Tranzicia.org: New Website About Gender Transition in Slovakia
This is English translation of the interview done by Petra Kmecova and published on duhy.sk. A few minor updates were applied.
If you have a whirlwind of questions about gender transition and you have no idea how to start the process or where to find answers to the questions that you might have, TRANZICIA.ORG is the place for you. Here, you will find everything under one roof.
You probably already know the author of the project tranzicia.org - Ben. You might be familiar with him as the author of multiple articles on the portal "Duhy.sk" or you might have read his story featured in the series called "SOM" by Iniciativa Inakost. Project "SOM" brought stories of 10 transgender people in Slovakia in order to raise awareness about the lives and issues of trans people. How did the website tranzicia.org come to life and what was the motivation behind will be revealed in this interview with its creator - Ben.
Q: Will you tell us something about yourself? Who are you and what do you do for living?
A: I am a 38-year old trans man from Senec. I am a HR data analyst by day and an artist by night. In the future I would love to work in the area of diversity and inclusion. From the age of 16 I've had many creative hobbies such as writing poetry, photography, drawing and playing drums. Nowadays I have added to these hobbies also blogging, writing short stories and LGBT+ articles. I have the desire to bring awareness about lives and struggles of transgender people in Slovakia. I would also like to be sort of a "big brother" for other trans people, which are considering coming out or transitioning.
Q: Please introduce the website TRANZICIA.ORG. What can people find there and who is it for?
A: Website is meant for everybody who is interested in the process of gender transition in Slovakia. It should be a help guide for people which are undergoing the process and also an educational tool for their friends and family. (comment: the website is in Slovak language, but if you are a person who needs information in English, don't hesitate to contact me at email@example.com).
You can find here a short overview of the process, what you should count with, which steps you will need to follow during transition. The beginnings are difficult and people usually don't know where to start. Therefore I have included a section talking about where to start and who to contact. This part contains a list of doctors (psychiatrists/sexologists), which are supporting trans people during their transition. For practical reasons I have featured also doctors from Czech republic.
As a next topic, the website informs about all mandatory doctor exams that you have to undergo before being approved for hormone therapy. The most searched topic is hormonal treatment itself. In this section you will find what you need before you can start HRT. For those who want to undergo surgical or beauty procedures, I have created a section with procedures for men (FTM) and procedures for women (MTF). All above mentioned sections have a list of medical centers and medical professionals with their contact information.
Last, but not least, the website provides information about legal change of name and legal change of gender. Additionally you can find here useful information about where to buy a binder, how to deal with school diplomas after change of name/gender, information about trans friendly schools, etc.
Q: What motivated you to create this website?
A: I myself am undergoing the gender change process and I know how difficult it is to get access to all needed information and to find all the right doctors. What the online space was missing was a list of doctors which are treating transgender people. It is difficult to maintain such information as it is constantly changing. I told myself that I accept this challenge and I have created this website. My vision was to have everything under one roof, i.e. one place where people can find not only general information, but also most up to date list of medical centers and medical professionals, which will be constantly refreshed based on actual data from trans people.
Q: What was the source of information?
A: I am in constant contact with the transgender community, which allows me to have access to the most up to date information regarding doctors and processes. I have received a lot of information from organizations such as InPoradna and Prizma Kosice. This has created a solid foundation for the website. Further information was obtained directly from trans people, which are undergoing or already underwent the transition process. As I am myself going through transition, some information I have first hand from my own experiences. I would like to thank everybody who participated in sharing their knowledge. I am very grateful for the support.
Q: The website provides really a lot of information. How long did it take you to put all of this together?
A: It took me ca. 3 months. I did all of this in my free time after working hours or during weekends. Of course initial creation is not the end. I maintain the website regularly. As soon as I receive new information, I update the sections where applicable.
Q: What was the biggest challenge of this project?
A: For me the biggest challenge was to put together the section for trans women. I am a trans guy and of course I know a lot about FTM transition. When compiling the MTF section I learned a lot about the procedures women go through and I had no idea before.
Q: What are your next plans with the project?
A: Currently I would like to spread the word about the website so that it can fulfill its main function - to inform. Later I can add more sections for example about dos and don't dos, how to best support trans people. I received feedback that people would like to have a section with doctor ratings. If I am able to collect the data, I will be happy to add this. I also would like to start a blog which could contain besides other things interviews with other transgender people or even medical professionals.
If you have any questions for Ben, or transition related questions, or you would like to provide some further information which could be featured on his website, feel free to contact Ben via the contact form on the website or directly by writing an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.