Gender Identity Service
Located in - leeds
- About the Service
The Leeds Gender Identity Service offers assessment and support to people aged 18 and above with Gender Dysphoria.
Gender Dysphoria is a condition where a person experiences discomfort or distress because there’s a mismatch between their biological sex and gender identity. It’s sometimes known as gender incongruence. You can find out more about this on the NHS website.
Our team will complete a full assessment of people referred to us which includes looking at mental, social and physical health.
Once the assessment stages have been completed and you have a diagnosis, and you are ready to move forward with treatment, we can start you on our care pathway.
The care pathway includes a prescribing clinic that can start hormone treatment. We can refer individuals to voice and communication therapy, discuss surgical opinions and gender reassignment surgery as appropriate.
You can find out more by expanding the different sections on this web page.
Kerry’s gender identity journey – a service user story
When Kerry Bayley first visited the Gender Identity Service in August 2014, she despaired for her life. When we spoke to her three years later, she was happier than ever. In this short video Kerry bravely shares her journey and talks about the support she received from us. We are most grateful to her for allowing us to do this.
- Our Care Pathway - what to expect
Our care pathway is quite complicated so we’ve tried to capture it all simply in this document.
You can also watch this short video which summarises it.
- Waiting times explained
Our clinic is in high demand nationally and we receive a lot more referrals per month than we are funded to provide. To give you an idea, we are funded to support 27 referrals per month but we actually receive over 100.
We know this is far from ideal for people and we’re sorry for any anxiety this may cause. We’re doing all we can to get to grips with this, working with our NHS commissioners nationally who are currently working on a new national service specification.
In the meantime, we’ve published some information called ‘other sources of help’ for people who are either struggling with gender identity issues or might be on our waiting list, further down this page.
It currently takes between three to four years from initial referral to complete our care pathway. The following is a broad overview of our gender identity care pathway. Please note it is an estimate guide, there are many factors that could affect this and it will not be the same for everyone.
- Initial screening is currently taking place approximately 10 weeks after a referral is received from a person’s GP
- The first assessment with the lead professional is currently taking place approximately 25-26 months from the date of initial referral
- Then, there is currently a 15-16 month wait for an ‘end of assessment’ medical opinion and diagnosis.
- The current waiting time for the hormone clinic is approximately 14-16 months after diagnosis.
The Trust takes the issue of waiting times very seriously. The Leeds Gender Identity Service waiting times are currently reported to our Trust Board in the Combined Quality Performance Reports.
Waiting time information last updated: 3 April 2019
- Other sources of help
Help from support groups can be a valuable source of information, and also often provides opportunities to socialise with like-minded people. Local libraries and Citizens Advice Bureaus may have information and contact details for other organisations.
The internet can be a massive support to people in the shape of forums, blogs, information sharing and resources. Support from family and friends is also valuable, and some of our former clients are willing to offer occasional support to other transgendered people.
Introducing Jamie and Sophie – our Gender ID Outreach Workers
The Leeds Gender Identity Service has two Gender Outreach Workers, Jamie and Sophie, who are based at the community organisation Yorkshire Mesmac* in Leeds. Jamie and Sophie provide one to one appointments, drop in sessions, support groups and social groups for people across the Leeds, Bradford, Wakefield and York area.
You can connect with them on Facebook
Or you can follow Sophie on Twitter
One to one support sessions
Sophie and Jamie can offer one to one sessions whilst you’re on the waiting list at Leeds Gender Identity Service. You can ask them questions and seek advice whilst you wait for your assessment. They’ll do their best to signpost and provide you with the information and support you feel you need, and help you to move towards your goals.
Their drop-in sessions are friendly and open. You’re welcome to pop by and ask questions or discuss issues that interest or worry you. They’re not counsellors but sometimes it just helps to talk to someone who knows where you’re at. Drop-ins are good if you have just one or two questions or just want to have a quick chat.
