I'm here for someone I am supporting

Chain of paper people in pride colours on grass

The information on this page is for people supporting an adult who is questioning or has changed their gender identity. We also encourage you to explore the other pages of the Suffolk Identity Hub as they may contain information you will find interesting and useful.

This page gives ADULT service user information.  Information for children and young people can be found via The Source. We've had to split the information this way as there are often different health needs and routes to services depending on whether you are a child, young person, or adult. 

What is gender identity?


Gender identity is the way we all identify ourselves, typically as a boy/man or as a girl/woman. However, thinking of gender in this way, as simply male and female, assumes that a person’s sense of identity will match their physical appearance as either a male or female; but this is not always the case.

For some the sex they were given at birth doesn't match the way they experience their gender. People have the right to self-identify, and many people reject the whole idea of male and female tick-boxes, and describe themselves using more open terms.

Thinking of gender as a spectrum, with masculine and feminine as two points at each end, can be a more helpful way of thinking about gender, as it includes people who permanently change their gender or who experience it as a blend of masculine and feminine, or something ‘fluid’ which shifts.  More information can be found here.

It is also useful to know about the different words people use to describe themselves in relation to gender; GIRES terminology resources  provide some useful information on the types of labels people are using.

You can also find further information on different aspects of gender and how we can make sense of it at Gender Spectrum.



What is being Transgender?


Transgender or 'trans' are terms used to describe anyone who identifies with a gender which is different to the sex they were given at birth.  Because the way we experience gender is different from person to person, transgender is used all inclusively to describe both people who permanently change their gender role (with and without surgery), and those who may have a more fluid and changing experience of gender.

Gender terminology is varied and constantly changing as understanding and perceptions of gender variance grows. GIRES terminology resources provide more information on terminology.

It may also be useful to visit the Transvision site which shares the stories of people from the LGBT community in Scotland.

Supporting someone who is transgender


Supporting someone who is transgender can be difficult, as you may not have been in a situation where you have had to understand a gender identity which is different from the norm. However, it is important to remember that this is just as difficult for the person questioning their gender identity, and can be hard for them to go through that journey alone.

Resources have been created to help answer some of the questions you may have, and which draw on other people's experiences to provide some useful tips for how you can best support somebody who is transgender.

The Stonewall website provides a helpful description of what it is like to tell people about your gender identity. GLAAD also provide some tips for allies of transgender people which can help you to manage some of the situations you may encounter whilst supporting someone who is transgender.


Where can someone go if they need to talk?


National Organisations

The Beaumont Society is a national organisation run by people from the transgender community. One of their aims is to offer support and resources to improve the health, wellbeing and emotional confidence of others in the community. The Gender Trust provide advice on all types of gender issues including transgender. Gendered Intelligence works with young adults up to the age of 21.

The type of support someone is looking for may vary depending on whether they are a trans-man (born as a woman but identify as a man) or trans- woman (born as a man but identify as a woman) and the stage they are at in exploring and transitioning. 

Beaumont Partners is a volunteer resource run by the wives and partners of trans people who provide confidential support and extend the hand of friendship to other women who have discovered that their partners are transgender.

Crossdreamers provides resources for partners of Transgender people

Talking to a Professional

At some point in their journey, the person you are supporting may want to talk to their GP about the medical side of their care. They are usually the first point of call if someone is thinking about having any treatments such as hormone therapy or surgery.

Although awareness of trans and non-binary health issues has increased, some GPs may not have much experience. NHS Choices has useful links and resources to help you have this conversation. The NHS have produced a Guidance for GPs, other clinicians and health professionals on the care of gender variant people your GP may find useful.

Two phones and the word support


Where can someone at a point of crisis get help?

If you find yourself supporting someone at a point of crisis the Samaritans provide a free 24-hour telephone service which operates 365 days a year.

The Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust (NSFT)  provide local mental health NHS crisis support.

MindOut support LGBTQ people struggling with social isolation, suicidal distress, financial hardship, discrimination and prejudice, hate crime and exclusion.

Hate crime can be reported via the Suffolk Police or True Vision.

Mindline Trans+ - is a volunteer helpline operating across England and Wales staffed by individuals identifying as trans. The link gives more information including operating times.

If the person you are supporting is experiencing abuse in a relationship Galop an anti-violence and abuse charity offers support to members of the LGBT community.

Samaritans branding and phone number 116 123

What's out there to support transgender health?

