About This Resource
Rainbow Health Ontario and our FAQs working group gathered these answers in response to questions we are commonly asked by trans and non-binary folks in Ontario. The questions and answers were designed for Ontario residents over the age of 18.
Where relevant and possible, we have included system navigation information for community members who face particular challenges when accessing healthcare, such as people who are Indigenous, newcomers, refugees, international students, people who do sex work, are HIV positive people and/or those who have mental health concerns, among others.
We’ve used plain language as much as possible to make this resource accessible and relevant to different people's identities and experiences. These FAQs and their answers are intended to help you with the process of transitioning both socially and medically. We also hope they can help you find community.
How To Use This Resource
We've grouped questions by categories. You can search the entire knowledge base using the search bar at the top of this page, or you can go into a section and search just within that section. Your feedback is welcome, using the feedback feature at the bottom of each question, or by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
General access to health care 4 Articles
Sometimes it can feel difficult to initiate a conversation with your primary care provider regarding hormones, surgery, or transitioning in general. Some primary care providers will be new to trans health and just need information, while others might want you to get help from another provider. If you need to find a provider, the Rainbow Health Ontario Service Provider Directory lists self-identified LGBT2SQ-affirming providers throughout the province.
- How do I find an affirming provider if I don’t have one or if my current provider won’t provide trans health care?
- How can I start a conversation with my existing primary care provider about trans health care?
- My provider wants to offer me care, but needs support, guidance and/or information.
- My provider wants a specialist or another, more experienced provider to start me on hormones.
Social Transition 3 Articles
There are parts of transitioning that are not specifically medical. Some of these are referred to as being aspects of “social transition," for instance changing your name, legal documents, clothing or hair style. There is no set list or correct order in which to transition socially. Whatever changes you want to make, if any at all, are entirely up to you.
- What does “social transition” mean?
- I want to legally change my name and/or sex marker on government documents.
- Other than on Government ID, where else might I want to update my name or sex marker designation?
Population-specific access to health care 4 Articles
- As an Indigenous person, what health care do I have access to?
- As a newcomer or refugee, what health care do I have access to?
- As an international student, what health care do I have access to?
- As an international visitor with a work visa, what health care do I have access to?
Hormones 3 Articles
In Ontario, access to hormones usually happens within primary care, as this care is within the scope of a family doctor or nurse practitioner. It is not necessary to see an endocrinologist, psychiatrist, or other specialist, unless you have additional health and/or mental health concerns that would benefit from that support. One of the first steps towards accessing hormones is to ask your primary care provider if they are willing to initiate hormones. Even if it is your provider’s first time, Rainbow Health Ontario has resources and supports to walk them through the process.
- I am HIV+. Will this make a difference for being on hormones?
- I don’t like needles. Are there other ways I can receive hormones?
- I want to learn more about safe injection.
Transition Related Surgeries (TRS) 5 Articles
Trans and non-binary individuals pursuing medical transition may seek transition-relates surgeries (TRS) as part of their transition process. In Ontario, government funding is available for some TRS following an assessment and referral process.
- How are transition-related surgeries (TRS) funded in Ontario?
- Who can refer me for TRS?
- What should I expect in a surgical planning meeting?
- Do I need to take hormones to transition surgically?
- Where can I find post-surgery care or help?
This section will help you make changes to government documentation. The information and much of the language used has been taken directly from government websites and correspondence with government representatives. Because it is common for government requirements to change, readers should cross-reference these Q&As with current government information and forms on the appropriate government websites to ensure you are following the most recent requirements. Please note: We will have questions and answers coming soon regarding name and/or gender marker changes on Citizenship Certificates or Permanent Resident Cards, as well as on Canadian Passports or SIN Cards. This information is currently under review following the recent June 2019 changes to elements of these processes.
- What do I need to know before I get started with changing my name and/or sex marker on ID in Ontario?
- How do I legally change my name on a birth certificate in Ontario?
- How do I legally change my name or sex designation on my Ontario Driver’s License or Ontario Photo Card?
- I’m a health care provider. What do I need to know to support a client making changes to their ID?
- How do I change my name or sex designation on my OHIP card?
Mental health 5 Articles
While seeing a mental health provider is no longer required in order to access hormones, many trans and gender-diverse folks choose to access mental health supports at various points in their lives. For example, a counsellor may help you navigate things such as: further exploring your gender, encountering and handling discrimination, managing stress and anxiety you may be feeling about coming out to friends and family, or any other mental health needs you might have that are not connected to your gender.
- How do I find the right counsellor for me?
- Where can I get free counselling?
- I can afford to pay for some or all of my counselling. Where should I look?
- Why is a diagnosis of gender dysphoria relevant?
- How can having a mental health diagnosis other than gender dysphoria affect my care?
Transitioning at work 2 Articles
Although Rainbow Health Ontario does not have a specific transitioning at work guide, there are a number of guides which have been produced to support both people transitioning and their colleagues. It’s important to remember that you are in charge of your transition. Only you have the authority to say what accommodations will be best for you at your place of work.
- Where can I find resources for transitioning at work?
- I’m a sex worker. Will coming out as trans affect my work?