Congratulations for embarking on your transition journey. The answers to your questions have been discussed by many professionals over the years. The first widely used guidelines for the treatment of Transsexuals were put forward by Dr. Harry Benjamin, a German endocrinologist during the 60s. These guidelines have now been modified and are called the WPATH guidelines. (WPATH= world professional association for transsexual health). You can check out their website here: http://wpath.org/
After consulting the guidelines, I have found the current agreed upon answers to your questions:
1) There are three eligibility criteria for hormone administration. I have copy and pasted them below.
The short answer is that in order to get the prescription, you need to have had either psychotherapy OR real life experience.
Eligibility Criteria. The administration of hormones is not to be lightly undertaken because of their medical and social risks. Three criteria exist.
1. Age 18 years;
2. Demonstrable knowledge of what hormones medically can and cannot do and their social benefits and risks;
a. A documented real-life experience of at least three months [living as your chosen gender] prior to the administration of hormones; or
b. A period of psychotherapy of a duration specified by the mental health professional after the initial evaluation (usually a minimum of three months)
2) There are also criteria for readiness. These are also copy and pasted.
Readiness Criteria. Three criteria exist:
1. The patient has had further consolidation of gender identity during the real-life experience or psychotherapy;
2. The patient has made some progress in mastering other identified problems leading to improving or continuing stable mental health (this implies satisfactory control of problems such as sociopathy, substance abuse, psychosis and suicidality;
3. The patient is likely to take hormones in a responsible manner.
Essentially, your first step would be to talk to a psychologist or other health professional who specializes in transsexuality. WPATH may help you to locate someone who would be appropriate in your area. With them, you can explore the feelings you have been having and establish a supportive relationship which you can maintain throughout your transition.
Best of luck, and if you have more questions, feel free to write back.