Health support to transition

Nationally, there are specialist clinics called gender identity clinics (GIC) where people can go for support to transition in their gender roles. In Suffolk, the GIC service is provided by the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation TrustThis specialist service is commissioned by NHS England, click to find out about the clinical reference group and the latest on consultations and guidance.

The individual will need to go through their GP to get a referral to the GIC, and will need to be at least 17 years and 6 months old to access the adult service.

Information about the referral processservices and support offered by the GIC can be found by clicking these links.

The General Medical Council provides advice to doctors (GP and hospital) on treating patients who identify as trans, including treatment pathways , prescribing and ethical obligations. Accessing these links may help understand what to expect.

Supported by GIRES  and Press for Change, the Royal College of Psychiatrists  has produced good practice guidelines on how health professionals can work collaboratively to improve the outcomes of their patients.

In September 2018 the NHS published the outcome of the 2017 consultation for national gender dysphoria services (2018).


Mental health

The Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust  provide local NHS mental health support for Suffolk residents. 

If you feel somebody is experiencing poor metal health or wellbeing, The Suffolk Wellbeing Service (for those living in East and West Suffolk) and the Norfolk and Waveney Wellbeing Service (for those living in Waveney) offer a range of free support services.

The services offered include:

  • Stress control and wellbeing workshops
  • Telephone support
  • Short term therapy
  • One to one counselling

There is also more tailored support available from organisations such as Mind mental health charity who now host a Trans+ support group, as well as the local Suffolk LGBT+ network who offer a free confidential counselling service, as well as a helpline and peer support groups.

Metro Charity is a London based organisation that offers mental-health advocacy for the LGBT community. 


NHS screening programmes

The NHS population screening information for transgender and non-binary people website provides an overview of the national screening programmes and indicates which are available, where an automatic invite will be issued and where requests can be made. 

The four screening programmes are, breast screening, cervical screening, abdominal aortic aneurysm screening (AAA) and bowel cancer screening.

National screening guidance can be accessed here and was last updated May 2019.


Sexual health

Sexual health is an important part of healthy relationships. In Suffolk, there are specific services which can help people to maintain good sexual health. Information on these services can be found on our sexual health page.

Below is also some useful information which can help you to understand some of the specific aspects of sexual health for people who identify as transgender:



What support is available locally?​

Local support is provided by the following organisations:

  • Evolve Trans - Service for adults who are at any point of their transitioning journey, from summer 2019 being provided by Suffolk Mind
  • Gender Xplored Suffolk’s LGBT over 18 network
  • Outreach Youth working with children and young adults up to the age of 19 (trans family support offered)
  • Phoenix Rising CiC enabling people, through education, the freedom to live their own life as they want to live it
  • Suffolk LGBTQ Forum was founded in 1988 and evolved from the Suffolk LGB&T Network in 2018 & Suffolk Gay and Lesbian Helpline in 2010 (over 16yrs only). Their fundamental aim is to combat sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination
  • The Health Outreach Service can provide targeted support through their marginalised adults offer for trans individuals who are also one of the priority groups the service works with . An information leaflet and referral form can be accessed through these links.

The following organisations can support carers and those supporting someone who is transgender: 

  • Outreach Youth working locally with children and young adults up to the age of 19 (family support is also offered parents and carers of children and young people who identify as transgender)
  • Although Mermaids supports young people nationally there is also an online community for parents/carers

Support written on wooden scrabble blocks

Local events of interest to the transgender and non-binary community:

Suffolk Pride is an annual countywide event that celebrates LGBTQ+ equality and diversity

Watch out for details of the 2020 Pride event

Suffolk Pride flag


Where can I find information on transgender rights?

What the law and legislation says


Press for Change  provides information on the law and how it relates to people identifying as transgender including summaries of the, Human Rights Act 1998,  the Gender Recognition Act 2004 (including applying for legal recognition for a person’s preferred gender)  and the Equalities Act 2010.

Full copies of Government legislation

The UK Parliament Commons Committee Women and Equalities Committee has produced several reports related to transgender including The Transgender Equality Report (Nov 2016).

Parliamentary Research briefings including guidelines for the Treatment of Transgender Prisoners (Nov 2016).

Equalities Office - dress code and sex discrimination guidance (May 2018).

HM Land Registry change of name form to update the registered owner where change of gender has taken place.

HM Government- National LGBT Survey: research report; LGBTAction Plan 2018: improving the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people; Improving LGBT Lives: government action since 2010 (all July 2018).


What organisations are saying about transgender health needs

Several organisations have produced reports or policies on how the health needs of the transgender community are being experienced or responded to:

Gavel and block


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Last Updated: November 2019
Next Review: January 2020