Gay London Life’s Trans Editor, Jacqui Devon, shines a light on some of the crucial healthcare provisions available for the capital’s trans community
It might be the fact I’m touching 30 after a long stint on the London scene, the imminent need for me to look after myself ahead of an upcoming gender-affirming surgery, or that the global pandemic has forced us all to think about our wellbeing in some way or other, but for my first article, I wanted to focus on transgender healthcare in the UK.
When we read about healthcare for the trans community, it’s often on an Instagram info post focused on the underperforming NHS – the five-year wait times for GIC appointments and the urgent need for action. However, there are a few amazing things happening in London that are definitely worth promoting and talking about. One of them is most definitely TransPlus at 56 Dean Street. The chances are, if you’re reading this magazine, you’ve most likely been there for a swab but for some strange reason, a lot of trans people don’t know that there’s also an incredible pilot service that aims to bridge the gap and offer a solution to the nightmarishly long waitlist.
Led by an incredible team, including gender specialist Dr John Dean, Dr Karen Gurney, Dr Tara Suchuk and Aedan Wolton, TransPlus has been offering this pilot service since September last year. Just over a year on, they’ve already made an impact in our ever-growing community of people in need of support with starting or continuing their own gender pathway safely.
So what’s really going down behind the door of TransPlus, I hear you say? Well for most trans people in the UK, a large part of your transition is a self-reliant journey of discovery and expression, from changing your name to hustling for personal gender-affirming surgeries. There’s a lot of things we can be getting on with to find peace within ourselves but there’s also a lot we cannot – that’s where TransPlus comes in.
The service itself is aimed at offering a solution to these long NHS wait times and offers services including assessment and diagnosis for Gender Dysphoria, hormone therapy and voice therapy. As well as this, they also offer referrals for people who are looking to have surgeries to complete or continue their transitions. As someone who’s been on this journey for an awfully long time now, let me say that this is bloody fantastic!
There are some requirements though. To ensure that this is a safe service, you have to be over the age of 17, been registered with 56 Dean Street as a service user before April this year (You should be anyway love, you should be getting testing!), and have to already be on the ridiculously long NHS waiting list awaiting your first appointment – then you could be eligible to register. And if you’re not, get in contact with them anyway to see because who knows, these goal posts could be subject to change.
Alongside that, 56 Dean Street is a great place to get acquainted with as they also run 56T on Wednesdays, which offers exceptional services for the trans community. It runs from 4.30-7 pm and offers an array of sexual health services, blood work, and even I’ve had some life-changing counseling there in the rocky parts of my life and am not afraid to admit it! I will warn you though, the waiting room can be an eclectic mix of people so if you’re planning on going, go with a friend, throw a look and definitely head out for a drink after because, well why on earth not? You’re in Soho!
For more information on this incredible service, check out: www.wearetransplus.co.uk and for more information on sexual health for the T in the alphabet mafia check out www.dean.st/trans-non-binary/ and enjoy the rest of our first issue!
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