Support and social groups
Their support and social groups are an informal and friendly way to meet and socialise with other trans and non-binary people. Everyone has a story to tell and by listening and maybe sharing you’ll gain lots of insights, know-how and support from people who understand how you might be feeling.
Latest event: Trans and Non-Binary Mondays @ Yorkshire MESMAC – every third Monday at 22 Blayds Yard, Leeds LS1 4AD. Find out more on Sophie’s Facebook page.
Contact our Gender Outreach Workers
You can contact our Gender Outreach Workers on
Tel: 0113 2444209
The TranzWiki Directory
If you’re based outside West Yorkshire or looking for something a bit further afield, check out the TranzWiki Directory, a comprehensive directory of the groups campaigning for, supporting or assisting trans and gender non-conforming individuals, including those who are non-binary and non-gender, as well as their families across the UK. Visit www.tranzwiki.net
What is MESMAC*?
Yorkshire MESMAC is one of the oldest and largest sexual health organisations in the country. They offer services to various communities including men who have sex with men, BME people, people misusing drugs, sex workers and LGBT+ and questioning young people and adults and various support for trans people.
They have bases in Leeds, York, Northallerton, Bradford, Wakefield, Rotherham and Hull. They also run a number of LGBT groups across the Yorkshire region. Visit www.mesmac.co.uk to find out more about them.
- Frequently Asked Questions
We get a lot of people making enquiries about transgender issues and we sometimes struggle to answer all of these. Therefore we’ve compiled a list of common questions we get from people like yourself and some responses, we hope they are helpful.
Q. If I’ve got to wait a long time to get a prescription for hormones, should I buy them online?
A. We would recommend waiting to see our specialist hormone prescribers. They will discuss with you the risks, side effects and benefits of hormone treatment, and will tailor your treatment to your specific needs. You should have blood tests prior to starting hormones, and also regular monitoring blood tests whilst taking hormones. There are potentially life-threatening risks associated with hormone treatment – be aware of these and how to minimise the risks before you start taking hormones.
Drugs bought online can vary enormously in quality and safety. Our hormone specialists prescribe in accordance with the Endocrine Society Guidelines.
Q. How do I change my name?
A. If you’re transgender and you want to change your name, you’ll need to change your name by deed poll. This can be done for free – simply search free UK deed poll online.
If you’re non-binary and you want to change your name, you’ll also need to change your name by deed poll. However, bear in mind that UK law currently only recognises two legal genders (male and female).
If you haven’t been issued a Gender Recognition Certificate
If you haven’t been issued with a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC) then you’ll need to change your name by deed poll. In fact, changing your name could be an important step in proving that you’re living in your new gender, before applying for a GRC.
A deed poll will be enough to change your name in your passport. However, if you want your passport to be in your new gender as well, HM Passport Office will need to see:
- your deed poll, showing that you’ve changed your name to one that’s associated with your new gender
- medical evidence showing that your change of gender is “likely to be permanent”. This can be a letter or report from a medical practitioner (such as your consultant or GP), or a chartered psychologist practising in the field of gender dysphoria.
You don’t need a GRC to have your passport updated to show your new gender, and you don’t need to have had gender reassignment surgery.
Please note that changing your passport (or other records) to be in your new name and gender doesn’t give any legal recognition to your change of gender. It’s merely recognition by those record holders that you’ve adopted a new identity. However it does provide supporting evidence to the Gender Recognition Panel (and other record holders) that you’re living in your new gender.
If you want to change your title you don’t need a deed poll. You’re free to use any social title unless it is a restricted title (Princess, HRH, Sir, Lord etc.) and, assuming the new title is part of a change of gender, you simply need to inform record holders of the new title. The important matter is your change of gender. HM Passport Office for example doesn’t list social titles in passports at all, it isn’t considered to be a legal part of your name.
You can use any name or title unless it is to “obtain good or services by deception”.
