Publication Date: 
June 17, 2016

Introduction to the guidelines

UCSF Transgender Care at the University of California - San Francisco is proud to present these Guidelines for the Primary and Gender-Affirming Care of Transgender and Gender Nonbinary People. Transgender people have a gender identity that differs from the sex which they were assigned at birth, and are estimated to represent 0.5% of the U.S. population.[1] Numerous needs assessments have demonstrated that transgender people encounter a range of barriers to accessing primary health care. A 2006 survey of more than 600 transgender people in California found that 30% postponed seeking medical care due to prior disrespect or discrimination, and that 10% were primary care outright.[2] The 2011 National Transgender Discrimination Survey of more than 6000 transgender people in all 50 U.S. states found several noteworthy disparities, including 28% who delayed care due to past discrimination and 19% who were denied care outright. Most alarmingly, 50% of respondents reported having to teach their providers about their own healthcare.[3]

These guidelines aim to address these disparities by equipping primary care providers and health systems with the tools and knowledge to meet the health care needs of their transgender and gender nonconforming patients. These guidelines expand on the original UCSF Primary Care Protocol for Transgender Care, which since its launch in 2011 has served thousands of providers and policymakers across the U.S. and around the world; the page on hormone administration alone received more than 5000 visitors in the month of November, 2015. These Guidelines complement the existing World Professional Association for Transgender Health Standards of Care and the Endocrine Society Guidelines in that they are specifically designed for implementation in every day evidence-based primary care, including settings with limited resources.[4,5]

The overall structure and list of topics for inclusion were developed in consultation with a Medical Advisory Board (MAB), a diverse group of expert clinicians from a variety of academic and community based settings. Also contributing to the overall design and structure was a review of the range of consultation requests received since the 2011 launch of the original Protocol. The guidelines were then written using an authorship – peer review approach. Primary authors from both within and outside the MAB were invited for individual topics, after which a peer review and modified consensus process was used to arrive at the final guidelines presented here. The diverse authorship allows the development of a broadly applicable document, rather than one that solely reflects the practice at a single academic medical center, such as UCSF.

These guidelines would not be possible without the contributions of our Medical Advisory Board and other authors and reviewers, as well as the support of JoAnne Keatley, MSW and E. Michael Reyes, MD, MPH, as well as Lissa Moran who assisted immensely with literature reviews, bibliography management, version control, copy editing, formatting, and compiling peer reviewer comments. Ben Zovod also assisted with literature reviews, bibliography management, and compiling peer reviewer comments. Their dedication and hours of hard work has resulted in a final product that is relevant, broadly applicable, evidence based, and scientifically sound. I hope you find these guidelines useful and welcome any feedback or questions, which are helpful in framing future revisions. Thank you for caring about the health of transgender and gender nonconforming people.

Madeline B. Deutsch, MD, MPH
Editor; Guidelines for the Primary and Gender-Affirming Care of Transgender and Gender Nonbinary People
Medical Director, UCSF Transgender Care
Associate Professor of Clinical Family and Community Medicine; University of California, San Francisco; Department of Family and Community Medicine
[email protected]


  1. Conron KJ, Scott G, Stowell GS, Landers SJ. Transgender Health in Massachusetts: Results From a Household Probability Sample of Adults. Am J Public Health. 2012 Jan;102(1):118–22.
  2. The State of Transgender California [Internet]. Transgender Law Center. [cited 2013 Apr 1]. Available from:
  3. Grant JM, Mottet LA, Tanis J, Harrison J, Herman J, Keisling M. Injustice at every turn: a report of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey [Internet]. National Center for Transgender Equality and National Gay and Lesbian Task Force; 2011 [cited 2016 Mar 17].
  4. Coleman E, Bockting W, Botzer M, Cohen-Kettenis P, DeCuypere G, Feldman J, et al. Standards of Care for the Health of Transsexual, Transgender, and Gender-Nonconforming People, Version 7. Int J Transgenderism. 2012;13(4):165–232.
  5. Hembree WC, Cohen-Kettenis P, Delemarre-van de Waal HA, Gooren LJ, Meyer WJ 3rd, Spack NP, et al. Endocrine treatment of transsexual persons: an Endocrine Society clinical practice guideline. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2009 Sep;94(9):3132–54.

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