Thank you for your message. The thing is, transitioning can mean different things, and take wildly different steps, for lots of different people 🙂 Generally speaking, there are 3 main categories of transition : social, legal and medical, so I’ll try to briefly cover those, but if you have more specific questions about any of them, feel free to ask!
Social transition refers to the way you present yourself to the world, it can be things like clothes, accessories, makeup, haircut and color, body or facial hair, perfume, voice, walk style, name, pronouns, etc. Again, lots of diversity here! There is not exactly a single path or set of steps you can follow to show who you truly are, it depends entirely on your own goals and desires.
Now, legal transition is somewhat more straightforward. It means making changes to your official documents, namely your name and/or gender marker. It can be for government-issued documents, like your health insurance card, birth certificate, driving license, passport and voting information, but also things like rent/lease, job contracts, school platforms, personal insurance, accounts (NetflIx, Steam, electricity, phone, internet), membership cards, etc. It’s a lot to remember and it could be helpful to make a list of all of the places where you need to make changes.
Making changes with the government (either name, gender marker, or both) is often a first step required for the later. It requires filling out a form, having the citizenship (not just permanent residency, at least at the moment), a justification (saying that you are trans, that your new name corresponds to your gender and this change will alleviate your gender dysphoria should be enough), a proof (a signed and dated testimony from a person or a professional you know), getting the form sworn in by a commissioner of oaths (you can look for one at community organisations like Project 10) and finally pay the fees of 140$. Even after doing all of this and submitting a complete application, the Directeur de l’État civil can take several months, up to a year, to answer. Currently, there are only two gender markers available, F or M, but this should change by the end of the year.
Medical transition is hormones (which can have a varying impact on facial and body hair, body shape, muscle tone, skin texture, periods, voice, body odor etc.) and surgeries (to add, remove or reconstruct breasts/a torso, a penis or a vulva).
For trans-affirmative surgeries in Québec, the GrS in Montréal is probably your best bet. You can contact them and they will provide you with the forms required. Before a major surgery, a doctor has to do a medical checkup to see if you are in good health and ready for surgery and if you understand the risks, possible complications and healing process. Oftentimes, a letter from a mental health professional confirming a gender dysphoria diagnosis and ability to consent is required. On their website you can also find a FAQ, testimonials and more information about the various types of surgeries they offer. Genital (bottom) and breast/torso (top) surgeries are covered by the RAMQ, but other additional surgeries like vocal chords or Adam’s apple surgeries are not. It is worth noting that most surgeries will require a recovery period afterwards, which oftentime involves not being able to work.
Now as for hormones, the basic gist is to get a medical practitioner, like a family doctor or an endocrinologist, to write you a prescription, most (but not all) of them will also require a letter from a mental health professional. You can find more details and explanations in this document from the Center for gender advocacy as well as their updated list of healthcare professionals working with trans folks. ASTTeQ also has a very in-depth page on hormones and how to access them. Finally, Project 10 coordinates a network of trans health resources, you can access their excel file of trans-friendly services, and contact their trans activities coordinator, Syanna (she/her), at firstname.lastname@example.org.
These are just some of the general transition trajectories, I could’ve gone into more details, but if anything still seems unclear or you don’t know where to go next, you can always ask us or one of the community organizations I mentioned, the Center for gender advocacy, Project 10, ASTTeQ.
Good luck! And take care,
Maxime, intervention worker for AlterHeros
Iel/they/them, accords neutres