It’s important that if you change your title or name, you shouldn’t deceive anyone as to your birth gender in order to gain a financial advantage as this would be considered fraud. Once you’ve been issued a GRC you’re under no such obligation and your birth gender is legally considered to be your new gender.
If you’ve been issued a Gender Recognition Certificate
If you’ve been issued a full GRC, then this will be sufficient evidence of your change of name (and gender, for passport purposes), and you won’t need a deed poll.
If you’ve been issued an interim GRC, then it’ll likewise still be sufficient evidence of your change of name (and gender, for passport purposes) — you won’t need a deed poll.
If your interim GRC has expired (i.e. after six months) and you haven’t been issued a full GRC because your marriage hasn’t been dissolved, HM Passport Office may still accept this as sufficient evidence of your changed name and new gender, because the important point is that you should be living in your new identity for all purposes, not that you’ve been issued a GRC. However, you should check this first with HM Passport Office.
If you’ve been issued a new birth certificate
If you’ve been issued with a new birth certificate, then this is proof of your name change and new gender, for all purposes — you don’t need a deed poll.
Q. How do I change my name on my passport?
A. Once you have a diagnosis of gender dysphoria, we can provide you with a letter to use to change your gender on your passport (see also ‘How do I change my name?)
Q. How do I get a gender recognition certificate?
A. Mermaids and GIRES have written excellent guides to this.
Q. What services do you provide on the NHS?
A. Hormone treatment, facial hair removal, genital hair removal prior to surgery, voice coaching, speech and language therapy and psychological support.
Q. What services do you NOT provide on the NHS?
A. Breast implants, breast augmentation, voice/laryngeal surgery, facial feminisation surgery.
Q. Can I claim back my travel expenses?
A. You can claim help with the cost of travel if you are on a low income and have made an additional journey to the Leeds Gender Clinic. We can help you with this when you attend for your appointment – ask your Lead Professional.
Q. Who can refer me to the Gender Clinic?
A. Your GP can refer you. There is a GP referral form for them to complete in the “How to refer to the Leeds Gender Identity Service – Information for Professionals” section of this page.
Q. What can I do whilst I wait to be seen?
A. Lots! You can start your social gender transition at any time and you do not need a diagnosis of gender dysphoria to do this. Some people call this ‘coming out’. Your Lead Professional and our support workers can offer advice on this.
There is also a lot of online information about how to do this. Changing your name and pronouns is one way to start. For other people, it’s about getting the right clothes. It is important you do this at your own pace and in a way that you find comfortable. Check out the section called ‘Other Sources of Help’.
Q. Do I have to dress a certain way?
A. Dress how you feel comfortable. Your appearance will not have a bearing on the outcome of your assessments. Wear whatever you feel comfortable wearing. However, it is an opportunity to dress as your preferred gender. We have changing areas onsite if you wish to arrive early and get changed in time for your appointments.
Q. What do I do if I can’t get to my appointment?
A. It’s very important you let us know as soon as possible by calling us on 0113 8556346 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are more than 15 minutes late for your appointment you will not be seen. This is because your appointments take one hour, and each patient is booked on the hour, every hour. It is not safe to do an assessment in less than one hour, especially given the life-changing treatments on the care pathway.
Q. I have mental health problems. Can I still be seen and treated by the Gender Identity Clinic?
A. Yes. We do require that you are engaging with treatment and that you have been stable for a reasonable period of time. This is again to keep you safe, and ensure that you are able to understand and consent to the life-changing treatments on the care pathway. We have psychologists working within the team who are specialists in gender dysphoria and who are experienced in treating transgender people.
Q. How long does it take to transition?
A. Your physical transition can start with hormone therapy but it doesn’t always. Hormone therapy is not a requirement for chest surgery, for example. Hormone therapy can take up to two years (sometimes longer) to reach its maximum effect. Some surgeons prefer that you have reached this stage but the guidelines for having lower surgery are that you have been on monitored hormone treatment for at least 12 months. Given current NHS waiting times, it is likely that your transition will take 4-5 years.
