on Market Street) a good place to talk to someone in person? Who do I talk to? What do I say?

What are my options?

First or second hand advice is very appreciated, particularly about how to deal with the pitfalls of Standards of Care and the malformed DSM-IV, how to deal with public intolerance, how to foster and nurture the courage to just be myself and be true to myself despite all of the ignorant bastards in this world.

Emotional and moral support is also appreciated.

Out of thread email replies may be directed to - but please, be brave. Post here if you can. You might help someone else if you post here.
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (13 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

I don't know the Bay Area. But, I do know that every GLBT group I've ever been involved with has been very supportive of transsexuals*. I think you'd probably be well served with most of those groups in your area. And, given the number of queers in SF, I imagine there have to be a zillion of them. Even if they can't help you directly, they can probably link you to a local transgender group.

I really hope that you do find local support. It's hard to be queer without alienating the straights. It's gotten easier for gays and lesbians in the past decade or so. But, it's really hard for most people to cope with those of us they can't place in neat little categories with predetermined gender roles.

*They always seem to like the T, but none of them seem to have much interest in helping the B. Drives me nuts.
posted by Netzapper at 10:01 PM on January 13, 2009

Hello, anonymous. You're making a brave choice to move forward with this. You already know you have challenges ahead of you, but as you probably also know, you also live in a place that is pretty good around GLBT issues.

It sounds like you're looking for two types of help: the community-based resources, moral support type thing and the medical resources, help with transitioning, etc. I've never been to the Center myself, but it seems like the kind of general community resource that could help you find events and support groups, maybe Gay Yellow Pages or the like with listings of trans-friendly therapists, and so on. Social resources like that can help you find the best information about the concrete issues surrounding therapy and sex reassignment surgery.

I would also suggest checking out a PFLAG meeting for a friendly, low-pressure place of social support. They'll be knowledgeable about the local GLBT resources and happy to help people at any stage of the coming-out process.

Starting to talk to other people about this in person probably seems pretty intimidating. Remember that you don't have to do it all at once. If you walk up to the door of the Center and you don't think you can go inside and say, "Hey, I need to find a trans-friendly therapist and a trans support group," you can try just the going inside part, grab an event calendar and go back out. This is a journey you can make on your own terms and your own schedule.
posted by backtotherain at 11:02 PM on January 13, 2009

Loads of (transgender) friends of mine work at SFSI. They are good people and they will listen to you. If you don't know what to say, go in or call and let them help, it's what they do. Seconding liketitanic, TGSF does outreach too.

You're not in -trouble-. You have discovered something in you that wants expression.
posted by jet_silver at 11:20 PM on January 13, 2009 [1 favorite]

First of all, Thank you for asking. It takes alot to reach out like that. So I am just going to start. The Transgender law Center is a great organization whose website even gives you links to almost every resouce you would need in this process (and in dealing with standards of care and DSM-IV issues you face). Take a look at that for many of your questions, and get in contact with them if you run into trouble along the way. Here are some places to look for you or anyone else for your needs. NYC based Sylvia Rivera law Project for legal resources and links, if your issues around masculinity are around you Latino roots El-La is a Latino Transgender group specializeing in the mission district. For that therapist, Gaylesta is the "Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Psychotherapists Association of the greater San Francisco Bay Area" ther have referals and education and counsoling etc, A great drop in center to look at Trans Thrive. I hope that helps, there is alot of support in The City good luck, you have a magnificant journey ahead.
posted by elationfoundation at 11:40 PM on January 13, 2009

I always kind of hate to suggest LiveJournal, but there happen to be several large (1000+ member) transgender communities there...those might be a good place to ask for firsthand advice/experience/support. You can create an account there and use it just to post questions in the communities.
-transgender community
-mtf community
-trans advice community
posted by needs more cowbell at 11:42 PM on January 13, 2009

I was pretty much where you are now not very long ago. Deciding to do something about it, and then doing it was (and is) scary, wonderful, terrifying and glorious all at once. It's easy to feel overwhelmed, especially in the beginning, but it does get easier.

Echoing what backtotherain said, baby-steps are perfectly okay, and a trans-friendly therapist with previous experience in these things will be an invaluable ally along the way (and should be nothing like the adversarial "gatekeeper" you might currently be imagining them to be). I'm on the wrong coast to give specific advice on finding a local one, but SF is definitely not a bad place to be at all.
posted by Pryde at 1:08 AM on January 14, 2009

Some Bay Area therapists specializing in transgender issues are: Lisette Lahana, Larry Tunis, June Martin, Anne Vitale, and Sand Chang.

There's also the Gender & Self Acceptance Program (which doesn't have a website):
PO Box 424447
San Francisco, CA 94142
(415) 558-8058

Good luck and best wishes to you.
posted by terranova at 6:47 AM on January 14, 2009

You're in San Francisco; best damned place in the country to find LGBT resources. (I'm not LGBT, but I have friends who are, and I try to do what I can to help them since I'm pro-LGBT rights.)

One thing I notice isn't being mentioned here is safety. I suggest you learn self-defense so you can protect yourself, because the chances are statistically high that you will be assaulted.
posted by kldickson at 7:54 AM on January 14, 2009

Not bay area specific but TSRoadmap is also worth having a look at if you haven't seen it already. I found the site helpful when I was thinking of transitioning.

And just to add, yes its all can be scary at time but it is possible. I found counseling really helped me start to get back on top of things.
posted by Z303 at 9:09 AM on January 14, 2009

The Pacific Center ( has free or cheap one-on-one counseling, support groups, and lots of resources. Really great place to meet some people who can help.
posted by prior at 11:25 AM on January 14, 2009

Here is another possible Bay Area resource: United Genders of the Universe They have resource links and other information.

You may also benefit indirectly from the experience of other MTF folks through their writing and art in zines. Go to The Queer Zine Archive Project and search on 'transgender' or just browse through the titles.
posted by kuppajava at 12:17 PM on January 14, 2009

Send me a memail and I'll forward the name of my therapist in Meno Park. She works with TG people quite often. Best of luck to you.
posted by chairface at 12:33 PM on January 14, 2009

A good place to start: TGSF for their resource list.

I agree with Lyon Martin and Tom Waddell mentioned above, for medical care, including hormones. Both have very good reputations. The transgender clinic at Tom Waddell is on Tuesdays [pdf of protocols]. A New Leaf is good, and also the DPH Center for Special Problems, for free or low-cost counseling on gender/transgender issues, including the first steps towards transitioning.

I love the Transgender Law Center, and there's a lot of good stuff on their web site, although that may be more for background reading than for your immediate needs. TransThrive has support groups and a lot of other resources (with the caveat that I have some association with that group). It's run by API Wellness, but is not at all limited to the API community.

You're doing the right thing in taking action to take care of yourself. It will get better.
posted by gingerbeer at 8:24 PM on January 14, 2009

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