Q. What can I expect at my first visit to the clinic?
A. Your screening appointment will involve a lot of detailed questions about your life story, particularly relating to your gender. This will involve some personal questions about your body, your sexuality, and your feelings. You will also be asked about your mental and physical health, and your medication. It is important we have a full picture of you as a person in order to make tailored recommendations for your ongoing treatment. All the information you give is confidential.
Questions and answers last updated: 26 February 2019
- Who we are – our team
We’re a diverse bunch at the Leeds Gender Identity Service. Our team consists of:
Consultant Clinical Psychologist (who is also the Service’s Clinical Lead) and, like the Consultant Psychiatrist, assess for a diagnosis of Gender Dysphoria and eligibility to progress on to the care pathway. In addition, opinions for surgery are also provided by them.
Consultant psychiatrists who assess for the diagnosis of Gender Dysphoria and the readiness and eligibility to progress on to the care pathway. They also provide the medical opinions for surgery as appropriate.
Two consultant endocrinologists (doctors that specialise in hormone treatment) that hold a combined clinic for individuals alongside the doctor with a specialist interest in this area.
A doctor with special interest in endocrinology, who is responsible for the running of the prescribing clinic. The doctor sees clients referred for hormone treatment initially for assessment and if all is well will initiate hormone treatment. The service requests that blood tests are completed by the GP practice to ensure safe prescribing can occur. Once an individual’s hormone levels are stable, the client will be transferred to their GP for continued hormone prescription.
Our pharmacist works alongside the prescribing clinic providing support when needed and sees individuals on a one to one basis for counselling in relation to hormone treatment. The pharmacist also has a non-medical prescribing role, seeing individuals in the prescribing clinic for the initiation of hormone treatment. It would be expected that the individual’s GP would take over this role once hormone levels are stable.
Clinical nurses who see clients through the assessment process and act in the role as lead professional to those clients moving into the care pathway. Some of our clinical nurses also prescribe medication.
A voice group facilitator to help support individuals using their voice in a way which will provide individuals with confidence.
A speech and language therapist who provides one-to-one voice and communication therapy sessions to help you to develop your best authentic voice and with communication to use in ways that fit you.
- How to refer to the Leeds Gender Identity Service - Information for Professionals
All requests for referral must come via your GP. This shows the GP is in support of their client accessing our specialist service and shows commitment to shared care arrangements for hormone treatment.
Download a copy of our Gender Identity Service referral form.
GPs should email completed referral forms to email@example.com.
- Information for GPs on hormone prescribing
We are currently developing detailed guidelines on hormone prescribing. In the meantime, here are a few useful links:
- The GMC’s Trans healthcare page with guidance on prescribing
- The GMC’s Trans healthcare page with guidance on mental health support and bridging prescriptions
- The Royal College of Psychiatrists’ Good practice guidelines for the assessment and treatment of adults with gender dysphoria published October 2013.
- Students, placements and training opportunities
The Leeds Gender Identity Clinic has students and health care professionals who attend to gain experience and knowledge about the service. Unfortunately we are limited as to how many health care professionals can access the service due to capacity and time available.
We have an established relationship with a number of universities in Leeds and York and have allocated placements each year for occupational therapy students, nursing students and medical students.
If you are part of a healthcare professional body and would like the opportunity to spend a day with the service we would ask that your course tutor or professional manager write to our service outlining the reasons for your visit and the benefits you will gain. We will try to accommodate day visits where appropriate however this may not always be possible.
If you are interested please email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Get in touch
The Leeds Gender Identity Service is based at The Newsam Centre and can be contacted by:
Calling 0113 8556346
Please note this number is answered between 10am and 12noon, and 2-4pm Monday to Friday. Unfortunately we are unable to respond to voicemail messages.
By email at email@example.com
We will aim to respond to relevant queries within five working days.